Carpet has many merits and advantages as a flooring material, but spills can leave stains and daily traffic takes its toll. Learn how to clean carpet with methods for vacuuming, deep cleaning, and stain removal to help your carpets look better and last longer.
Carpets warm a home by adding color, pattern, and texture. Regular vacuuming provides the first line of defense against dirt and grit that damages carpet fibers. But carpets also need regular cleaning to keep them looking their best. Plan to thoroughly wash carpet every 12 to 18 months, more often in high-traffic areas. If you have light-color carpet and/or kids or pets, clean your carpets two or three times a year. Always follow the carpet manufacturer's cleaning guidelines.
Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning
Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning
Most home carpet cleaning systems are water extraction units that are also known as steam cleaners. They work to wash carpet by injecting a solution into the carpet pile, then pulling the dirty solution back into the machine. To avoid the hassle of dragging a hose around the house, opt for a model that does not require a clean-water hookup. Also, choose the most powerful carpet cleaning machine you can afford to ease the burden of water extraction. The price ranges can be quite different from company to company and it is always best to find good referrals.
Caution: When using a steam cleaner, do not get the carpets overly wet. Overwetting can damage the carpet backing and underlayment, causing shrinkage, discoloration, and odor.
Fire and Smoke
Smoke damage can appear in two forms. In the case of a slow, smoldering fire, the resulting smoke residue (soot) will be sticky, wet and strong smelling. Wet soot has an oily texture that stains carpets, furniture and any cloth furnishings in the house. A fast burning fire, however, leaves behind dry soot that smears and stains less—but the dry soot often becomes damp due to the moisture from the fire hose. Smoke damage remediation involves the use of industrial-strength vacuuming to suck up the soot without smearing it. Attempting to brush off soot only embeds it deeper into the fabric. As the pros vacuum the room, each area is covered with a drop cloth to protect it. Smoke odor, on the other hand, lingers in fabrics and is not as straightforward to remove. Professional cleaners use different chemicals to break down smoke molecules. Other methods including ozone treatment and applying specially formulated paint that seals up the source of smoke odor.
With Fire Damage, Comes Water Damage
anyone who has been through a fire knows that where there’s smoke, there’s water—and lots of it after firefighters have finished battling a blaze. The key to salvaging your belongings from water damage and preventing mold is to act quickly to begin the process of removing the moisture from your carpets, furniture and walls. Professionals use mobile, state-of-the-art water extraction equipment and technology to get the job done as quickly as possible. Standing water is removed from flat surfaces by sponging and blotting. Saturated rugs and carpets are taken up when hardwood floors are at risk…these are just a few examples of the many steps involved in drying out a structure and restoring its contents. With proper precautions (and a dose of good luck), you may never experience the trauma of a fire or dealing with its messy aftermath.
What is Mold?
Mold (or mould) is a term used to refer to fungi that grow in the form of multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. Fungi that exist as single cells are called yeasts. Some molds and yeasts cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.
Mold is also found in damp building materials where it often appears like stains and comes in a variety of colors. A must smell is an indication of microbial growth even when there is no visible growth.
Mold growth requires moisture. The sources of moisture could be Washing, cooking, air humidifiers, condensation or leaks from plumbing or from the outside. Poor ventilation contributes to higher humidity levels and leads to condensation, which also allows mold growth.
Sampling For Mold Growth On Surfaces
Mold growth in homes
Mold growth is very common in damp building environments. During building assessment for mold growth, sampling is sometimes necessary. For example air sampling may be performed to determine whether visible mold growth has degraded indoor air quality. Air sampling may also help to determine the presence, location, and/or extent of suspected hidden mold growth. Air sampling is also used to determine the effectiveness of mold remediation. Interpretation of air sample results can be difficult if clear sampling objectives were not set prior to sampling.
Surface sampling involve collecting samples such as bulk material, tape-lift samples, swabs/wipes, contact plates or dust samples. These type of samples (with the exception of contact plates) can be analyzed by direct microscopic examination (DME) to verify the presence of mold growth.
Content sampling can also be conducted during a mold growth investigations. Content sampling helps to determine whether visible mold growth is present on the items or whether there are significant amounts of settled mold materials on their surfaces. Contents can be sampled using tape-lifts, swabs, contact plates or by collecting dust settled on their surfaces.
Severe winter storms can have a tremendous impact on individuals, animals, and communities. Cold temperatures, snow, ice, blizzard conditions with high winds and dangerous wind chills can all occur, leading to dangerous environments. Dangerous driving conditions can lead to travelers being stranded on the road. Accumulations of snow and ice can result in road closures or blockages – isolating homes and farms for days. The heavy weight burden may cause roofs to collapse or knock down trees and power lines resulting in power outages and subsequent loss of heat in homes. Winter conditions may make getting food and water to animals more difficult. Businesses must also make preparations for winter storm situations. Protection of their employees will be necessary to ensure their safety. Employees that must work outdoors during extreme situations should be provided the necessary education on risk and measures to stay safe.
Rain Storm Precautions
When a flood is happening you can take the following measures:
- Disconnect all electrical and gas appliances. Shut off the water main to keep contaminated water from the water heater (a source of emergency water).
- Bring any valuable or sentimental outdoor possessions inside.
- Move valuables and essential items to upper floors of building.
- Sandbags should be stacked well away from the building to avoid damaging walls. If major flooding is expected, flood the basement with clean water to equalize the water pressure on the outside of the basement walls and floors. This is to help prevent structural damage.
- Round up pets.
The extent of the flooding will impact the amount of work required to get your home back to its former glory. Minimal flooding may require only the time it takes to remove the water and dry everything out. More extensive flooding can leave you needing a complete remodel. Be prepared for the potential construction site left in your home after a flood.
Water Damage Control Tip #1 - Stop the Flow
Stop The Flow.
Your first priority is stopping the flow of water. If you’ve identified the appliance that’s leaking, shut off water to that appliance. If you’re not sure where the leak is coming from, shut off water to the whole house. Next, turn off electricity at the fuse box. If you can’t reach the box without wading into water, call an electrician and stay out of the wet areas.
Before removing any water, document the damage for your insurance company. Capture the extent of the water damage and all possessions impacted by the flood. Digital photos are best because you can quickly upload them directly to your agent for assessment.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and follow their directions. Not all flooding is covered by a basic homeowners policy, so work with your agent to discover the cause and identify coverage you can qualify for. Do not remove any water before talking to them so you don’t accidentally do anything that will decrease the amount of coverage you’ll be able to claim. If the insurance company wants you to wait for an adjuster before making repairs, do so — but make sure you give them a clear picture of the damage and repairs that are immediately needed.
Water Damage Prevention Tips to Consider
Clean your gutters.
Gutters help water flow away from your home. If they’re stopped up with leaves, it’ll cause water to collect. Water needs to flow somewhere, so it will begin seeping into your home through walls or through the foundation. Cleaning leaves out of your gutters once a year is a sure way to prevent this from happening.
Break out the caulking gun.
See cracks in your foundation or windows? Seal them back up. It’s a cheap and easy fix to keep water out.
Keep your heat on.
If you go away for the winter, you can’t shut off the heat. If you do, your pipes will burst and you’ll come home to an unpleasant mess. Keep your heat on 50 degrees to ensure water remains a liquid instead of a solid. In its icy form, it can cost you thousands in damage.
Check your pipes.
If your pipes are in your home, but aren’t insulated, then they can still burst. No matter if your home is a toasty 80 degrees, this can still happen. Hire someone or check your pipes yourself and tuck them in with some extra insulation so that they don’t burst in winter. If you’re really worried, you can also leave cabinets open (if your kitchen is on an exterior wall) to keep warm air circulating around your pipes.
Clear your pipes.
If you have an outside sprinkler system, make sure to clear your pipes before winter comes. This will remove water from inside the pipes and prevent them from freezing, expanding, and bursting underground. Come springtime, a burst pipe in your sprinkler system could result in a serious leak that can mess with your foundation and utility bill.