Most Common Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to indoor air quality, it is vitally important for your health and the health of your family and pets to ensure that you have proper ventilation, and yet the majority of homes fall short.  Although many consider it to be counter-intuitive, several scientific studies have found that indoor air quality can be much more polluted than the air outside, even in the largest and most polluted cities in the World.  Further, in today’s digitally connected world, most people are spending a large percentage of time indoors, and unfortunately, these people are increasing their risk of health issues, if they don’t ensure they have proper ventilation.

So today, I have decided to lay out a few of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality, so our readers can have a better idea of what to watch out for. Some of these may be obvious, while others may be less obvious. If you know of any other indoor air pollutants to add, leave us a comment below! So let’s jump right into it!

  1. Improper Ventilation- A lack of proper ventilation in your home is probably the number one cause of poor air quality. This can be caused by old ventilation systems never being updated, or simply poor upkeep of your current HVAC system. The best way to defend against this is to hire your local HVAC supplier to inspect and certify that you have proper ventilation in your home. we choose Arundel Cooling in Columbia, MD for all our indoor air quality checks.
  2. Mold and Mildew Growth- Mold and mildew can lead to serious health problems like asthma and severe allergies. Most typically grow in damp and dark conditions, so the best thing you can do is ensure that there are no damp and dark conditions for these contaminants to grow.
  3. Pollutants from Cleaning Products- Cleaning is very important to maintaining a healthy home, but many contain harmful chemicals. Even products advertised as “green” can contain these harmful chemicals. According to lung.org, many cleaning supplies can contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and severe headaches.  To protect against this, be sure to read all labels before you buy, and look for products that do not contain VOC’s, fragrances, flammable ingredients or other irritants.
  4. Pollutants from Smoke- I probably don’t have to tell you the dangers of second-hand smoke from cigarettes, but the less obvious cause for concern is smoke from your fireplace. It is vitally important to prevent the build-up of smoke in your chimney, as this has been linked to increased chance of lung cancer. If you have excess build-up in your chimney and flue, be sure to have it properly cleaned by your local expert.

So, remember these 4 indoor air common pollutants and what you can do to prevent them, and you will be well on your way to improving the air quality for your family, pets and all those who enter your home.

How to Clean Your Furniture And Rugs After Your Pet Makes A Mess

Having a pet can be a great thing. A pet is just like a member of the family. When you come home at the end of the day, there is someone waiting. You always have someone to curl up next to you on the couch after a long day, and pets give you unconditional love. While pets are great, they can be a hassle at times. When you first bring a pet home, it is not uncommon for him to have an accident on the rug while he is getting used to the home. Older, housebroken pets get sick from time to time, and they can make a mess on the floor or the furniture. If this happens, it is important that you know how to properly clean the carpet. Pet stain removal is not your typical carpet cleaning. These are steps that you would need to take that you wouldn’t need to if you were cleaning your carpet that is dirty due to normal wear and tear. Removing the odor is the most important thing. If your pet makes a mess on the rug, and it is not properly cleaned up, the pet or other pets in the house will keep using that spot to mess on.

cute puppy making a mess

 

What You Will Need:

It is a good idea to gather all of the items that you will need before you start cleaning the stain.

 

  1. Patience- You should understand that it is not your pet’s fault that he made a mess on the rug. He didn’t do it on purpose, therefore, you should be patient with him.
  2. Paper towels
  3. Large bucket
  4. Warm water
  5. Hard bristle brush
  6. Mild cleanser
  7. Baking soda
  8. Vacuum Cleaner
  9. Scented carpet powder
  10. “No Go”

 

Step 1 Blot the Mess

If there is any solid waste on the rug, pick that up first. Next, blot up the mess with paper towels. You don’t want to rub the stain, as rubbing the stain will make it worse. Blot the mess until the paper towel has soaked up most of the mess.

 

Step 2 Prepare the Cleanser

In a large bucket, combine a gallon of water with two cap fulls of a mild cleanser.

 

Step 3 Scrub the Stain

Using a hard bristle brush, scrub the stain with the water and cleanser mix. You should dip the brush into the bucket and scrub the mess a few times. Next, rinse the brush off in the bucket and scrub the mess again. Continue to do this until the mess has been washed clean.

 

Step 4 Blot the Treated Area

Using the paper towels, you should blot the area that you treated. Do not scrub, because the paper towel will rip apart.

 

Step 5 Sprinkle with Baking Soda

After you have blotted up most of the moisture, you should sprinkle the treated area with baking soda. Not only will it help the area dry faster, it will also get rid of the smell. You should leave the baking soda over the treated area for at least an hour or two.

 

Step 6 Vacuum

After the area is completely dry, vacuum up any leftover baking soda. You don’t want to leave any on the floor for your pet to get into. If you have a scented carpet powder, you can use that before you use a vacuum. It will help get rid of any remaining odors.

 

Step 7 Safeguard

The best way to keep your pet from messing on the same spot again is to use a product called “No Go”.  It is designed to keep pets away from areas that they have recently had an accident.

 

Treating Pet Stains on Furniture

To treat a pet stain on furniture, you would follow the same steps as above. You should avoid sitting on the treated area for 24 hours after. The water that you used to clean the mess will seep deeper into furniture than it would in the carpet, therefore, it will take longer for the furniture to dry.

 

Part of having a pet means cleaning up a mess or two once in a while. Pets have accidents and they get sick. If your pet has an accident, you should not stress over it. The mess can be easily cleaned. If you do so properly, your pet should not return and make a mess there again. If your pet does make a mess, take a few deep breaths and relax. It is part of life and it is part of having a pet.

How to Find and Care for a Leather Sofa

Leather couches are one of the greatest and most important pieces of furniture you can buy. After all, your couch is usually one of the first things visitors see when they enter your house, so it’s of vital importance to not only buy the perfect couch for you, but to maintain that couch for its long life.

Although leather couches are the perfect choice for many people, there are a few myths that keep people from buying or even looking at them. The first myth is that they’re ultra-expensive. While you certainly can find outrageously priced leather couches, you can also find very reasonable prices if you know where to look. The second myth is that leather couches just don’t last very long. Well I am here to tell you that a leather couch can last just as long- if not longer than any other piece of furniture you have- as long as you take proper care of your couch that is.

Where to find your sofa

At first you may be tempted to check second hand stores and local listings on sites like Craigslist, but I would urge you to avoid these. The reasoning is that you have no idea how old that couch may be, how well it was maintained, or what could be lurking beneath the cushions (bed bugs-anyone?). I would also warn against stores with advertisements like “Liquidation Sale- 70% Off!” because often times, these “sales” last forever, and the “discounted” price you thought you were getting is actually the retail price for that piece.

Instead I would urge you to find a quality, local supplier of furniture in your home town. Often times, these people are extremely dedicated to their community and really care about finding their customers the perfect piece of furniture, instead of just trying to make a sale. My favorite furniture store to visit is Virginia Wayside Furniture in Richmond, VA. They have a HUGE variety of couches and other furniture to choose from and are dedicated to serving our community- and I hope you have a similar furniture store in your home-town.

How to care for your leather couch

Once you’ve found the perfect couch and got it to your living room, you need to keep in mind that caring for your leather couch is very important to making it last as long as possible. With good care, a quality leather couch could last for 15+ years.

Cleaning

First off, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your couch, but here are a few additional things to keep in mind. To remove loose dirt, regular vacuuming is an easy and quick way to do so. For a more detailed clean, basic soaps should do the trick- but make sure to never use harsh cleaning chemicals like bleach on your leather couch!

If a spill occurs, be sure to clean it up as soon as you possibly can. Leather is extremely porous and if you don’t take care of spills, they will penetrate your couch and can leave an unsightly stain forever. You should also apply leather conditioner every quarter to protect the natural leather sheen of your couch.

If you’re ever in doubt about what to do to clean your couch, you should seek out professional upholstery cleaners in your area. Sahara Chem-Dry specializes in upholstery cleaning as well as carpet cleaning and I would guess that you have a local Chem-Dry that offers the same services.

General Care

You should be sure to protect your leather sofa from regular direct sunlight. Harmful UV rays can and will develop cracks in your leather if you’re not careful to watch out for this. Blinds are an easy way to ensure your couch stays out of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

And lastly, you should protect your leather sofa from any pets in your home. We all love to cuddle up to our pets, but the best way to keep your leather couch from developing scrapes and scars, are by deterring your pets from laying on them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on how to find and care for your leather couch. Happy furniture hunting!

 

Top 5 Questions To Ask Prospective Carpet Cleaners

An experienced and reputable carpet cleaning company has the capacity to work magic on soiled carpets. These carpet cleaners are equipped to get rid of long-lasting stains that you might have been struggling with for a long time. This will leave your home with carpets that feel great under your feet, look clean, and smell fresh.

At a glance, some carpet cleaners may seem to have great deals, professional-looking technicians, and reasonable prices. However, carpet cleaners operate a business and making a profit is their primary goal. Too-low prices for the services offered could very well deliver poor results. In addition, technicians who seem professional could be clueless and have no idea what they are actually doing.

Additionally, there are carpet cleaners who make use of powerful chemicals to get rid of stains. Others opt for cleaning products that are kinder to the environment or heavily dependent on steam (which uses a lot of water). You should go for a company that provides a treatment technique that is ideal for your family and your home. My local Chem-Dry here in Santa Cruz, for example, cleans using hot carbonation rather than a lot of water or sticky soaps.

As it relates to selecting a carpet cleaning company, getting recommendations from family members, friends, co-workers and other acquaintances is the best way to go.  However, if this method is not available to you, the following 5 questions for prospective carpet cleaners will help you make the final decision:

Is your company fully insured and licensed?

Hiring a company that makes workers’ compensation benefits available to their employees is absolutely significant.   Nearly all states require companies that employ more than two workers to provide this benefit.   However, there are a number of unscrupulous companies that try to keep costs low by not paying for the benefit.  This has the potential to leave you open to a lawsuit if a worker gets injured while working on your property.  Hiring a company that is fully licensed and insured, including workers’ compensation, will rid you of being liable should a work-related injury come about.

Is a guarantee offered on your services?

Reputable and professional carpet cleaners will always guarantee their work; however, this varies from one company to the next. Guarantees could include a provision for the company coming back to rectify a spot if the spot comes back after cleaning. You ultimately want to be totally satisfied with the completed work. Ensure your carpet cleaner accommodates this.

Is a quote provided?

Requesting a quote significantly lowers the risk of getting unpleasant surprises after the job is done. Ask for a written quote before the work starts. This should include the scope of work, the cost, reference to appropriate insurances and a work guarantee.

Are environmentally friend products used?

Find out if the company cleans responsibly. The chosen company should use cleaning agents that are not dangerous to people, the environment and pets. Additionally, it is essential to know how waste material is disposed.

Which cleaning method will you use on my floors?

There is no single way to clean hardwood and carpets. Instead, the cleaning technique should be unique to the material being cleaned. Consult a certified company to prevent damage by determining the best cleaning method.

Adjustments to the cleaning technique should tackle:

  • The degree of soiling
  • Your demands
  • Composition of material being cleaned

Follow these tips, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of a successful carpet cleaning. Here’s to hoping that you soon have the clean, bright carpet that you deserve.

Renewal by Andersen: NC’s Best Replacement Window Company

bright windows

As the years pass by, your home windows may begin to become worn and weathered. This is when the average homeowner will start to consider replacing them. If you have had your windows for a long time, you may be surprised to realize the benefits that a modern day replacement window can offer your home. You have more choice in color and hardware options, the products are of higher quality & long lasting, and they are much more energy efficient which can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. One of the greatest replacement window breakthroughs is credited to Renewal by Andersen and their state of the art framing material, Fibrex. This wonderful stuff will last you for nearly a lifetime.

Custom Windows Made in the USA

As a subsidiary of Andersen Corporation, Renewal by Andersen has grown to become a highly respected player in the replacement window installation industry. Many even consider them to be the biggest when it comes to windows and doors in the country. Hans Andersen started the company in 1903 out in the town of Hudson, Wisconsin. Customer satisfaction is easily met due to the high standards of quality that are enforced throughout the entire Renewal by Andersen brand.

What makes Fibrex’s Composite Material so Unique?

With wood and vinyl being one of the most popularly used materials for windows these days, our Fibrex is definitely going against the grain. Both wood and vinyl framing have their own positive and negative attributes and it is this very reason that we created Fibrex. Our patented formula takes the pros from both popular options, be it durability, low maintenance, energy efficiency, or structural strength. Thanks to our team of advanced engineers, everyone can now enjoy our long lasting windows at a very reasonable price.

Save Money with Energy Efficiency

We offer many different versions of replacement windows within our High-Performance Low E4 glass lines. With an increase of energy efficiency at times when the temperatures are at their highest or lowest, you can expect only the best savings in energy consumption. The window panes are also very special in the fact that they help deflect harmful U.V. rays that can damage your furniture, skin, and precious belongings. For those that would like a reduced light environment, Renewal also offers a version that has window tint already incorporated. The four different patterns that we offer are Cascade, Reed, Fern, and Obscure. If you are looking for a more durable glass, then the heat-treated option may be right for you. By investing in our windows you can save your family lots of money.

Our Many Different Lines to Choose From

Each homeowner has their own style which can be observed throughout their home. This is why we carry many types of windows that can match anyone’s décor. The styles of window that Renewal by Andersen can custom make for you are:

  • Bay & Bow
  • Casement
  • Double-Hung
  • Awning
  • Picture
  • Sliding
  • Specialty

Once you have picked out the window replacements that best fit your home, then it is time to pair the matching colors, stains, hardware, and grille choices. You can choose from our full list of colors.

Just a few of the hardware finishes that we provide are:

  • Polished Chrome
  • Bright Brass
  • Oil-Rubbed Bronze

Our Grille Options are:

  • Farmhouse
  • Colonial
  • Prairie
  • Modified Prairie

It’s almost impossible to not find what you’re looking for. If you don’t see it, we can custom construct it for you!

The Best Customer Service in Central North Carolina

male representative

We believe that providing impeccable customer service is the reason why Renewal by Andersen has become the best window replacement company in North Carolina. With our free consultation service, we make it easy to set up and even get a chance to see what are windows look like with sectioned demo pieces. We bring the fibrex material right to your door so you can see first-hand exactly what you’re buying into. We come right to your home and make all the necessary measurements to get you a very precise quote on the job. We are here for you whenever you need us so don’t hesitate to call. We also hire the highest qualified technicians that will do the job right the first time. We strive in exceeding your expectations and we always make sure to leave your home cleaner than when we first arrived.

Our Window Replacement Warranty

Renewal by Andersen provides the best-limited warranty in the business that covers parts, labor, and original installation services. The company stands by the quality of its glass and ensures customers that they will be free from defects in workmanship, materials, and manufacturing for 20 years. There is also a 10-year warranty on parts other than glass and a 2-year warranty on installation. For more information about their replacement windows, go to the official website or call the company today.

 

Seasonal Maintenance For You HVAC System

vector contractors banner

An HVAC system keeps the indoor temperature of your home comfortable year round. As a resident of Richmond, Virginia, you experience a wide range of temperature changes from summer to winter. You want the heating, ventilation and air conditioning of your home to work efficiently with good indoor air quality. For optimum functionality, you need to regularly maintain the heating and cooling system to keep it in great working condition. By following maintenance tips throughout the year, you are assured of heating and cooling your home without any major problems.

Winter Maintenance

Once the cold weather arrives, homeowners need to periodically monitor the heating system and look for such issues as extreme temperature differences from room to room, dirty air filters and inconsistent air flow from the ducts. Any of these may indicate that the heating system is not working properly. During this time, you have to make certain that the ducts and vents are clean and free of dust and debris. You also need to inspect the air filters to see if they are dirty or clogged and restricting air flow. If you have a gas furnace, inspect the pilot light flame to see if it is clear blue. Other colors may mean there is a problem. For gas furnaces, you also have to check the drain of the heat pump to ensure there is nothing blocking it. You can check if the thermostat is working efficiently by turning down the thermostat to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. You also need to look at your energy bills. A higher than normal bill may indicate a problem with the system.

Spring Maintenance

Your spring cleaning should also involve the HVAC system. During the spring, you probably aren’t thinking as much about heating or cooling your home. This is the best time for a bi-annual maintenance checkup of your heating and air system if you prefer to have two inspections a year. Your local Richmond HVAC professional should check the ductwork for air leaks. Every three to four years, you should have the ductworks cleaned by a professional. This will increase the air quality in your home. Another way to breathe in cleaner air is to check the air conditioning filters and the gas furnace filters for dirt and grime. Cleaning or replacing these filters increases air flow and system efficiency. Spring is also the start of allergy season so cleaning the air filters every month is a good idea, especially if allergy sufferers live in the home. As part of ongoing maintenance, check for loose or disconnected electrical cords. This can lead to the system working harder and using more energy.

Sumner Maintenance

For continuous summer cooling of your home, you need to clean or replace air filters every month. You also need to inspect the cooling system to make certain it is not leaking too much and not draining properly. If there is too much water inside the system, this means it is not working efficiently. You have to check the condensate drain and condensate tube of the cooling system to clear them of any clogs or obstructions so condensation can drain out. Without proper drainage, water damage is possible, and mold and mildew can form. Another summertime task is to turn off the water to the humidifier of a gas furnace. Using a programmable thermostat to raise the temperature a few degrees at night and when you are out of the house reduces wear and tear on your system while also lowering energy costs.

Autumn Maintenance

Fall is the perfect time to consider buying a new HVAC system that is more energy efficient, especially if your current system is more than 10 years old. Gas furnaces now have a very high-efficiency rating of close to 97%. You should also think about purchasing a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. These types of thermostats give you more control over the temperature settings. It is important to have the heating unit or heating and cooling system in your home professionally inspected and cleaned before the start of winter. A preventative maintenance involves checking every part of the system. The HVAC contractor will look for any problems and make the necessary repairs. You need to replace the furnace’s humidifier filter and turn the water back on because you turn it off in the spring.
Your heating and cooling system are an integral part of your home. A well-maintained HVAC unit gives you a decade or more of efficient heating, cooling and ventilation. With preventative maintenance by a professional every year, small issues with your system don’t turn into huge and costly repair jobs. By following DIY maintenance tips, your HVAC operates at efficient levels throughout the year while also saving on your energy costs.

The Right Way to Clean Your Carpets

vJ - vacuum job

When it comes to the carpet in your home, you may not notice it deteriorating over time. While some may be tempted to try and clean their carpet by themselves, different materials require different cleaners. They also can add new sealants to your carpet and prevent staining and matting. Finding a professional carpet cleaner in Indianapolis, like All Brite Chem-Dry to regularly clean your carpets and rugs can extend their life and save you money in the long run.

A carpet cleaning company will be familiar with different types of carpet and will be able to efficiently get the job done. By using the wrong products, it is possible to stain or damage your carpet instead of cleaning it. With some of the more tightly knit carpets, its possible for them to retain water, which can eventually lead to mold. This might require replacement of the carpet. For this reason, a shag carpet cannot be cleaned the same way  you would clean a Berber carpet. Because of the different designs they can hold dirt and soil differently as well.

When it comes to dirt and soil the carpet in you home will typically come with a resistant coating on it. This coating wears off in time, leaving you vulnerable to staining and wear and tear. Another benefit of rug cleaning and carpet cleaning is the prevention of matting. Matting is what happens when dirt has built up, causing the carpet fibers stick together. If this is left to continue, it could ruin the carpet and require replacement. The chemicals they use can re-apply that sealant that has worn off. In some cases, a carpet cleaner will give you a warranty on their work, or the sealant they placed.

In addition to helping out with the carpet, most cleaners will also do  upholstery cleaning. Couches, chairs and other furniture all have that same needs as your carpet. They need to be cleaned and maintained. If you are worried about staining or dirt build-up they can also apply a resistant treatment to these materials. In most cases upholstery cleaning is a quick and easy process that can be scheduled the same time as your carpet cleaning. Specials are also available depending on the size of the room or added cleaning.

If you decide not to schedule an appointment and instead do it yourself, you could just be covering up the problem. A standard vacuum bought in the store doesn’t remove all of the dirt in your carpets. Remaining dirt and soil can be ground into the fibers by normal foot traffic. When this dirt is left too long in the fibers it can have a sandpaper affect, grinding away at the base of your carpet. Once these fibers have worn away, there is no cheap way to replace them. Typically buying new carpet is whats needed.

Buying carpet is not cheap, nor is it cheap to reupholster your furniture. In most cases it is often better to invest your time and money in your current carpet than spend much more to buy a new one. It is recommended that you get your carpet cleaned once every six months, up to a year at most. During the summer months is when the cleaners are most popular. Be sure to check with cleaners in your area to find a good appointment time and see if they have any specials available.

Common Summer Air Conditioner Problems

It’s summer, and suddenly your air conditioner stops working. There are a few things as frustrating as this and you need to find a quick solution. While many AC repairs require the input of a professional, there is no harm in knowing about some of the problems that occur during summer and understanding how you can fix them. Being aware of the most common AC issues that occur in the summer can save you plenty of time and effort when the system needs to be serviced.

air conditionerAC Won’t Turn On

If the AC stops running, check that it’s properly plugged in. If so, ensure there is no tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Restore the power and see if it works. Another potential cause is usually that the thermostat isn’t working or that it’s set improperly. Check the thermostat settings and if this doesn’t help, it may be time to replace the thermostat altogether. Before rushing to replace the thermostat, check that the air conditioner’s break box isn’t flipped.

AC Stays On Not Long Enough or Too Long

Where you place your thermostat ultimately determines the length of time your AC will run over the summer. Placing the thermostat in direct sunlight can cause it to run for extended periods of time even after room temperatures are down to comfortable levels. Changing the thermostat’s location will improve overall efficiency as the unit will only be forced to run when it’s necessary. Installing a programmable thermostat, in case you don’t have one already can further lower your cooling costs.

Inadequate Air Cooling

If your AC doesn’t seem to be cooling your home as well as it used to, start by lowering the thermostat a few degrees. If that doesn’t work, you may have a clogged filter. Inadequate air cooling usually indicates an airflow problem. If it’s been long since you last changed the filter, consider having it replaced as it could be restricting air that’s trying to get back into the AC. For optimal functionality, check that the AC has sufficient clearance all around. Anything within about two feet of the unit could be hindering the free flow of air.

AC Runs But Doesn’t Cool

If the AC is running but not cooling the house, still check the thermostat. You should then take a look at the condenser. The condenser can be blocked by grass, weeds, or other airborne debris. If it’s blocked or dirty, clean and remove any blockages. An inadequate amount of refrigerant or a faulty compressor can also be the cause of an AC that doesn’t blow cold air. In this case, you should contact a reputable HVAC company in Huntsville to address the problem.

Unusual Noise When AC is Running

Hearing strange noises every time your AC starts up or turns off could be an indication of blower issues. However, sometimes it may just be a loose screw. Tighten the loose screw and check if the noise disappears. Dealing with high voltage appliances can be very dangerous, so it’s best to call a professional. If you must handle any issue on your own, shut off the power to the AC before touching any components.

AC Costs Too Much to Run

For some people, summer is synonymous with high cooling bills. In the case of poorly maintained units, energy costs can start to skyrocket over time. One of the best ways to cut down high cooling costs during summer is to have your AC serviced prior to the start of the hot period.

Refrigerant Leakage

Refrigerant leaks are a common occurrence in the summer and can prevent your AC from doing its job properly. When there isn’t enough refrigerant to absorb the summer heat, the vent is likely to blow out warmer air than normal. Signs that you may have refrigerant leakage include a much lower cooling output and accumulation of frost on the AC’s evaporator coils. An AC professional can check your system for leaks.

What A Good Mover Can Do For You

The young happy couple looking around their new apartment. Moving purchase of new habitation.

Does the thought of moving from one apartment to another, one home to another or one office to another send your mind and your “to do” list into overdrive?  Do you worry that you won’t have enough time or enough friends to help on the big day?  If you think that nobody could understand or have the wherewithal to help with such a monumental task, remember that there are great Raleigh NC movers who will not only understand, but also help to remove the stress that can pop up at any given moment when you’re faced with the prospect of moving.  From the initial planning stage, to discussion of logistics to packing, a good, reputable mover can:

 

  1. Get you organized from the very beginning

– Analyze the size of your apartment, home or office and items involved prior to your move

Once your mover has a full overview of what they’re dealing with, you will be ready to discuss fees (which are probably more reasonable than you think), as well as what moving option would work best based on your budget.  Don’t be afraid to set budget parameters at the very beginning: your mover will appreciate your honesty and will be able to tailor a moving plan that stays within your budget.

– Discuss—room by room—the best way to pack and when to start based on your schedule

There are different methods of packing depending on what you’re moving.  A good mover will tell you what would work best for you.

– Talk about the benefit of making checklists

If you’re not the type to make lists, you may want to seriously reconsider.  Lists really are a lifesaver, especially for something as important as a big move.  You may be surprised at how many simple things can slip your mind if you haven’t written them down.

 

  1. Ensure that you have what you need, when you need it

Moving is one of the most daunting tasks there is.  There are many things to think about, such as:

 

– Boxes

– Protective wrapping

– The best kind of truck to use

– How many people you’ll need to help

 

Men working for a moving services company unloading a sofa from a truck

Men working for a moving services company unloading a sofa from a truck

Although they may sound like simple things at first glance, thinking about them as it relates to your move could send even the most organized person into a tizzy.  A good mover will make sure you have the materials, staff, and a truck that will work best for your specific type of move—all while keeping your budget in mind.

 

  1. Get everything there on time, and with care

A good and reputable mover will:

– Evaluate all of your possessions—even the most delicate ones—to ensure that they are handled with care before, during, and after they arrive to your destination.  This includes honoring specific instructions and requests you may have.

– If you wish, carefully unpack and/or reassemble any items that required disassembling in order to be moved

– Ensure that your items reach their destination on time

 

Whether a large or a small one, the prospect of moving can be quite overwhelming if you have not properly planned at every step of the way.  Don’t be afraid to seek the services of Raleigh NC movers.  You will find that having assistance with planning, logistics, and extra helping hands will ensure a smooth, successful move.

A locally recommended moving company in Raleigh is Stewart Moving & Storage. They’ve helped countless local residents and have built up a tremendous reputation in the area.

 

Benefits Of Air Duct Cleaning

dusty-air-vent

 

Airborne contaminants are inevitably sucked into the duct when the HVAC system is in use.  After a while, these destructive contaminants will cause a buildup inside the air ducts.  The contaminants could include carbon monoxide, bacteria, airborne allergens, animal dander, dust mites, household mold, tobacco smoke and chemicals.

 

They circulate throughout the home or workplace, polluting the air, aggravating respiratory illnesses and triggering allergies.  Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to these pollutants.

 

It should be noted that a contaminated HVAC system does not automatically mean the air is unhealthy.  However, this situation could be contributing to larger health issues.  It could also be accumulating contaminants that could trigger serious problems for individuals with autoimmune disorders.

 

Professional air duct cleaning in Phoenix AZ uses specialized brushes, blowers and vacuums to unclog the intake, supply and return ducts all through the home or office.  Typically, the process also involves a comprehensive cleaning of the registers, air handler, fans, coils, housings, motors and grilles that make up the HVAC system.

 

There are numerous benefits that can be derived from cleaning air ducts.  They include:

 

Improved Air Quality

 

Getting the air ducts cleaned will assist in eliminating poor air quality.  When the air ducts are cleaner, indoor air quality automatically improves.  The cleaning will free the ducts of all unwanted and potentially harmful particles.  It will prevent their release into the living space as well.

 

Energy Savings

 

Studies have indicated that between 25 and 40 percent of the energy used during the cooling and heating process is wasted.  Contaminants in the system result in it working harder, which will ultimately shorten the lifespan of the system.  Even though filters are used during the heating and cooling processes, normal use will still cause it to get dirty.  When the system gets a thorough cleaning, it does not have to put in as much work to maintain the desired temperature. As a result, you will use less energy and this will lead to improved energy savings.

 

Elimination of Odor

 

As the colonies eat, expand and reproduce, unpleasant odors are produced by fungi and mold.  These awful smells escape through the ductwork and eventually end up in the living area.  Food and perspiration odors can become trapped as well.   This is particularly true in tight homes where these smells subsequently become embedded in the dust clusters that are scattered right through the duct system.  Regularly cleaning the duct removes the materials these smells cling to.  The professionals can put a deodorizer into the system, if you so desire.

 

Lower Costs for HVAC Repair

 

Most system failures result from improper maintenance and excessive cycling.  Dirty components and ductwork restrictions could amplify friction loss and drastically lower airflow up to 50 percent.  Cycles that run longer cause extreme stress on critical moving parts.  This could lead to excessive wear and tear and the untimely breakdown of the system.

 

Many homeowners recognize the significance of regularly servicing their HVAC equipment. Unfortunately, the network of the air duct is mostly neglected until it affects the performance of the whole system.

 

The air quality outside is influenced by several factors we have no control over.  However, the indoor air can remain safe, clean and healthy.  This can be done by incorporating filtration, duct cleaning, UV protection and ventilation into a complete indoor air quality plan.

 

Visit Cook Brothers Cleaning to learn more about how duct cleaning can improve your home.

Window Replacement Trends for 2016

georgia homeYour house is an extension of who you are. It is where you hang your hat and your favorite photos of your favorite people. This is why you care so much about making your home the best it can be. These 2016 design trends can help you to keep your home looking its best and also performing its best with replacement windows for every style of home under the sun.

1950-esque Silhouettes

Vintage homes are hidden gems in the real estate marketplace. Though they take some sprucing up, the end results of remodeling an older home can be breathtakingly beautiful. It simply takes a bit of patience. One problem with these nostalgic homesteads are their energy draining windows. Letting in cold air in winter and hot air in summer, half the battle of remaking an older home is in window replacement. Try Renewal by Andersen’s Double Hung windows which help you stay true to your home’s nostalgic roots while keeping the elements at bay. The window installation company boasts of a special Fibrex composite material in all of their window options that make their windows energy efficient and are perfect for older homes.

Timeless Traditional

If you are a movie buff, Father of the Bride housed perhaps the best example of a traditional home ever on the big screen, complete with the white picket fence of your dreams. In a world constantly moving forward, tradition can be comforting. To keep your traditional home looking timeless and fresh, try Renewal by Andersen’s Bay and Bow windows for a classically charming vibe that will make every other house on the block eager to cross over to the sunny side of the street.

Sustainable, Green Structures

Environmentally friendly homes are on trend and ever increasing in number. Designed to conserve energy, these hip homes are showing up energy guzzling houses all around the block. Get on board with this terrific trend and opt for energy efficient windows that will cut costs, keep out the elements and save you money on your power bill. Replace old windows with Renewal’s Casement windows, the brand’s most energy efficient style, to help reduce costs and stop any drafts. With weather-tight seals, this window also works in reverse. Simply crank the window out to let the fresh air come in.

bright living room

Unique Digs

Modern homes are unique and wildly creative. From old warehouses to churches transformed into livable spaces, today’s trending spaces think outside the box. To update a special home… you need a special window. Renewal’s specialty windows are custom built windows that are perfectly designed to fit your home’s needs and styles. Also, try their sliding doors for added function in a space that was not originally designed to perform as a living quarters.

Natural Nests

Homes with a view are becoming more and more popular, opting for more land over more house. Think tree houses in the middle of the brush, farmhouses overlooking a horse farm and cottages nestled out by the bay. To celebrate a home with a view, a picture window is the perfect pairing. These simplistic beauties allow you to enjoy the beauty all around you.

Country Coops

Return to a simpler time with a southern style home with a rocking chair front porch. Perfect for sipping tea on a sleepy Sunday, these homes are perfect for family living. No southern home would be complete without an eat-in kitchen. For added ventilation for pies that sit in the oven a smidge too long, Renewal’s awning windows are the way to go, allowing you to let smoke out quickly.

From chic city living to nostalgic spaces, everyone has a different idea of what home should look like. However, everyone can agree on where it should be… And that is where the heart is.

Countertop Trends For 2016

granite counters

Current and trending, from traditional options to modern muses, these countertop choices in Northern Virginia are hot for the new year, taking your kitchen from drab to fab. Whether you are interested in granite for a timeless yet current look or something a little bit different, your countertop is the backdrop for your entire space. It pulls together your favorite themes, chic designs and bold color schemes, making for a look that is cohesive and fresh. From chic and charming to bold and colorful, check out the trends that will carry your kitchen into a bright new year of togetherness.

 

Granite Countertops in Deep Hues

Modern looks with deep hues and sleek hardware are a top trend right now that designers are in love with. Though traditional and timeless, variations in color make granite up to date and perfect for your next remodel. As far as granite fabrication/fabricator concerns go, it cleans easily, lasts for generations, never stains and saves you money in the long term. Try pairing your granite with black and white artwork as well as small pops of color in bold options. Think bright chairs and fresh, clean lines. When you pair several bold choices with muted ones you statement pieces and countertops will pop.

 

Quartz with Chic Accents

Coming in beneath granite, quartz is the second best choice for counters that last a quite a while if cared for. Though beautiful, this element is not very heat resistant. If you sit a hot pot down for a moment, you could be looking at a great deal of damage, however, with granite countertops this is not a problem. If you decide to go with quartz, pair it with chic accents to bring out its natural beauty. Vintage chandeliers work wonders as do pops of magenta with intricate woodwork in soft colors like whitewashed eggshell.

 

Marble with a Traditional Vibe

Marble is a favorite among designers but tends to be very porous, making staining a real concern, unlike granite stone which seals out the yucky stuff. Current and now, this trend works well for a traditional look paired with classic elements of a home-style kitchen. Some designers argue that marble can date a home, but it depends on your own personal style and taste. Some find marble quite timeless.

green grass and flower

Recycled, Environmentally Friendly Countertops

If you are concerned with the world around you, recycled countertops may be right for you. With a unique look, this design mixes papers, plastics, rock and other elements to create a look that is different from the rest. This design works well in apartments and flats for trendy hot spots filled with modern, colorful art. While in a league of its own, it is not very durable. This makes for the possibility of redoing your entire kitchen later on. If this is not a concern for you, it can work if you treat counters with great care.

Of all the trends for the bright New Year, granite takes the win for form and function. A granite contractor in Northern Virginia, like Granite Source, can help you create the kitchen of your dreams that will serve you well for years and years to come. From new beginnings to changing seasons, year after year your granite countertops will keep you on trend and in love with your cooking space, making for a lifetime of memories shared in the kitchen that you love to come home to.

Kick Start the New Season with a Clean Home

clean homeIf there is one thing that seems to get people going, it has to be that overwhelming feeling that comes over you when you visit a friend’s squeaky clean home. It’s only when you get back to the clutter and congestion of your own home that you will begin to notice the subtle (and maybe not so subtle) differences between yours and your friend’s. And at that point, there is no turning back.

Not only does that sharp contrast in cleanliness beckon you to act, it urges you to do so almost immediately. You begin to clean your house in a daring, defiant mood, vacuuming, dusting, and catching up on house work that between seasons had – literally – been swept under the rug. But with all the huffing and puffing, you still find yourself exactly where you started: a tired mess incapable of rejecting your husband’s suggestion that you hire a local maid service to do the house cleaning. The question you must be asking not “why,” but “why not?”

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew: The Benefits of a Local Maid Service

Over time, overlooked chores can pile up. What seems to stop most of us dead in our tracks is the tremendous effort it takes to make all the months of dirt disappear at the wave of a magic cleaning wand. Maybe it’s because we try to bite off more than we can chew instead of simply doing what most people do – delegate responsibilities. Professional cleaning services are guarantee to leave your home so spotlessly clean that you will be able to see your own reflection in the tiles. What’s more is that it is so much easier to maintain what has been brought up to standard than to scrape off the layers of grime yourself in between work and family time.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Now that all the clutter has been packed away, the cobwebs are all dusted, and the grease and grime is all dutifully scraped off, all that’s left is to maintain the pace that’s already been set. No doubt, you have been given a world of advice to get you started. Now it’s up to you to clean up after everyone. Here’s an action plan that’s focused around five main tasks to perform regularly:

  • A quick wipe of the countertops after cooking.
  • A rigidly enforced “after use” put-away system. Knowing the key centers of activity, or “hot spots,” in your home is one way of staying ahead of the game. Make sure that people in their hot spots are aware of the need to put things away immediately after use.
  • Routinely doing the dishes soon after meals. Cleaning up after dinner can be made simple and fun by playing some music or cleaning the dishes with a friend or family member. It also helps to wash bowls, knives, and pots as you cook so that you can lessen the amount of work to do after a heavy meal.
  • Schedule laundry days and chore lists. Everyone has to pull their weight otherwise nothing will change. Keep a schedule in clear sight of the family (if your children are old enough to help out) and watch closely as your home gets tidier with time.
  • Pest and disease control by regular sanitation and fumigation if necessary. As much as your house may now have the appearance of a clean and well-organized abode, pests still need to be controlled to rid your home of potentially harmful, disease-causing bacteria. And if you have an air conditioning system, it will be worth your while to have the ducts and vents cleaned as well. Fungus has been known to build up unnoticed in such areas, posing a potential health risk if left unattended to.

Bringing order to otherwise chaotic living arrangements is not a walk in the park. As you may have realized by now, it is all about breaking the huge chunk of house cleaning work into tiny, chewable pieces. In all likelihood, it will begin with you enlisting the services of a local maid service, like The Maid Crew in Richmond VA, to get you back on track. And once that initial cleaning is done and taken care of, it’s pretty much a piece of cake from there on.