January 2020 Client Newsletter

Happy New Year!  Here’s our January 2020 client newsletter.

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Which Vacuum Cleaner is Really BEST?

Hoover, Eureka, Kirby, Dyson, Oreck, Bissel, Electrolux, Rainbow and Miele. Most of these are household names thanks to relentless marketing on TV, in magazines, and at retail stores. There are many more brands of vacuum cleaners besides these. Every one of them wants you to believe that they have the best vacuum cleaner on the market.

There are different styles of vacuum cleaners; upright, canister, backpack and cordless stick-type machines that use a variety of methods to capture particulates. Cyclonic filtration, bags, bagless, HEPA filtration and even filters that utilize water to remove dust particles from the processed air are available.

And those commercials! You’ll see demonstrations of vacuum cleaners picking up everything from Cheerios to bowling balls. But before you buy into the marketing hype, you should know that there is a far more objective way to choose a vacuum cleaner. Since 2005, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) in cooperation with independent testing laboratories has used technology developed for the NASA space program for testing the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners. The program is called Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval (CRI-SoA).

The CRI-SoA measures 3 important performance aspects of a vacuum cleaner:

Soil Removal Standard — CRI uses NASA-enhanced x-ray fluorescence technology to measure the precise amount of soil removed from carpet. The vacuum cleaner must remove at least 40% of the test soil to be considered for CRI-SOA. Higher soil removal efficiency makes the vacuum cleaner eligible for a higher rating.

Dust Containment Standard — The vacuum must not release more than 100 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter of air (100 µg/m3), keeping dirt and dust locked tight in the vacuum — not escaping back into the air where it can be inhaled. To achieve Gold rating, the vacuum cleaner must not release more than 35 µg/m3.

Texture Protection Standard — The vacuum must not affect the texture of the carpet after 900 passes. If the roller brush or beater bar is too aggressive, permanent damage can occur. If the vacuum cleaner fails to pass this test, it will not be considered for the CRI-SOA program.

The results of this testing are available online at the CRI website (carpet-rug.org). Some of the other considerations are the style of the vacuum cleaner that best suits your needs. Dual-motor uprights with on-board attachments are the most popular because they offer the most versatility, but they can be somewhat heavy to use. Canister vacuums usually have better suction and can be easier to use, but they are not as easy to store. Pulling the canister behind you might be a bit of a pain in larger homes.

Bagless machines generally do not retain particles as well as machines with bags. The quality of the bag is also important; some bags filter better than others. Then there is additional filtration with many models boasting HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration. HEPA filters remove 99.97% of all particles at .3 microns. Air that passes through the HEPA filter has been effectively cleaned of particles that can aggravate respiratory symptoms from allergies and asthma.

In order to get the best performance out of your vacuum cleaner, replace bags and filters according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Replace belts and roller brushes or beater bars when they become worn. Every year or two, have your vacuum cleaner serviced by a qualified technician so that you can keep getting the most out of your carpet investment.

Call Professional Carpet Systems for more tips, recommendations or to schedule your next cleaning.

December 2019 Client Newsletter

Here’s our December 2019 Client Newsletter.

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Don’t Let Water Damage Ruin Your Holidays

1 in 4 families will experience some type of property damage from plumbing failures and accidents in the next 10 years. Such damage can come from defective plumbing, frozen pipes, malfunctioning appliances or accidentally leaving the water running.

One way or another chances are good that you or someone you know will be living with the pain of water damage in the not-too-distant future. Such water damage can leave you with a messy carpet, moldy furniture and more if you are not prepared.

Regardless of where the water originates, water intrusion can cause significant property damage, so it is important to act fast to minimize the damage. When you call a reputable cleaning company after a flood they will take 3 major factors into consideration to develop the appropriate cleaning plan:

An experienced cleaning company will look at the amount of damage, considering how much of the structure has been damaged. This is determined during a detailed inspection by a professional restoration technician because 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.

A good company will consider the level of contamination, that is where the water came from, how it might be contaminated and how long it sat.

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

A reputable company will also look at the depth of penetration, considering how deep water has penetrated into structural materials. 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 (minimally absorbent). The permeance factor, exposure time and level of contamination in the water, determines what materials can be saved. For example, if drywall is saturated only for a short time and 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 the different levels of contamination.

If you consider all of the materials in your home as well as your furnishings, it’s easy to see why water intrusion means that you should call in experts at assessing the damage and tailoring a restoration program to your unique situation. You need technicians who are trained to minimize the damage and protect the health and safety of your family and who will act quickly and efficiently to get your home or business dry and clean, so you can get back to normal quickly.

Call Professional Carpet Systems today to schedule a visit or for more information. Don’t let water damage ruin your holiday season.

 

November 2019 Client Newsletter

Here’s our November 2019 Client Newsletter.

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Thankful for a HEALTHY Home

Whether you are a new customer of Professional Carpet Systems, or have been a client for years, we’d like to take this time to thank you for your business. We know we are not the only game in town when it comes to keeping your home clean and beautiful. To show our appreciation, we’d like to offer you a few quick tips to have a cleaner, healthier home and save you a few bucks too.

A United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study revealed that carpet actually helps to clean out air in our homes and offices. The carpet acts as a filter, trapping soils, gasses and pollutants such as pet and human dander, pollen, and even air pollution. This is great news since nearly every home in America has wall to wall carpet installed in one or more areas. There are several things that you can do to keep your carpet looking cleaner and help it last longer.

Keep soils out by using walk off mats at entrances and keeping outdoor walkways, stairs and porches clean. Use doormats at all entrances. Don’t wear street shoes in the house. Avoid going barefoot because body oils get on the carpet and attract dirt. Vacuum often, at least once a week. You should vacuum more often if there are pets or small children in the home, or if anyone suffers from asthma.

Promptly attend to any spots or spills. First, blot or scrape up as much of the spill as you can before it dries into the fibers. Then apply a mild spotting agent to the carpet and gently agitate it into the spot with the back of a spoon. Blot with a white towel to absorb the spot and the cleaner. Put a little clear water on the area, agitate again and then blot as dry as possible. If this process doesn’t work, call us.

In addition to controlling soils, vacuuming often and being attentive to spots and spills, you should include professional cleaning followed by application of a fiber protective treatment. Periodic professional cleaning is a major part of an effective carpet and air quality maintenance routine, eliminating the contaminants that build up over time. Of course, every household has its own unique combination of factors such as environment, number of occupants, children, pets, and smoking or non-smoking, etc.

Deep cleaning of your carpets assures your carpets are brought back to a fresh, healthy condition. This is good for your health as well as your wallet.

How so? Clean carpet has the ability to trap and hold airborne contaminants out of the breathing zone. In fact, studies have demonstrated that it takes ten times more wind force to dislodge the dry particulate soils that can trigger allergic reactions from carpet than from hard floor surfaces. That’s because carpet traps and holds contaminants until they are removed by vacuuming and cleaning.

Carpets that are regularly maintained will last much longer because it is the dry, gritty particulate soil and old oxidized stains that cause the permanent damage that makes old carpets look dull and dirty.

Regardless of how neat and tidy you are, there comes a time when you need professional carpet cleaning.

Call Professional Carpet Systems to schedule your next cleaning. You and your family will breathe easier; your carpets will look better and last longer, and your home will remain healthier.

Client Newsletter October 2019

Here’s our client newsletter for October 2019.

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Why is Lead Pain So SCARY?

In previous decades lead was added to paint to improve paint performance, making it more durable, fast drying and long lasting. More than 3 million tons of lead are estimated to remain in homes built before 1978. The older the home, the more likely it is to contain lead paint and the higher the lead content of that paint will be. In 1978 lead paint was banned from use in homes, primarily because of the dangers of lead poisoning to children.

Why are children at risk? Lead danger comes with ingestion. Lead dust can come from deteriorating paint, aggressive surface cleaning or even remodeling activities. Adults are more likely to be exposed to lead dust through inhalation during work activities, but children are more likely to be exposed in the home. Small children tend to put things in their mouths and are at danger for eating lead paint chips or dust. Because this paint tastes sweet children may intentionally put contaminated items into their mouths.

Lead is especially hazardous to children under age 6 whose bodies are rapidly developing. Lead damages the nervous system, slows growth rate and development, damages kidneys and other organs. Symptoms include behavioral problems, such as irritability and shortened attention span, hyperactivity, suppression of appetite, sleep disturbance, hearing impairment, short-term memory loss, and reductions in intelligence. In adults, exposure to lead can cause reproductive problems, high blood pressure, depression and other mood disorders. Exposure to high levels can lead to nausea, flu-like symptoms, body aches, extreme fatigue and in severe cases, coma and even death.

If your home has painted surfaces or furnishings that were painted before 1978 you could have lead. Don’t panic. Your best course of action is to buy test kits in home stores or hire a certified lead paint inspector to test your home.

If you have lead paint, or suspect it, take these steps to reduce your exposure to lead:

Have the items replaced, minimizing dust by using dust control measures, thorough cleaning and proper disposal. Check local regulations to assure compliance. Items that are difficult to remove should be replaced by professionals who will control and contain lead contaminated dust. These companies are trained and certified in Lead Safe Work Practices and will have a certificate to prove it.

Cover the lead-based paint. There are specialized sealants that you can use to encapsulate and control a deteriorating surface. However this is a temporary solution. Eventually the new coating will begin to deteriorate and you could end up right back where you started from.

Remove the contaminated paint. Hire a professional lead paint abatement contractor. It is important that the company you hire be certified to remove lead. Check their credentials and get referrals from people they have worked for recently. Improperly done, lead paint removal can create a great deal of lead-contaminated dust, chips and debris, leaving your home more contaminated than before.

Periodically wet mop and wipe lead contaminated surfaces such as window sills, trim, walls and floors with household cleaning detergent solution or a specialty cleaner designed for lead dust. This is a preventive, ongoing maintenance measure and is not an alternative to replacement or removal.

Be careful when doing any kind of remodeling, painting or renovation. If you suspect lead paint, make sure the professional you hire is certified by the EPA in Lead Safe Work Practices.

Any carpeting and upholstery exposed to lead dust should be professionally cleaned to remove dust and contamination, especially after a renovation or remodeling.

Call Professional Carpet Systems to learn more about how we can help.

September 2019 Client Newsletters

Here’s our September 2019 Client Newsletter.

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Prepare Your Home For Winter Now

Now that the dog days of summer (heat) are almost over, and the crisp fall weather is slowly making an appearance, it’s time to walk around your home sweet home. This is the perfect time of year to take care of any home maintenance and cleaning issues before winter’s arrival.

We know how important your time is, and we really know how important it is to keep your home healthy. Below are some important things to look for when making a personal home inspection. The following recommendations are simple to do. However, it may be safer for you to hire the services of qualified professionals to do some of these checks for you or to interpret your findings. Saving money is good, but not at the risk of injury.

Home Exterior

Fall is the perfect time to inspect your home’s exterior. Temperature and humidity changes cause materials to shift, contract and expand. UV radiation from the sun affects paint, caulk, shingles, wood, rubber and vinyl. As a result, the exterior envelope of your home may not be as “tight” as it was this spring. As weather gets cooler, materials tend to shrink and harden. The air is drier, resulting in further shrinkage as materials lose moisture. Rubber seals around doors and windows become brittle. Look around your doors and windows. How does the caulking look? Caulk should be flexible, smooth and tight to the surface being sealed. If it is cracking, brittle and deteriorated, it should be scraped out and replaced. Is the weather stripping intact? Do windows close and seal properly? Can you see daylight or feel air leaking around doors?

Downspouts and gutters should be cleaned and inspected. Are there soil depressions directly below the gutter? If you see depressions, chances are the gutters have been overflowing. Gutters that don’t drain properly increase risk of foundation damage. Downspouts should be extended at least 10 feet away from the home to ensure proper drainage.

Modern carpets do a great job of hiding soil. This may lead you to think you only need to clean your carpets once a year or when they “look” dirty. But according to the EPA, most households should clean carpets at least twice a year, maybe more depending on lifestyle and other factors. This may surprise you until you think about all of the soils, allergens, oils, dander, pollutants and contaminants that carpet traps.

One of the best reasons for cleaning in the fall is that you want your home to look great for visiting friends and relatives during the upcoming Holidays. Nothing makes your home feel clean and inviting quite like freshly cleaned carpets and upholstery. Even if you don’t expect guests, you will be spending more time at home in the winter, so you want it to look nice for you, too.

Of course, there are far more important reasons to clean your carpet than appearance. Soil damages carpet, dramatically reducing its usable life. During the summer, pollen and other pollutants enter your home and become trapped in the carpets. In the fall, mold spores are more prevalent, again, becoming trapped in your carpet fibers.

With clean carpet now, you and your family can breathe cleaner, healthier air all season long. It’s bad enough that fall and winter are the seasons when people suffer from cold and flu without adding poor indoor air quality to aggravate conditions such as asthma and allergies.

This fall, taking care of home maintenance and cleaning is a proactive approach to maintaining a healthy home! Call Professional Carpet Systems for more information or to schedule your next cleaning.

August 2019 Client Newsletter

Here’s our August 2019 client newsletter.

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Avoid 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 causing serious issues. 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. 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. 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 as soon as possible for a system inspection.

2. TOILET FAILURE–One-third of all toilet failures in the study resulted from an overflowing toilet. 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. 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, closely followed by supply line failures. 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. You should also inspect valves to ensure proper operations, and use ball valves in place of gate valves whenever possible.

4. PLUMBING DRAIN SYSTEM FAILURE–The IBHS study found more than half of plumbing system failures were the direct result of sewer backups. 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 back-flow prevention assembly into the home’s sewer system.

5. WASHING MACHINE FAILURE–One burst inlet hose, and your laundry room is flooded in a matter of minutes, with water quickly spreading to other rooms and adjacent areas. 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 if you should ever have a water intrusion.

Client Newsletter July 2019

This is our client newsletter for July 2019.

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Home Fire Safety Guide

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for house fires. Sure, it’s a celebration and, yes, fireworks are traditional and they can be used safely. Nonetheless, nearly 20,000 fires annually are blamed on fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Even the most common fireworks, such as a sparkler, can start a fire.

You think it will never happen to you, but it makes sense to be prepared. The most important thing you can do is to have working smoke detectors on every level of your home. An early warning is your best defense against a house fire. Taking the right steps in the event of a house fire could save your home and even your life. Make sure that all adults and older children understand how to RACE and PASS if there is a fire. This doesn’t mean RACE around the house in a panic and PASS your spouse on your way out the door! RACE and PASS are simply memory aids for what you should do in case of a fire.

R.A.C.E.

R is for Remove. Remove all occupants from the area of the fire.

A is for Alert. Alert the authorities; call 911. C is for Contain. Close windows and doors to contain and smother the fire.

E is for Extinguish or Evacuate. Which one? That depends on the stage of the fire.

A house fire goes through 4 stages:

Stage 1: Incipient. The fire is just starting and there is a good chance of extinguishing it.

Stage 2: Growth. The fire spreads to other combustible materials. You should evacuate.

Stage 3: Developed. The hottest, most deadly stage; evacuation is your primary objective.

Stage 4: Decay. The fire is running out of fuel or oxygen but still smolders; a deadly backdraft is possible.

If the fire is beyond the incipient stage and spreading rapidly, you should evacuate and let the fire department handle it. If you are confident that you can safely extinguish the fire, do so only after you have gotten people out of the area, called 911 and contained the fire if possible. Make sure you have an escape route. Then use a portable fire extinguisher to put out the fire using the PASS method.

P.A.S.S.

P is for Pull. Pull the pin out of the handle. A is for Aim. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. S is for Squeeze. Squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguisher. S is for Sweep. Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire.

Keep portable fire extinguishers in strategic locations of your home such as the kitchen, utility areas, garage and storage rooms.

After a home has suffered even a small fire, proper cleanup needs to be done. There may be fire extinguisher residue, charred materials and smoke residue to clean up. Water-damaged contents, floors, walls and structural materials need to be dried and cleaned. Strong, lingering odors often require a combination of techniques for successful treatment.

We hope you never have this happen in your home, but if you do, Professional Carpet Systems can help or refer you to someone else who can.

 

 

June 2019 Client Newsletter.

Here’s our June 2019 newsletter.

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Safety FIRST During a Disaster

If your home or business is affected by fire, flood, storm or biological contamination, your first instinct may be to minimize the damage. This is understandable, since so much of your life is tied up in the places you live and work. However, this natural reaction could prove costly or even deadly.

As difficult as it may be in the heat of the moment, we must remember safety first. Some common hazards in a water or fire damage situation are slip and fall, compromised or unstable structure, electrical hazards, gas leaks and biological contamination. If your home or business should ever suffer a disaster, use the following suggestions to avoid injury, illness or worse.

Slipping and falling is the most common cause of injuries. When water enters a building from a storm, plumbing failure or fighting a fire, it presents a hazard to people walking in and around the affected areas. Walking from wet carpet onto hard surface flooring is a common example. Just a small amount of residual water on your shoes can make a hard surface floor slippery and dangerous. It is best to stay out of the affected areas if possible. If that is not an option, soak up any small puddles that you can. Walk slowly and carefully from carpet to hard floors. Post warning signs. Use absorbent mats where possible.

Electricity and water are a dangerous combination. If water enters an electrical panel, switch or outlet, electrical current can “leak” out to the surface and present a serious shock hazard. Pools of standing water are always especially dangerous.

Appliances sitting in pooled water can leak electrical current into the water. Standing in that water and touching any conductive material could result in a serious shock. Stay away from deep standing water and let the professionals deal with turning off the power. Drywall loses its strength when it becomes wet. Saturated drywall ceilings present a major safety hazard. The ceiling may look fine and then suddenly fall without warning. If the ceiling is sagging, assume that a collapse is imminent and stay out of the area. Leave it up to the professionals to drain and remove the ceiling safely.

Water from unsanitary sources can carry biological contamination, creating a serious health risk. This is obvious with a sewage backflow, but it can also be a factor in other water sources. Water that runs over the ground, has been standing for over 48 hours or from other sources like aquariums contain a significant degree of contamination and have the potential to cause sickness or discomfort through physical contact or accidental ingestion.

Simply touching your eyes, nose or mouth could invite bacteria and some viruses to cause illness. Avoid contact with all unsanitary water. If you do contact contaminated water, wash all skin exposed to the water. If it is splashed into your eyes, repeatedly flush with water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention.

Other hazards such as gas leaks, carbon monoxide, chemicals, toxic materials such as asbestos and lead, weakened structural materials and possible exposure to mold or other pollutants could harm occupants and workers. Your home or business is important, but not as important as your health and safety.

Professional Carpet Systems invests not only in technical training, but safety training as well. When you call us, you can be assured that we will handle your disaster restoration in a safe and healthy manner.

May 2019 Client Newsletter

Here’s our May 2019 client newsletter.

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Keep Dirt Outside

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 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 inside your home. The best way to control soil inside your home 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 ever entering inside 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 being tracked indoors. Place doormats both outside and inside all of the entrances to your home. Outdoor mats should be a water resistant, synthetic, non-absorbent fiber such as olefin or polypropylene and be textured to scrape heavy soils off your shoes. Avoid natural fibers which tend to mold and rot creating a new soil source for your home.

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. The skin of our feet contains oils that attach to carpet and attract soil. Instead of going barefoot, wear clean house shoes, socks or slippers indoors.

Normal daily activities generate a variety of dust and residues that settle on just about every surface inside your home. 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. Your carpet can last a long time if properly cared for. Annual professional cleaning is recommended in most homes. Busy homes with children and pets require cleaning twice a year or more.

Don’t wait until your carpets, rugs and upholstery look dirty to have them cleaned by a professional; by the time fibers have reached a visibly soiled state they are already damaged. Call Professional Carpet Systems to learn more or schedule your next cleaning.

April 2019 Client Newsletter

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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. There are molds, such as wood-destroying fungi, that cause property damage. Children 2 years and younger are especially susceptible to mold-related illness. Serious complications can result from prolonged exposure. So it is good to know a few things about mold so you can avoid having a problem in your home.

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. The two most common molds found in indoor living environments are Aspergillius 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 a home. 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 and growing 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, undisturbed areas. 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 complications. If you have any type of mold in your home or business, it must be removed as soon as possible. The visible presence of any mold is an indicator that there may be more unseen mold hiding elsewhere.

Because mold can be harmful, call Professional Carpet Systems to identify the cause and develop a strategy to solve the problem and remove the mold.