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Floor Coating: Epoxy Floor Paint Versus Latex Floor Paint

If you try to discover which area in the house is affected with the most activities, you will observe that it is the floor. Therefore, the floor is the area that must receive the best of care. The floor bears the weight of the furniture, machines and other possessions, not to mention humans. So it is easily susceptible to breaks and cracks in many places. There is a way to keep your floor always to look neat, tidy and free-looking as well as, retain its compactness and durability.

Why not strengthen and toughen your floor by using through a floor coating or paint? Recommended are two of the most used: epoxy floor paint and the latex flour paint. Both are different in quality and material. Knowing each type can help you decide which best to use for your floor.

Epoxy Floor Coating

If you want a tough and sturdy paint which will lengthen the durability and value of your floor, then opt for the Epoxy floor coating. It has a powerful adhesive capacity and has more resistance to heat, oil, water and chemicals. This is used in most large establishments and factories. If you apply this type of floor paint at home, then the best areas to apply epoxy paint are the floors, roofing and bathrooms where heavy activities are done.

Latex Floor Paint

The suspension of rubber or plastic polymer particles are used in the production of Latex floor coating paint, adhesives, emulsion paints and other products. There are two types of latex floor paints: natural latex and synthetic latex.

Natural latex is the material in the manufacture of gloves, tracheotomy tubes, urinary catheters and many others. Latex floor paint is better than epoxy floor paint for it is less odorous and toxic Latex floor paint gives more glossy finish to most surfaces. The synthetic latex is a good choice for they do not cause any allergy

By analyzing each type of paint, you will be able to determine how much each type can satisfactorily give you the most excellent protective coating to the floor of your home.

Floor Coating Contractors

It is best to let a floor coating contractor do the work for you. They would know the right consistency and application needed by the area. If there is a need to mix chemicals then they should be the right persons to do it for you. Be sure to research on contractors in your area.

Efficient Tank Cleaning

The cleaning of tanks and vessels is often an overlooked source of inefficiency in the manufacturing process. As an “unglamorous” and non-core process the true cost of cleaning is often neglected. However, with some thought significant efficiency gains can be achieved. As will be seen these efficiencies come from a combination of the 4 key elements of the cleaning process i.e. time, mechanical action, heat and chemical action. The focus of this article is on how quick wins can be achieved by improving the mechanical action element of the cleaning mix.

The balancing act – Any cleaning application has four components that contribute towards effective cleaning.

1- Time. The longer the cleaning if performed the greater the cleaning.

2- Chemicals. This is the dissolving effect of chemical cleaning fluids including water.

3- Mechanical action. This is physical action of the cleaning spray to dislodge residue.

4- Heat. Generally the hotter the cleaning fluid the better the cleaning action.

Increasing any of these 4 components will improve overall cleaning but there will be a cost associated with each. The cost of each of these elements will differ depending on application and there may well be other constraints in place. For example in food processing applications there will be limit on the types of chemical that can be applied.

The differential cost of each element is the key to efficient cleaning. Optimising the mix of elements is the process of increasing one element of the mix that has a lower cost (e.g. mechanical action) so that another element that has a higher cost (e.g. heat) can be reduced. The net cleaning power will remain the same but the cost associated with the cleaning process will be reduced.

Absolute efficiency gains Whilst overall efficiency can be gained by reconfiguring the contributions from each element it is clearly beneficial to strive for efficiencies in each element. If, for example, a cheaper method of heating can be found then this element in its own right becomes more efficient, and thus the whole process is more cost effective.

An absolute gain in one element, however, might be better utilised by reducing the contribution from another more costly element. For example, if a more efficient heating method were found then either heat could be maintained at the current level for a lower cost OR heat could be increased for the same cost. If heat is increased then perhaps time could be reduced whilst keeping overall cleaning power at the same level. If the opportunity cost saved by reducing cleaning cycle time is greater than the savings made by improved heating efficiencies then this configuration is optimum. In other words a gain in efficiency in one element is not always best deployed in that element.

Maximising gains In order to leverage hard won efficiency gains its is sensible to consider how they are best deployed and how they might be used to re-configure the cleaning elements mix.

The importance of water efficiency – Water is money. The true cost of water is often under appreciated.

– Raw utility bill cost per m3 of water

– Cost of filtering and sanitising if recycling wash off – Cost of caustics or other cleaning fluids

On top of this if we reduce the water needed to clean we can

– Lower Pump running costs (electricity) – Lower Maintenance costs – Longer lifetime for the pump. – Potentially use a smaller pump (reduced capex)

As the cost of energy and water are both increasing, and likely to continue to increase, reductions in water usage have significant financial benefits to any organisation. Further more the green / environmental benefits are seen as a moral imperative by many organisations. Future green legislation is only likely to increase the need for more efficient water usage.

The importance of time efficiency – Time is money. It may be a cliché but it’s still true. The time spent cleaning between production runs, whilst necessary, still represents downtime. The opportunity cost associated with this downtime will vary greatly depending on the application, but in almost all cases a reduction on cleaning cycle time will have a direct financial benefit.

Chemical and heat efficiency – Generally there will be limitations on each of these elements. Perhaps more importantly both elements have very rapidly diminishing returns after a certain point. For example, the cost associated with raising cleaning temperatures from 60o – 70o is unlikely to be worth it for most applications. It is likely that chemical and heat action will be the elements that are reduced in any efficiency drive. The typical scenario is that improved mechanical action will result in the reduction of chemical usage or lowering the temperature of cleaning.

When performing these savings calculations it is important to remember the true cost of heat and chemicals. Heat is relatively simple to calculate as it is essentially an energy cost but consideration should be given to maintenance spares and overall capex vs working life of the heating system. The cost of using chemicals should obviously include the raw cost of the chemical but also the cost of disposal of spent chemicals and recycling plant costs (if used).

The Quick Win – Often the simplest absolute efficiency gains can be found by improving the mechanical action element of the mix. These gains can then be deployed to reduce other elements of the mix, if this is appropriate.

The importance of spray nozzle selection

For any impact cleaning process water serves two purposes. Firstly it acts to dissolve residue – this is part of the chemical element of cleaning mentioned above. More importantly, however, water is the mechanism by which the mechanical action element is delivered. The efficiency of a water spray for delivering mechanical energy for cleaning will be greatly affected by the nature of the spray and thus the nozzle used.

Improving the efficiency of mechanical action – Mechanical action is essentially the process of transferring energy from a pump to the surface to be cleaned via water. As with all energy transfer systems efficiency is less than 100%. Much energy is wasted but by reducing this waste through improved nozzle selection we can significantly improve the efficiency of the tank washing system. If this is achieved then we can reduce the amount of energy/water used and achieve the same level of mechanical action.

Effective nozzle selection will obviously not directly affect pipe friction losses but it will affect losses of energy through fluid atomisation and turbulent flow.

Fluid atomisation

The process of breaking apart a fluid into droplets to form a spray pattern uses energy. This, once used, is then not available for cleaning the surface in question. The benefits of an atomised spray are that it can be formed into a full cone or flat fan pattern delivering the spray to a larger area, but this means that the overall energy transfer will be less due to the energy used in the process of atomisation.

Turbulence

Further energy will be lost in atomised sprays due to turbulent flow. In flat fan or full cone spray patterns the droplets are moving in a less uniform direction than in a solid stream of water. Whilst the whole fluid has a definite direction the individual droplets will have a random, turbulent, element to their motion. This effectively wastes energy meaning the overall transfer of energy in full cone and flat fan patterns is much lower than in solid stream nozzles.

So the most efficient spray system would be solid stream jet followed by a flat fan spray pattern and finally a full cone pattern (omni-directional spray nozzles can be considered as 360° full cone nozzles). Indeed the efficiencies gained can be considerable it is not untypical to require 10 times less water per square meter being cleaned. The drawback of solid stream cleaning systems is that they require a defined wash cycle time to cover the whole of the tank. This could increase clean cycle times thus adding to the cost associated with the time element of the cleaning process.

Designs of tank washing nozzle

Spray Balls

These nozzles are spheres with multiple holes producing an omni-directional spray. Whilst the individual jets may appear to be solid stream spray patterns, in actual fact, when considered together, they are better approximated to cone pattern. In terms of overall energy transfer efficiency spray balls are very inefficient. They do, however, have the advantage of being very cheap and can deliver a low impact rinse more or less instantly to the whole container.

Typical uses would include: rinsing of milk storage tanks, rinsing of fruit juice tanks, disinfecting rinses. For anything other than very light cleaning applications in small containers though it is likely that efficiencies can be gained by changing from spray balls.

Spiral Wide angle nozzles

These nozzles produce a “cone” of spray up to 270° wide. This makes them suitable for cleaning tanks by inserting them towards the top of the vessel. The spray is cone and thus inefficient at energy transfer but nevertheless offers significantly greater impact than spray balls per volume of water used. Spirals should be considered for low impact cleaning of small tanks.

Typical uses would include: rinsing and washing fluid containing vessels, rinsing of vessels containing soluble powders,

Multi-headed nozzles

Various nozzle manifold tank cleaners exist on the market. Several full cone nozzles will be positioned on a single head giving an omni-directional spray. Because multiple nozzles are being used to produce more direct sprays the impact per volume of water is increased. However the individual sprays are still full cones and thus inherently inefficient. Such systems are suitable for small-medium sized tanks that require light to moderate cleaning.

Typical uses would include: rinsing and washing fluid containing vessels, rinsing of vessels containing soluble powders,

Rotary Flat Fan Nozzles

These nozzles will have several flat fan sprays that rotate under the pressure of the fluid. The rotating flans will sweep the whole of the tank. As with static nozzles complete coverage happens only after a few moments but the nozzle spray will need to be working for while before any significant residue is removed. As a flat fan pattern is being used there is a moderately efficient energy transfer resulting in a medium impact cleaning spray.

These nozzles are often the most efficient choice for small to medium sized tanks that have moderately stubborn residues to remove.

Cleaning wine barrels, cleaning fermenting tanks, cleaning storage tanks of viscous fluids (e.g. syrups)

Rotary solid stream

These nozzles have 2,4 or 8 solid stream jets which rotate sweeping the inside of the tank. A gearing mechanism changes the angle of the rotation so over time complete cleaning of the tank is achieved.

These nozzles are by far the most energy efficient tank washers due to the solid stream jets being deployed. They are generally more expensive than other types of tank washer but for medium to large tanks or tanks with stubborn residues the additional capital expenditure is often paid for rapidly through efficiency gains.

Typical uses include: cleaning mash tuns, cleaning cooking vats, cleaning large storage silos

Conclusions

Quick wins can often be found by looking at the mechanical action element of the cleaning mix. The efficiency of the mechanical action delivery mechanism can often be improved by correct nozzle selection. This improvement in efficiency will mean the same contribution to over all cleaning can be achieved using less water and this water saving translates directly to a reduction in operating cost.

These gains can be further multiplied by considering how the 4 elements of the cleaning mix can be reconfigured. It may, for example, be more beneficial to reduce the heating and chemical elements of the mix rather than use all the efficiency gains to reduce water consumption. The optimum configuration of the mix will vary from application to application but regardless improvements in the mechanical action component of the mix are often a quick win with a payback time measured in weeks rather than months.

4 Steps to improve efficiency

Step 1 – Consider the true cost of each of the 4 elements of the cleaning mix.

Step 2 – Consider the current contribution to cleaning from each element.

Step 3 – Look at which elements have absolute efficiency gains to be made i.e. the same cleaning contribution for less cost.

Step 4 – Assess how the new cleaning mix will be optimised.

Concrete Floor Waterproofing

What is concrete floor waterproofing?

Concrete waterproofing is used to protect against elements that tend to wear down and damage wood, steel, asphalt and concrete. These elements, including chemicals, salt, moisture and other contaminants can damage and decrease the life of floors, making it necessary to repair or replace them over time. The purpose of waterproofing is to extend the life of flooring while still maintaining the durability and toughness necessary for high traveled floors and other surfaces.

Why use concrete floor waterproofing?

The uses of waterproofing are endless. Concrete waterproofing is the ideal choice anywhere shock absorption and tremendous resilience are needed. This can be anywhere from a weight room at a fitness club to a parking garage or garage deck. Other places where waterproofing can be useful include:

• Basements
• Indoor finished floorings
• Roof Decks
• Other outdoor recreational purposes
• Locker room
• High traffic walkways
• Other flooring options

Concrete floor waterproofing is resilient and a perfect choice for tricky flooring environments, especially sub grade flooring and areas that are walked or driven on frequently. Because the amount of rubber used in the installation process can be adjusted, depending on the desired location of installation, there is a type of waterproofing for any area.

How is it installed?

Concrete floor waterproofing is installed directly onto most any existing subsurface, from wood to steel, asphalt to tile. In addition, it can be installed to new subsurfaces as well. There are various types of concrete floor waterproofing, but one particularly effective product utilizes several layers, beginning with a stabilizer and ending with a sealer. The layers in between offer a unique combination of products that allow for shock absorption and adequate waterproofing.

How durable is concrete floor waterproofing?

Concrete floor waterproofing is so durable that a car turning its wheels left and right stationary on it will only wear the tires of the car down, without affecting the flooring. It is durable enough to be used in a parking garage, but comfortable enough to serve as the flooring of a locker room. The possibilities of flooring are endless. Because of its components, concrete waterproofing expands and contracts with the subsurface so there is no cracking, bulging, or delaminating. This creates a smooth, flawless flooring appearance that is as strong and durable as it is comfortable and pleasant to walk on. As an added benefit, concrete waterproofing deadens sound, which makes it the perfect flooring for high traffic areas.

How long does concrete floor waterproofing last?

Concrete floor waterproofing can withstand vast amounts of pedestrian and vehicular traffic without showing signs of wear and tear. It is specially designed to be a lasting remedy for maintenance problems and flooring challenges. It effectively protects against moisture and other corrosive elements that can otherwise erode, crack, and threaten the integrity of essential sub surfaces. So, not only is concrete waterproofing made to last, it is also built to prolong the life of the flooring beneath it.

Things That You Need to Know About Carpet Cleaning

Carpets are indeed one of the most important things that we can find in our homes. These can make or break the look the whole room. This is why most people always make it a point to have carpets in their homes so that their homes will look as elegant and as nice as they should be. This is true only under one condition. Carpets usually look their best especially when they are still clean and new. A newly bought or installed carpet would always pull the look of the simplest room there is. Most carpet owners do make it a point to maintain the cleanliness of their carpets.

We all know how carpets attract dirt so much. Even if we try to take care and keep our carpets clean, there will always be a stain that will begin to pop out of it. Once a carpet looks very dirty, this can now destroy the look of the whole room. This can now leave the room very untidy and not well cleaned. This is the primary reason why you should always maintain the cleanliness of your carpets all the time. Whether you do this on your own or you hire cleaning services to do so, you need to make sure that your carpets look as new as they should.

One equipment that has really made carpet cleaning such an easier but effective cleaning job is a vacuum cleaner. These are tools or equipment which are used to suck out dirt which are trapped within the fibers of the carpet. This is very effective when you want to remove the solid particles, allergens and the dust which have stayed in the carpet. Although cleaning the carpet thoroughly, removing the stains do need extensive cleaning procedures in order to remove them in the best way possible.

As time passes by, the popularity of carpets in homes have changed the way that people are cleaning their carpets. In the past, carpet cleaning only meant having to use baking soda paste scrub in order to remove whatever is trapped in the carpet fibers. As time passed by, people have devised so many cleaning methods in order to ensure cleaner carpets. There are so many cleaning chemicals that can be bought so that people will not have a hard time cleaning their most prized possession. There are products which remove stains such as carpet shampoo, deep steam, carbonated water, carpet powders and protectors. All of these products claim to remove the stains and soils that have accumulated in the carpet for some time now.

There are basically different phases that need to be completed when cleaning a carpet. Of course, this is a very delicate thing in your household which needs to be cleaned properly. Without following these phases, you are just risking the worsening of the condition of your carpets so you should always keep these in mind and you are on your way in maintaining the best conditions for your precious carpet.

The first phase of carpet cleaning involves the pretreatment of your carpet. This may seem to be an unnecessary carpet cleaning step, but in reality, this is the most important cleaning step. This prepares and conditions your carpet so that it will be cleaned easily. What is done in this step is that the carpet is spayed or sprinkled with a particular solution that help in cleaning of the carpet. It basically lets the solid particles, soils, dirt and dust which are trapped inside the carpets to resurface and lift up. This will now make it easier for the particles to be cleaned.

The next phase would involve the cleaning process itself. The removal of the resurfaced dirt will be done here. As mentioned, there are different ways of cleaning the carpets but just so you know, there are just three major cleaning procedures done when it comes to carpet cleaning. Carpet cleaning would involve hot water extraction, dry extraction and cold water extraction. These methods usually work for a certain type of carpet cleaning job. It is best to research first on which is the suitable cleaning method to do so that cleaning will be done in the best way possible without leaving any dirt behind.

The last phase basically neutralizes the carpet leaving it to be as presentable as it must be. Cleaning will leave no dirt behind but instead remove cleaning residue. Carpet cleaning, involves methods mentioned, and these usually leaves some of the cleaning materials in the carpet. This can actually do more damage and even leave the carpets looking dirtier. This is why this last step should never be neglected and always be done to ensure that the carpet is left clean as it should be, without leaving behind particles. This even makes the carpet feel as soft and looking as new as it was.

Whether you would have your carpets cleaned by professionals or by yourself, you should be knowledgeable when it comes to carpet cleaning. There are now green cleaning products that you can use for your carpet cleaning job. If you want to clean the right way, then might as well check out these cleaning materials each time you use them for cleaning. The environment will be thankful or taking part in trying to protect it from the harm that the people has caused. You can now clean without that guilty feeling of doing so.

These are the things that you have to know when it comes to carpet cleaning. Being that carpets are very precious things, we should never neglect them. Cleaning them is a must which is why we should always make it a point to have them as clean as possible. Remember, a clean carpet will always make any room look as nice as it should be. This is why carpets are meant to be cleaned and left to look as new as they are. Check out the ways in which you can clean your carpets and never regret the decision that you have made.

Enhancing Interior Design With Slate Stone Flooring

Slate stone flooring is today considered one of the most popular methods of enhancing the interior design of a house. Because of its rugged good looks and versatility, the stone plays a wide range of roles from tiles to slabs to chips to strips and can be used in floorings, roofings, back splashes, wall cladding and paving. However, the flooring made of slate stone has taken the upper hand in the maximum usage of this stone. From rustic to contemporary and sleek, the slate flooring can indeed enhance the look of a room.

The basic reason for the wide demand of this type of flooring is that the slate stone is highly durable, stain resistant, slip resistant, fireproof and has the property of retaining and radiating heat. The stone flooring is available in an wide assortment of colors like gray, black, red, pink, purple, green to match the decor of the room. In fact a well established store can display as many as 60 variants of colors in such flooring.

For making floorings, slate tiles or slate slabs are used which are either rectangular or square in shape. They are available in varied sizes. Manufacturers also offer custom sizes. They are available in two forms: gauged or ungauged. When we talk about gauge slate, it implies the stone which has gone through a grinding machine, to smooth only one side and there is a uniform uniform thickness for ease in setting the floors. On the other hand, the ungauged slate stone tiles or slabs are uneven on both sides. They are available in different thickness, and are ideally used as patio paving. The roughened texture of slate stone is very popular for flooring as it is extremely slip resistant. The irregular pattern of each tile or slab gives each tile a distinct look when grouped with others in a large area, thereby giving a one-of-a-kind appearance. Nowadays manufacturers are also offering tumbled stone in small and etched pieces to create ornamental details.

This range of attractive colors, pleasing patterns and designs available has made this stone a popular ornamental and decorative stone. The beautiful slate stone flooring work wonders in creating a graceful, attractive look to any home.

Residential Air Duct Cleaning

How to select an air duct cleaning company?

There are health benefits for all residents from regularly cleaning the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) System.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems collect mold, fungi, bacteria and a variety of contaminants that reduce the quality of the air residents and visitors breathe. A dirty air duct contributes to poor indoor air quality and affects the health of people in the residence.

The purpose of residential air duct cleaning is to remove these contaminants from a home’s HVAC system to get the best indoor air quality.

The most effective way to clean an air duct and/or ventilation system is to use a specialized, powerful vacuum which puts the air duct / ventilation system under negative pressure. While the vacuum draws air through the system, devices are inserted into the ducts to dislodge contaminants and debris from the interior surfaces, moving the contaminants/debris from the home’s air ducts and ventilation systems into the vacuum.

Vacuum collection alone does not clean the HVAC system. Brushes, air whips, “skipper balls” and other tools that agitate contaminants and debris scrub the surfaces within the air duct system and propels contaminants and debris into the vacuum collection device(s).

Anti-microbial chemical sanitizers are applied to the interior surface of the air ducts to control microbial contamination…but…before sanitizers are used, the system should be thoroughly cleaned. All anti-microbial chemicals used must be EPA registered for use in HVAC systems. Ask to see the chemical’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). If you are still concerned, call the EPA at 1-800-438-4318. There are no EPA registered anti-microbial products for use on porous system surfaces – such as fiberglass surfaces.

When sanitizing air ducts you want to make sure the air duct cleaning company uses safe; effective EPA approved products that are safe for people, pets, and the environment. An atomizer fogs the sanitizing product throughout the entire ventilation system.

Allergic people, infants and elderly are especially sensitive to the microbes that cause respiratory problems like bacteria, mildew, fungi algae and dust mites which require a highly-effective sanitizer to eliminate odor-causing microorganisms as well contaminants associated with allergies, mildew and bacterial growth. Make sure the sanitizer is rated by the EPA as a category IV product with the lowest toxicity rating. Sanitizing air ducts means toxicity and safety safeguards that establish and ensure there are no harmful dermal (skin), ocular (eyes), inhalation (breathing) or ingestion (swallowing) effects from the products.

There are two popular types of vacuum collection systems…those mounted on trucks and trailers versus portable units. Truck/trailer mounted equipment is generally more powerful than portable equipment. By contrast, portable equipment often can be brought directly into a facility, locating the vacuum closer to the ductwork. Both types of equipment clean to air duct industry standards. Vacuum units should be attached to a collection device for safe containment prior to disposal. A vacuum collection device which exhausts indoors must be HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrestance) filtered.

The frequency of air duct (HVAC) cleaning depends on several factors:

*before occupying a new home.
*afterhome renovations or remodeling.
*number of smokers in the household.
*Pets that shed hair and dander.
*Water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system.
*Residents with allergies or asthma benefit from better indoor air quality.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency says that “duct cleaning services” typically range in cost from $450 to $1000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climatic region, level of contamination” and type of duct material.

Consumers should beware of air duct cleaning companies making sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning – such claims are unsubstantiated.

Consumers should also beware of “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies that charge low fees and do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies also try to persuade consumers into unneeded services or provide service without the consumer’s permission. Contact the Better Business Bureau and local, federal, and state elected officials to report the company.

Interview at least 3 local air duct and HVAC cleaning contractors and to perform a free system inspection and to provide a price to clean the HVAC system.

Narrow your list of potential contractors:

o Make sure the company is a member in good standing of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).
o Verify that the company is certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning.
o Ask how long the company has been in business and determine if that experience is adequate.
o Ask if the company has the right equipment to effectively perform cleaning, and if the company has done work in homes similar to yours. Ask for references from neighbors.
o Inquire whether the company is in good standing with the local Better Business Bureau.
o Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured.
o Make sure that the company is going to clean and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components.
o Avoid advertisements for “$99 whole house specials” and other sales gimmicks.

NADCA Members sign a Code of Ethics stating they will do everything possible to protect the consumer and to follow NADCA Standards for air duct cleaning. Air duct cleaning companies must meet stringent requirements. All members must have certified Air System Cleaning Specialists (ASCS) on staff, who have taken and passed the NADCA Certification Examination. Passing the exam demonstrates extensive knowledge in HVAC design and cleaning methodologies. Air System Cleaning Specialists are also required to continue their industry education by attending seminars to keep their NADCA certification status current.

Find out as much as you can about the air duct cleaning company before you hire the company.

*Ask the company to display proof of NADCA membership and certification?
*Ask how long has the contractor been in the residential HVAC system cleaning business?
*Ask the contractor provide you with evidence of the current Worker’s Compensation and General Liability Insurance coverage (Ask for Certificate of Insurance)
*Ask the contractor to display the proper licenses required by your city and state to perform the work they are proposing. (Not all cities or states require licenses)
*Ask the contractor provide you with 3 to 5 customer references with phone numbers from air duct services provided in the last 30 days?
*Ask the contractor to conduct a thorough inspection of your system PRIOR to performing any work and alert you to any problems. This is required by the current NADCA Assessment, Cleaning & Restoration of HVAC Systems (ACR) Standard.
*Ask the contractor to provide you with the means to conduct a visual inspection at any time during the cleaning? (Mirror and flashlight, camera or other remote visual systems.)
*Ask the contractor if it will be cleaning the complete system, including coils and fans?
*Ask the company if it will actually do the work? (Some companies subcontract the work to independent contractors; apply the same tough guidelines for subcontractors as well.)
*Ask the contractor to give you a guaranteed price before the inspection. This could expose you to extra costs because finding mold in the system, damaged fiberglass insulation, cleaning or treating cooling coils may become add-on costs.

The amount of time it takes an air duct cleaning company to clean a residential HVAC system depends on:

*the size of the home
*the number of systems
*the extent of the contamination
*the number of HVAC cleaners performing the job

Ask the 3 HVAC contractors you trust the most to inspect your system and give you a completion time estimate for your system of how long the job should take; as well as all of the steps each contractor plans to implement during the job.

Remember, we are breathing millions of germ-carrying dust and mold particles from air ducts that cause allergies, asthma–even terminal illnesses. In all homes, the air ducts gather dust, dirt, human skin flakes and pet dander, becoming holding cells for allergens, mold spores, germs and other contaminants. The problem begins even before you move into a newly-built home, with the buildup of drywall dust, sawdust and other debris in ducts that provide a perfect environment for the growth of germs and allergens. This problem worsened in the 1970’s, as new construction techniques made buildings more tightly sealed, which restricts the flow of fresh air. Every day, families breathe air that is continually circulated through contaminated ductwork by your HVAC system.

The best way to determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective is to demand a visual inspection of the system before and after cleaning. In addition, keep a copy of this article and use it as a post-cleaning check list to help you ensure a top quality job was done. If any dust or debris can be seen during the visual inspection, the system should not be considered cleaned. A certified, professional air duct cleaning contractor should be able to give you access to inspect system components; using specialized inspection tools when necessary. You can perform your own visual inspection using a flash light and mirror.

The best air duct (HVAC) cleaning companies provide a 100% guarantee and won’t make you pay for the air duct cleaning service until you see the proven results with a Duct-Camera. Now you can actually see the dust and allergens free air ducts after professionals clean the HVAC system. The guarantee promises that all visible loose particulate will be removed from every portion of the system. If the job is not performed to customer satisfaction, the affected portions of the system would be re-cleaned and or the job would be re-cleaned at no additional charge to the customer. These companies exceed customer expectations. The company must guarantee 100% customer satisfaction and happily go back and redo the work if required.

The best HVAC cleaning companies allow you can see otherwise inaccessible areas of the system are clean with the Duct Camera; before paying for the service. These air duct companies are courteous, certified technicians who strictly adhere to NADCA processes. You will know a thorough job was done which guarantees value for your money and safety for your home. A professional air duct cleaning company investigates and corrects all symptoms and causes of unhealthy indoor air; such as dirty ducts, mold, chimneys, unhealthy carpets, unsafe dryer vents, humidity and other problems.

Companies that perform the best work don’t off incredible low $79 whole house prices and coupons. Companies that do are likely not to have the proper equipment, training or even the intention of providing real results. To make matters worse…improper air duct cleaning can cause health problems for your family…”so the cheapest price can be very expensive in the long run.” If the price is too good to be true; that price is probably being offered by a predatory business owner looking for an easy mark.

You can hire an air duct cleaning company with confidence now that you know how to get your air ducts cleaned properly and enjoy these benefits:

Health According to the EPA, indoor air is found to be up to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air. Air duct cleaning removes airborne contaminates such as bacteria, fungus, mold spores, pet dander & pollen which may help to alleviate allergy & asthma symptoms.

Extended Equipment Life 9 out of 10 system failures are caused by dirt and dust according to the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. One of the functions of the fan, located inside of your air handler, is to keep the heat exchanger cool. Accumulated dirt and debris can reduce the CFM (cubic feet of air per minute) as much as 50%! This is the most common cause of cracks in heat exchangers. Having your HVAC system cleaned may prevent pre-mature breakdown & aging of your heating and cooling system.

Reduce Dusting Air duct cleaning helps to reduce household dust by removing the dust where it travels most – through your air duct system.

Energy Savings According to the EPA, a buildup of only.042 inches of dirt on a heating coil can result in a decrease of efficiency of 21%. A clean air conveyance system may help to increase efficiency and therefore may help to reduce heating and cooling costs.

The Six Advantages of Organic Bedroom Furniture

A good number of the population consider the bedroom as their favorite room in the house. Many spend a good amount of time in it because of its comfortable aura and cozy feel. Because it’s a place for slumber and rest, being in one’s bedroom gives a feeling of freedom and comfort.

Because a bedroom has to keep a comforting aura, many take time out to choose the furniture and pieces that goes into it. Like any other room in the house, the things in it must fit the function of the room and the available space in it. Design and the price of the furniture are two of the top concerns of people when getting fixtures for their bedroom and for the rest of the house. Furniture makes or breaks the look of the house, and so care must be exercised while choosing what to get. While design and price are valid considerations, there are other factors that need to be considered but are totally ignored by many. Two important considerations that are ignored are the health and ecological benefits of the furniture have. These two are very valid criteria that one should consider when getting furniture other than considering just the price and design.

Many are unaware that since most furniture are made from synthetic materials, they have the greatest potential to actually harm both the body and the environment. Plastics, metals and some hardwood pieces often contain chemicals that help preserve and keep the integrity of the furniture. Not doing this would jeopardize the business, and so furniture manufacturers incorporate preservative materials to their products to increase their longevity in warehouses and stores. For example, some solid wood furniture is imbibed with pesticide and/or fungicides that kill insects or molds that may invade and destroy the furniture. Some have preservatives like Formaldehyde as for plastic or steel fixtures, especially those with color, their paints may contain lead. All these pose a significant health risk to the users. Some disintegrate and turn into vapour, but this ultimately causes harm too. Inhaling the fumes from chemicals in the furniture will cause disorders and disease. What’s more is that these chemicals do not break down easily. They stay with your solid wood furniture until the day you dispose of them. When you dispose of them, the environment then takes the damages. The chemicals harm and pollute the environment.

But one need not sacrifice having beautiful furniture for these considerations. There are options available that would allow you to get the best of all options available without sacrificing safety and quality. Organic bedroom furniture are pieces that would give you many health benefits and environmental benefits without sacrificing quality, design and price. Organic furniture are made from organically grown sources and are processed organically as well—these pieces of furniture are mostly solid wood furniture, only that the source of the wood are organically grown, processed and made to ensure that the finished product retains the natural beauty of natural hardwood. No synthetic and harmful chemicals were used when making these fixtures. There are many other organic solid wood furniture available, ranging from organic beds, mattresses, fibers, cloths to cabinets. Many are skeptical of these kinds of furniture, saying that there is not fundamental difference between them and non-organic furniture. And so this article will present several advantages to getting organic furniture for your bedroom.

1. They’re environmentally friendly!

As mentioned earlier, getting organic furniture would help the environment because the usage of harmful chemicals will be reduced. Poisonous chemicals that help preserve and increase the lifespan of the furniture are very toxic to the environment. Most of these chemicals break down very slowly, and are very likely to poison the earth, the air and the water for a very long time if released to the environment. Organic furniture contains none of these preservatives and harmful chemicals. Using natural fibers like cotton or flax that are grown without the usage of pesticides pose no harm to the environment. Furthermore, organic bedroom furniture help reduce waste because they are very long-lasting and have a longer lifespan as compared to synthetic composite wood. These types of wood break down easily, adding to the bulk of waste and trash dumped into the environment. You are less likely to throw away organic furniture because they are very strong and long-lasting. Other than this, organic bedroom furniture manufacturers strive to reduce the usage of certain materials in furniture assembly and making that are not friendly to the environment. Synthetic backboards, Styrofoam packaging, bubble wraps and the like are not utilized anymore. All in all, you get beautiful furniture whilst protecting the environment.

2. Air quality is improved

Much of the synthetic and non-organic solid wood furniture release the chemicals they are imbibed with into the air. As time goes by, the harmful preservatives find their way out of the hardwood panels of the furniture and into your lungs. Since organic bedroom furniture contain none of these pesticides and chemicals, you can be assured that the quality of air you breathe inside your bedroom or home will improve. There will be no chemicals that will go to your lungs, poisoning you little by little.

3. Improvement in skin health

There are people who report having lots of rashes and other skin ailments in areas that are most commonly in contact with solid wood furniture like chairs, tables and beds. Allergic reactions from the chemicals that are in wooden furniture are not a foreign sight. The chemicals and other preservatives added to the wood of non-organic furniture come in contact with the person using it, an allergic reaction may happen, or worse, the chemical may poison the person by seeping into his skin to his bloodstream. Getting organic bedroom furniture with no chemicals would eliminate the danger of this happening to you and your family.

4. Economical

As mentioned, organic hardwood and naturally made furniture would last a lot longer than synthetics because organic materials are aged and strengthened naturally. Most hard woods are very long-lasting and are compacted very strongly, producing very beautiful furniture when processed. Most composites and synthetic materials break down easily and depend on chemicals to hold them together. In this aspect, organic furniture wins over non-organic furniture again. Because organic bedroom furniture will last a lifetime with you, you find yourself earning money from not buying any other new solid wood furniture for your bedroom or home for a long time.

5. Aesthetic quality

Organic hardwoods are naturally aged and are obtained through delicate natural means. Because of this, most of the wooden products retain their beautiful natural color and state. This gives organic furniture their natural beauty and attractiveness. Furthermore, skilled craftsmen most often bring out the natural beauty of these wood making them even more priceless. Talk about getting beautiful furniture without sacrificing quality!

6. Support for local industry

Most of the businesses that manufacture organic bedroom furniture are small factories that are almost ready to close because of the recession. And so we have to move to convince them not to close by supporting their solid wood furniture and other goods.

With the rising popularity of environmental ideologies, organic furniture are a very booming business. Because of this, fraud and false advertising scams are inevitable. You will encounter shops out there that would claim that their goods are organic, but in truth they are not. They may look organic, but eventually, the signs of wear and tear appear early on. This could waste your money or worse, endanger your and your family’s welfare. How does one protect himself from all these fake goods?

Constant vigilance is a must. Before buying furniture that claims to be organic, it is wise to bring someone who knows things about organic hardwood. If there is no one to accompany you, you have no choice but to research on your own. Information is a very powerful tool that could help you discern what to buy. It is wise to look for the profile of the company or shop from which you would buy the goods from. There are many websites, forums and blogs in the internet that contain information, feedback and advices on how to go about your organic furniture shopping. There are several websites that are dedicated in providing information regarding organic products, as well as their suppliers. The feedback of other internet users on the shop or supplier you are eying could help you know whether or not you should patronize that supplier. Researching could also help you choose more efficiently the designs, type of wood and size of something. Aside from the internet, there are also magazines and books that hold information on this topic. If you are armed with knowledge, chances are you wouldn’t be fooled by false information and misleading advertisements.

All in all, organically grown, manufactured and assembled furniture in your bedroom will help your bedroom become more comfortable and costlier than before. With the benefits presented, it is surely worth getting organic furniture for your bedroom. Organic furniture brings many facets of benefits to you in one go! You need not sacrifice your health, environmentally friendly ideals and economic needs when choosing furniture.

Finding Discount Furniture and Furniture Clearance Offers

Finding discount furniture is always worthwhile, particularly when available as furniture clearance offers when the furniture is in perfect condition. Sure, you can find furniture sales anywhere where the pieces are damaged or are single parts of what were once sets. It’s not very often you will find a clearance furniture sale when every single item is perfect condition and sets are complete. How can firms offer such high quality products at low quality prices?

Here are just a few of the reasons for top furniture stores offering discount furniture to you at such low prices.

1. Furniture Clearance of Slow-Moving Stock

Sometimes certain lines do not sell well and it is considered better to sell the stock at a reduced price than to use it for firewood! If an item has been in stock for over a year or more, then the furniture store might decide that it is time for it to make way for newer and more popular designs.

Initially, such items will be given a prominent place in the showroom and sales staff will be instructed to actively promote it. However, if it fails to sell even then, the item or items will then be put on sale at discount furniture prices and sold as a furniture clearance offer. There is nothing wrong with the quality of the furniture: there are no dents or scratches, but it simply appears not to appeal to the patrons of that particular store.

2. Making Way for New Stock

It is not unusual for a new line of furniture to come in, and the store has to sell off the old versions to make way for the new. You get this in sports stores, car showrooms and other retail outlets where products are subject to progressive updating and the previous models have to be sold off to make way for the next generation.

This can also happen with furniture, and in such cases furniture clearance sales offer the opportunity for high quality home furniture to be available at highly discounted prices. ‘50% OFF’ is not an unusual ticket to see, and some furniture clearance sales offer even better discounts than that.

The reason is that the old stock must go, and if it is not sold before the new deliveries come in then what does the store do? There are not many options, so you can find some amazing discount furniture prices available if you are lucky enough to be in the right store at the right time.

3. Display Discount Furniture Sales

While you might not find the bulk sales that you could with old stock replacement as describe above, you may be lucky and be in the store when clearance furniture prices are available for pieces that have been used on display. These are generally sold ‘as seen’, meaning that the store is not oblige to point out any scratches, dents or other damage. You purchase the furniture at a low price and assume responsibility for any problems associate with it.

This is fair enough, because ex-display items could be anything from perfect to badly scratched – what do you expect from furniture available to the public to try out and handle! However, the low prices of such discount furniture usually make it well worth while buying. Just think of it: brand new furniture is likely to be just as damaged after a month in your home as if you purchased it at only 40% of the regular price in a furniture clearance sale.

4. Special Purchase Sales

Furniture outlets sometimes get the opportunity to make special purchases of furniture such as recliners, sectionals and sofas that are not their own old stock, but older stock of the manufacturers. When furniture manufacturers decide to design and market new ranges of recliners or sectionals, for example, they cannot continue to also offer the previous range.

Just like the 2010 design of a specific automobile cannot be sold alongside the new 2013 model that takes it place, the older versions of a specific line of furniture have to be sold off quickly by a manufacturer when they design and launch their new range.

Such stock is offered to specific furniture outlets at knock-down prices to enable them to pass it on to their regular customers at discount furniture prices. Whole ranges of furniture of many different types can sometimes be made available in furniture clearance offers. It is sometimes possible to furnish an entire room at a fraction of the normal cost.

Finding discount furniture is not particularly difficult if you know where to look for it. Such furniture is of high quality and blemish free – the fact that a piece is offered at a furniture clearance price does not infer that it is substandard or that there is anything at all wrong with it. Take such offers when they are available because you may never find such great prices for high quality furniture again.

Best Home Improvement Investments

Have you thought about remodeling your home? Have you often wondered what the best home improvement projects will be the best investment for you and your family? How do you know if the money you are willing to invest in improving your home is going to be worth it? If these questions have ever crossed your mind and you are looking to improve your home but don’t know where to start or what the best home improvement projects will be, here is a list of some of the best home improvement investments.

1. Remodeling your kitchen may seem like a tedious task and at first, sounds like a large investment. While this may be true if deciding to remodel the entire kitchen, doing smaller remodeling projects to your kitchen may also prove to be just as worth it as remodeling the entire kitchen. Investing in changes to your lighting fixtures, cabinets, countertops, or even updating your sink fixtures can provide just enough of an improvement to modernize the look and feel of your kitchen. The investment may be out of your price range depending on the project but it will prove to be a valuable one once you see the finished project.

2. Remodeling your tile floors can be a wonderful investment to improve the look and feel of your home. Not only will it improve the overall style and look to your home but it can also increase the value of your home. Investing in durable well-made tile flooring will give the sense of high quality and standards of the home to potential homebuyers.

3. Remodeling your basement is a great way to give your home more room and living space. Remodeled and finished basements can be used as a family room, guest bedroom, game or play room for your children, or even an additional bedroom or apartment style living space for older children and even guests. Many potential homebuyers prefer to purchase homes with finished basements. Therefore the value of your home will go up if you choose to completely remodel your basement.

4. Your bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the home. It is usually the first room in the home that one uses when they wake up in the morning and is the main room for the start of ones daily routine. Replacing showerheads and the traditional shower curtain with a sliding door gives just enough of an improvement to give your bathroom a sense of style. Replacing the bathroom sink and vanity mirrors to more modernized versions will give your bathroom a cozier feel and a more updated look.

Even the smallest of home improvement projects can provide your home with a more modernized look. Remodeling certain parts of your home to fit your taste and your style will make home feel more like a vacation rather than an office that you have to clean everyday to keep it presentable. You will feel more relaxed and your guests will feel more relaxed as well. Even the slightest home improvement can also increase the value of your home and can completely change the feel and style of your living space.

Tips for Offering Move-In / Move-Out Cleaning Services

People and businesses are moving from homes, apartments, and offices on a daily basis. As people and businesses move, they either need their old location cleaned or want to make sure their new location is clean before moving in. Your cleaning company can fill this niche by providing what is known as move-in/move-out cleaning. It can be an added service that your cleaning business provides, a way to give employees new skills, and a great way for your company to make more profit!

Move in/out cleaning can be cleaning a building after an old tenant moves out or before a new tenant moves in. The type of clients looking for move in/out cleaning includes residential and commercial property owners and managers. Commercial move in/out cleaning can vary from small, quick jobs of just a few thousand square feet to large office buildings of 15,000 square feet and up.

A good place to start when looking for move in/out cleaning accounts is to contact property management companies. If you happen to be located in a college town there will probably be no shortage of work. If you have been cleaning commercial buildings, your clients will no doubt ask you to provide move in/out cleaning services when they move into a new office or building.

When first starting out with move in/out cleaning it may be necessary to meet with the property manager on-site to give an estimate on the time it will take to clean the apartment, office, or building. Once you establish a relationship with the property manager you may be able to skip doing an estimate and just bill for your time. They will most likely need floor cleaning services too (carpet, tile, wood). These are specialized cleaning services, which you will charge separately for. Offering these specialized services will also add more profitability to your cleaning company since you will charge more for these services.

The prices charged will vary depending on the type of facility you are cleaning, but you should be able to bill $20 – $25 for your services. Apartment buildings tend to be less profitable than commercial buildings because many apartment managers have a budget to adhere to, so they like their cleaning contractors to bill a flat fee because it’s easier to stick to their budget. Cleaning contractors need to be cautious about bidding this way. Some apartments take much longer to clean than others so you don’t want to lose money because you underestimated your time.

No matter if you are cleaning a residential apartment, home or a commercial building there are several steps you should take to guarantee your success and your customer’s satisfaction with your move in/out cleaning services.

· Use teams of 2 to 4 people for apartment cleaning, depending on the size of the apartment. Larger teams may be needed for commercial locations.

Team members should be specialists in the tasks they are performing. For example, in a two person team, one person will be assigned to dusting, windows, and vacuuming. One person will be assigned to bathrooms, kitchens, hard floor vacuuming, and mopping.

The team leader is responsible for making sure that all equipment and supplies are brought to the job site and gathered when the job is complete. Put all tools and chemicals into a plastic tote.

· Before you begin check with the client to make sure the job site has working utilities. You cannot clean without running water and you need electricity to run a vacuum. If it is the middle of the summer, you should make sure the building’s air-conditioning is working properly. Cleaning chemicals and drying times can be affected by heat and humidity.

· Begin cleaning by removing all trash. Pick up all trash that is too large to vacuum. You will be able to vacuum more efficiently as you will not have to stop and pick up large objects.

· Use a microfiber flat mop for cleaning ceilings, walls, baseboards, and doors.

· Proper vacuuming is an important step in move in/out cleaning. Using a backpack vacuum with the proper attachments can speed up the tasks at hand and make work easier on the cleaning staff. Remember to vacuum from high to low, including light fixtures, window tracks, blinds, and along the baseboards. It is also much easier to vacuum out cabinets and drawers than wiping them.

Some of these items will need to be wiped down after vacuuming; light fixtures, insides of cabinets and drawers, ceiling vents, heat registers, and blinds.

· Windows and patio doors should be washed with an applicator and squeegee. Use scrapers or #0000 steel wool to remove stickers and bugs. Be sure the window is wet when using these tools or you could scratch the glass. Frames and tracks should be vacuumed and then wiped down.

· After picking up trash and vacuuming, start cleaning the stuck-on grime and dirt. Chemicals to have on hand include: bowl cleaner, fume-free oven cleaner, window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, degreaser, neutral floor cleaner, stainless steel polish, and furniture polish. Save money by using concentrated chemicals rather than RTU (ready-to-use) chemicals.

Spray spots and make sure you give dwell time so the chemicals have time to work. It is important that you have enough air movement so employees do not breathe in fumes. Make sure that your employees have the correct personal protective equipment (gloves, goggles, etc.) when working with chemicals.

· Deep cleaning. If you need to loosen build-up, use the correct cleaning tools – paper towels, terry cloth rags, microfiber cloths, pads, brushes and scrapers. Use caution when using these tools – you don’t want to damage surfaces.

. Use paper towels, terry cloth rags, or microfiber cloths for most cleaning tasks. Use a green microfiber cloth for dusting; blue for windows, glass and polished surfaces; red for cleaning restrooms and yellow for countertops, sinks and walls.

. Use hand brushes for scrubbing showers, sinks, stoves, and refrigerators. Use grout brushes for cleaning up grout on countertops and ceramic tile floors. Toothbrushes can be used for detail cleaning around faucets and around the rims in toilet bowls.

. Use white pads for surfaces such as glass, chrome, stainless steel and plastic. This is because white pads are not as abrasive as green pads.

. Green pads are good for greasy areas including cabinets, toilets and scrubbing shower stalls. Be careful when using green pads however, as they can scratch surfaces.

. Use a 2″ utility scraper for build-up and adhesives in kitchens and bathrooms.

· Save time by spraying the inside of the refrigerator and showers/tubs with a pump-up sprayer rather than using a spray bottle. When cleaning kitchens, be sure to pull out the stove and refrigerator. Clean the walls, sides of appliances, sides of cabinets, floor, and vacuum the coils. Also clean the oven hood and filters.

· Clean floors last. Use the backpack vacuum to give the floors a final vacuuming, and then mop all hard surface flooring.

Offering move in/out services is one way to start your cleaning business. It also provides a way for an established cleaning company to provide added services to their existing clients while putting extra dollars onto the bottom line.