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The Three Mistakes Pet Owners Make When Carpet Cleaning

 

Keeping your carpets clean when you own pets is difficult. Make it easier by avoiding these three common mistakes.

As every pet owner know, animals can get pretty messy, from bringing in dirt from their latest outdoor adventure to using the carpets as their own personal lavatory. When these accidents happen, it’s important to clean the resulting mess properly and avoid the mistakes many pet owners make when carpet cleaning. Here are a few of those mistakes, how to avoid them, and how proper carpet maintenance can help you save money in the long run.

Mistake #1: Scrubbing it in

When stains happen in the carpet, the first response is often to get on our hands and knees and start putting as much pressure on the stain as possible, giving it as much elbow grease as we can manage. The problem with carpet stains, especially some of the more fluid-based surprises left by our furry friends, is this only makes the problem worse. Scrubbing pushes the stain deeper in the carpet.

Solution: Dab it out

When cleaning carpets, pressure is fine. It’s the rubbing back and forth that causes the issue. The trick is to work smart, not hard, and that starts with dabbing the stain with a mixture of soap and water. Push down on the stain to draw it into the cloth or paper towel, this will help keep your carpet from hiding the stain further down.

Mistake #2: Letting it set

One of the worst stain-related moments in the world is when you move furniture and discover a stain that has all but destroyed your carpets. Pets, especially cats, can seem to get everywhere. When that happens, stains can hide in places you not know about until you move the furniture. While you can always replace carpet, the much more affordable option is to look for stains and deal with them as soon as you possibly can.

Solution: Preventative maintenance

The best way to avoid surprise carpet stains by your pets is to keep them off the carpet. Keeping your animals in spaces that are free of carpets when you aren’t home virtually eliminates pet-related carpet stains. If you can, make a designated area for your pet that has zero carpet for when you are away and, in some cases, when you sleep. Keep the pet there and worry less about surprises.

Mistake #3: Going steam-free

Many people avoid steam-cleaning their carpets, opting instead to use spray carpet cleaners on stains and vacuuming up everything else. While this sort of regular maintenance is essential, semi-annual steam cleaning is the best way to ensure your carpets stay their best, and this goes especially for pet owners.

Solution: Steam

A semi-annual steam-cleaning does your home a world of good whether you own pets or not. It helps keep your carpets looking and smelling their best, all while eliminating the allergens and bacteria hiding deep inside the fibres.

Carpet cleaning is essential to maintaining a clean, safe environment for you and your pets. If you are in need of professional carpet cleaning and carpet cleaning rentals, contact AmSteam today!

5 Ways to Protect Your Home from Sewer Backup and Water Damage

 

Sewer backup and water damage are gross and expensive. Here are some ways you can help prevent them from happening to your home.

When it comes to water damage, prevention is often the less expensive and more responsible route for protecting your home. Here are five ways in which professional basement waterproofing experts can help protect your home from sewer backup and water damage.

  1. Backwater Valves

Backwater valves are small, ingeniously simple devices that prevent your main drain pipes from backing up and pumping water back into your home. They work by simple mechanics, letting water flow freely when going in the right direction, but closing up the second it detects water flowing the wrong way.

Many municipalities offer incentive programs to help every home have a functional backwater valve, simply because they are cost-effective and extremely useful. So, if you need one or need one replaced, the cost can be much lower than you expect.

  1. Sump Pumps

If your home or basement is below the water table, you will need a sump pump in order to keep water out of your home. Sump pumps work quite simply: they detect when the water level around your home is too high and then pump water away from your home, where it can safely drain elsewhere. Sump pumps are not needed in many areas because of their requirements, but they are one of the most effective means of preventing basement flooding.

  1. Floor Drain Plugs

Similar to the backwater valve, floor drain plugs help stop water from flowing back into your home. Where backwater valves are often installed in the main drain pipe leading from your home to your municipality’s drainage system, a floor drain plug is installed on your basement drain, right near the top. When water rises to the level of the drain, the mechanical device stops the water from flowing any further, keeping your home dry. It is best to think of floor drain plugs as a last line of defense rather than a complete basement waterproofing strategy.

  1. Standpipes

Standpipes are special pipes installed in your home’s floor drain and sealed with a rubber seal. When water rises out of the drain, it goes into the pipe and back down. The main advantage of standpipes is that they are easy to install and remove and are best used when flooding is likely to occur, like during periods of storms or heavy rains.

  1. New Seals on Windows and Doors

While your plumbing is a major source of sewage backup, water damage can come from the outdoors, not just your pipes. That is why any windows and doors in your basement should be regularly inspected for their ability to keep water out of your basement. Check any window and door frames in your home to see if any water could get through, and have a professional ensure they are replaced and watertight.

While the best way to deal with water damage is prevention, sometimes the worst still happens. When that occurs, be sure to call a professional flooding restoration company, like AmSteam, to get your home cleaned up.

Has your home been impacted by water damage? We can help! Contact us today. We offer 24-hour emergency response services.

3 Benefits of Having Your Home Vents Cleaned Regularly

Here’s why you shouldn’t be avoiding cleaning those home vents.

 

Time to clean your home vents! Before you run screaming for the hills, here are a few things to consider that might make you rethink the decision to put off the vent cleaning until next year.

 

There’s something lurking within.

 

It seems silly, right? They’re just vents—how dirty can they even get? No one’s walking around in there or anything. Trust someone who’s had to send a white cat through her vents to hunt down that one pesky mouse who managed to get into the house: your vents get dirty inside—and there may be little someones walking about in there…furry little someones who have four feet and a long tail, for instance—or worse! Not-so-furry even littler someones who have six or eight legs (the horror).

 

The best way to make sure your home vents are clear of all pests is to get your home vents cleaned regularly.

 

Insect and rodent stowaways aside, even the cleanest house with the most tightly manned and pest-proofed barricades at all entrance points has one pest in common: dust mites. These are relatively innocuous—unless there are a lot of them. Then they can contribute to allergic reactions, or even just that stale smell that sometimes doesn’t seem like it wants to leave your home.

 

How often do you vacuum your floors? Once a week? Consider the fact that the same amount of dirt that gets on your floor can end up in your home vents. Plus, any dirt that you stir up once a week while cleaning can end up in those vents—or any dirt or pollen that comes through the window. More importantly, after you’ve spend that much time vacuuming all of your floors, do you know what happens? The air moving through your vents blows some of that dirt back out onto your clean floors. Are you frustrated with how often you are vacuuming and washing the floors while your socks still seem to be getting dirty? You may need to clean your vents. Once you do, you may find your general cleaning (and the associated expenses) drop.

 

Besides the general discomfort of having potential intruders—dust and pollen included—there are also a number of health factors involved.

 

Getting your vents cleaned regularly and professionally can actually save you from illness and other hazards. Let’s put it this way: you wouldn’t skip washing a spoon your child eats with because it doesn’t look dirty. There could be germs—and you can’t always see germs! Your vents are no different. They may be out-of-sight, but that doesn’t mean the dirt isn’t in there, and it could be creating health risks. How? Because the dirt might not just be an innocent little family of dust mites; it might be pollen, allergens, pet dander, mould, spores, mildew, and even other contaminants, like chemical residue and toxins, that could be harmful to inhale—especially considering the amount of time you spend breathing the air in your home.

 

And then there’s the cost.

 

You may be thinking that regularly cleaning those home vents is going to add up to extra costs and expenditures. Well, that’s not actually the case. Cleaning your vents regularly can actually keep your heating and cooling system working more efficiently (nothing works well when it is bogged down by dirt), and if it has to work less hard to disperse the air around your home, then it is saving you money on both your heating (or cooling) and electricity bill. You will also save on the repair bill because routine cleaning can enable the professionals to spot potential problems before they create significant damages to the whole system—or before they leave you without heat in the middle of the winter.

 

The benefits are plenty.

 

Ready to make the call? Contact us to learn more ways to keep your home clean and healthy.

3 Types of Bacteria That Could Be Hiding in Your Couch!

There are all kinds of bacteria in the world. These ones could be lurking in your couch, carpets, and home.

Bacteria. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are lurking in your couch, your carpets, and your home. Most are generally benign, happy to coexist with humans. But some are less friendly and can lead to all kinds of health issues. Here are five such harmful bacteria that could be hiding in your home.

  1. Proteobacteria Hiding on Your Pets and Their Favorite Places

If you own a dog, chances are your home has proteobacteria. This is a broad group of bacteria, covering roughly a third of all known species, so the problems can be quite diverse, up to and including what causes whooping cough. In general, however, this group of bacteria primarily travels not through the body, or through your dog’s body, but through dust. So if you have a dog that loves the outdoors, chances are, your home has this bacteria, and if they love to sleep on the couch or carpet, rest assured that this bacteria is deeply embedded.

  1. Streptococcus Mutans on Your Sheets

You may have heard of this kind of bacteria from your dentist as it is the primary reason we brush our teeth. These bacteria love to hang out in our mouths, chomping down on any food caught there and releasing acid during their digestion process. It is this acid and these bacteria that we are trying to get rid of with a thorough cleaning, but they don’t only reside in our mouths. They also hang out in our homes.

In general, these bacteria live on our sheets and pillowcases, but it can end up on our couches as well, especially if you are prone to falling asleep while watching television. Thankfully, these bacteria need moist environments in which to live, but they can live for some time on dry material, meaning your nightly routine may help the bacteria grow.

Dangerous bacteria could be lurking in almost every part of your home, from your couch to your pillow cases, and while regular cleaning will take care of most, sometimes a more intensive clean is required. In those instances, regular furniture and carpet cleaning can help kill the bacteria and make your home a healthier environment.

  1. E. Coli and Friends Wherever Food Ends Up

You know when you pull back the couch cushions looking for the remote and you find change and little food particles, too? Well, those food particles are probably covered in enterobacteriaceae, the family of bacteria that includes E. Coli. Most of these bacteria are harmless, content to chow down on your forgotten leftovers, but some can cause severe issues, especially for those most likely to put those pieces of food in their mouths—namely pets and small children. Generally, the food these bacteria like best is fruit and vegetables, so you can worry less if the food is mostly chips and popcorn, but it’s still a good excuse to give your couch a regular cleaning.

If you are looking for carpet and furniture cleaning, be sure to contact the professionals. Armed with the right equipment and cleaning products, Amsteam can help eliminate more of these harmful kinds of bacteria while keeping your home looking its absolute best.

Three Signs Your Furnace Needs Replacing

These three signs could mean your furnace is due for servicing.

Your furnace is a vital part of your home. Proper room temperature not only creates a comfortable environment, it can help alleviate other problems too.  A home that is too hot can result in counter food spoiling faster as well as causing other appliances, such as fridges and freezers, to work harder.  Harder working appliances not only increase your utility bills, they also wear out faster.  A home that is too cold will not sustain certain house plants and fish without their own additional heating sources.

It becomes easy to take a furnace for granted as it simply runs in the background. However, should it suddenly fail, the absence of this unit will be immediately noticeable.  If you know what signs to look for, you will be better prepared for a furnace replacement.  A sudden furnace failure can leave you in the cold for possibly days before a replacement can arrive and be installed.

Strange Noises

A properly functioning furnace is relatively quiet. If you start hearing noises that were not previously there, it could be a sign of upcoming furnace failure.  As the furnace reaches approximately 15 years, pay close attention to these smaller details. The lifespan of the average furnace is 15-20 years.  If your furnace is aging and becoming louder, has squeaking, clanging or banging that was not there before, you may need to budget for a furnace replacement.

Cool or Cold Air

The blower motor in your furnace is responsible for distributing the warmed air through your home.  If the blower motor starts to fail, you will notice cool areas in your home or even an overall cooler environment. Your furnace will also work harder to bring your home up to the required temperature.  For blower motor repairs, contact your furnace technician as soon as possible.  They will advise you on if it is a fixable issue or if your furnace needs replacing.  The cost of the repair combined with the age of your furnace will both play a factor in this type of decision.

The Colour of Your Flame

An important observation on your furnace is the colour of your furnace flame.  The burner flame in your furnace should burn a blue colour.  If yours is burning yellow then it is a sign that your furnace is producing carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas can be released undetected with fatal results.  If you notice a yellow flame, leave your home immediately. Contact your utility company to shut off your gas as well as a furnace repair company to access your situation.

Furnaces are built to run without issues for a very long time.  If you notice one or more issues, then it may be time to look into a new furnace.  In the meantime, proper care and maintenance will go a long way into helping ensure that your furnace will last as long as possible.

One important step is regularly scheduled furnace cleaning.  This will help keep both your furnace maintained and prevent it from having to work harder than it was intended to.  A properly maintained furnace is a long lasting furnace.  A long lasting furnace results in a comfortable home environment.

Think your furnace could be due for a check-up? Our team of experienced technicians are ready to assist you! Book your appointment today.

 

How Scotchgard™ Can Make Maintaining Carpets Simple

Don’t risk your carpet’s cleanliness or durability – having it treated with Scotchgard is one of the best ways to protect your carpet and make cleaning and maintaining it a breeze.

 

If you have carpets or upholstery in your home, office, or anywhere else, you’re probably all too familiar with that sense of panic that grips you whenever you see someone carrying a too-full cup of coffee, or walking in on a rainy day without taking off their shoes. Sound familiar? If you live in fear of a single misstep ruining your carpet forever, your saving grace might just come in a bottle. Scotchgard™ can protect your carpets from stains, wear, or any other threat, and make carpet maintenance the easiest thing on your to-do list.

 

Dependable Protection For Your Carpet

 

A coating of Scotchgard keeps your carpet safe from a whole host of risks. Scotchgard protects against both oil and water-based stains, making sure unsavory spills aren’t absorbed into the carpet, never to be fully removed again. It provides a thin, invisible barrier on top of your carpet that makes all the difference. It also protects your carpet from wear and tear; the coating keeps every fibre of your carpet safe from premature damage and lengthens the life of your carpet so that it’ll keep on looking good as new instead of getting worn and faded in a matter of months.

 

Make the Cleaning Process Easier For Yourself

 

When you have your carpet treated with Scotchgard, you make your own life that much easier. Scotchgard Staingard keeps spills at the surface of your carpet so you can clean them up before they can be absorbed by the carpet. On top of that, having an application of Scotchgard means that vacuuming will be way more effective – in fact, you’ll remove three times as much dirt when you vacuum than you would have without Scotchgard! Treating your carpets also makes professional cleaning jobs more effective and ensures better results. Your treated carpets will release more stains next time you have them steam-cleaned since dirt and stains will have a harder time bonding with the carpet fibres when they’re protected by Scotchgard. And after you’ve had your carpet cleaned? Thanks to Scotchgard Staingard, the job will last longer than it would on an untreated carpet, and your carpet will look freshly cleaned for a long time.

 

When Should You Have Your Carpet Treated?

 

The best time for you to have Scotchgard applied to your carpets is right after cleaning. Manufacturers suggested that you have it re-applied after every cleaning; however, since you don’t need to have your carpets cleaned nearly as regularly when they have a coating of Scotchgard, this isn’t actually all that often. While some people will try to apply Scotchgard to their carpets themselves, you should always have it applied by a professional; professional applicators have the proper equipment and the experience to make sure there aren’t any mistakes and that no residue is left. Applying Scotchgard yourself puts you at risk of breathing in the product and damaging your health.

 

AmSteam offers professional Scotchgard Staingard application for only a few cents per square foot. Get a free quote on our website or give us a call at 780-487-0184 to book your appointment today!

How to Choose the Right Carpet for Your Space

 

While looks are important, these are a few key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for carpets.

Carpets have long been a mainstay in flooring, even as hardwood gained its resurgence a few decades ago. While other floorings have many benefits, few can match the luxury and elegance of a well-maintained carpet. If you are thinking about buying carpet for your home, here are a few considerations to keep in mind. Each will help you make the right decision for you, your home, and your family.

  1. Think About Your Lifestyle

While many people go for aesthetics when it comes to carpet, one of the very first considerations isn’t about the carpet. It’s about you, specifically, your lifestyle and your home. Elaborate, beautiful carpets are one of the ultimate signs of luxury, but they simply will not last in a home of young children and messy pets. You will need to have your carpets cleaned fairly regularly; deep, lush carpets last much longer when they aren’t subjected to dogs running in out of the rain or the many messes young children can create.

So when looking at carpet, look for something that can stand up to your life, then look at the aesthetics.

  1. Look into Piles

The pile of your carpet, or how it’s made, is one consideration that will come out of thinking about your lifestyle. In general, carpets are made through two different styles, called cut or loop. Cut carpets weave fabric into the base and then cut the fabric. Loop piles, by contrast, loop the fabric back into the base. In general, cut pile carpets are less expensive because they require less time and labour to create, but loop pile carpets are generally more durable. Depending on where the carpet is going, like high traffic areas, and how often it will be used, you will want a loop pile over a cut pile.

  1. Choose the Right Material

On top of how a carpet is made, you will also need to consider the material itself. Many carpets today are made from nylon, polyester, acrylic and similar synthetic materials. The reasoning is simple: they are much more durable than natural fibers. Nylon is generally considered the most durable while polyester is more stain resistant.

That being said, wool is still a popular material for carpets because of its durability and resistance to everything from stains to static and moths. The major drawback for wool, however, is price, as it is easily the most expensive carpet material.

To say that carpets are making a comeback suggests that they went out of style, but this simply isn’t true. There are few things as luxurious and comforting as a nice carpet in your home. They feel wonderful under your feet, especially in the dead of winter, and they look fantastic. If you are considering new carpets for your home, be sure to consider the many factors that go into owning carpet, including regular cleanings. With the right choices and the right maintenance, your new carpet will look wonderful now and long into the future.

If you have questions about what type of carpet you have and the best cleaning option for you, give us a call! Our specialists are happy to help. 780-487-0184

How to Stop Your Pets from Going Potty on Your Carpet

Our furry friends provide us with hours of entertainment and companionship. They often feel like members of the family. Unlike our human family members, however, our pets are not toilet trained. If your pet is doing its business on your carpet instead of its cage, litter box or outside, it could be a sign of trouble. Here’s how to identify and correct this problem.

 

  1. Dog’s like to announce their presence by marking Dogs that pee on furniture, doorjambs, the leg of the coffee table, etc., are marking their territory. This is usually in response to a change in the environment, such as new furniture, a new baby, or partner moving in. Marking can also be triggered by the scent of other animals on your clothing. The marking defense is your dog’s way of saying “I was here first”. Some dogs only mark occasionally when stressed. For others, it’s a chronic problem.

 

While neutered males and female dogs mark on occasion, this behavior is most commonly seen in unneutered males. Early neutering is one of the best ways to prevent a male from marking. Another method is to watch your dog closely and when you catch him in the act, punish him in a safe an appropriate manner. A firm “no” while pointing out the wet area shows him your disappointment. Your dog wants to please you, so affirm his good behavior when he urinates outside.

 

  1. Cats mark too: Dogs are not the only animals that are territorial. If a cat feels threatened or uncomfortable in its environment, it will spray to calm itself down and to mark its territory. When this happens, it’s very important to clean the scent off your carpet or furniture completely, or the cat will come back to the same spot to spray again.

 
In addition to making sure your cat feels safe and comfortable by having its own space away from other critters (a cat tree, the corner of a closet, etc.) have an extra litter box in the house. In fact, if you have more than one cat, have a litter box per cat, plus one extra. Cats like to have their own space, especially at potty time. Make sure the litter boxes are easy to access and if kitty refuses to use it consistently, change its location, try a new litter or buy a larger box.

 

Also, remember that cats are very tidy critters. If their litter box is dirty, they may prefer your clean carpet over their smelly box.

 

  1. Little critters just don’t know any better: Smaller pets, like hamsters and guinea pigs, just go when nature calls them. Unlike a dog that can ask to go outside or a cat that can be litter trained, rodents eat and poop without giving it any thought. If you want to play with your small critter on the carpet, avoid doing so right after it’s had a meal, and if there is an accident, clean it up promptly.

 

  1. Anxiety: Urinating on the floor is a common sign of anxiety in most pets. When you are gone for an extended period of time, your pet misses you. The smelly surprise is their way of saying,
    “Don’t leave me like that! I thought you weren’t coming back.” If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, have a trusted friend or family member check on your pet. In addition to making sure they have enough food and water, your pets need to be cuddled, petted, walked and played with. They are social animals; your unexplained absence stresses them out.

The high concentration of ammonia in cat and dog urine can irritate the lungs and trigger asthma or allergies. Even if the surface of your carpet appears to be clean, urine can quickly soak into the underpad. Animal feces should always be cleaned up from household surfaces promptly and thoroughly to prevent health hazards and staining.

 

If your pet has an accident in your home, call AmSteam for a thorough, deep carpet and upholstery cleaning. Our team of professional cleaners will also discuss long-term solutions with you, like our 3M Scotchguard Stainguard® treatment that eliminate smells and bacteria. Contact us today to learn more!

3 Types of Bacteria That Are Lurking in Your Carpet

Did you know that there are approximately 200,000 bacteria per square inch of carpet in your home?

Yes, you heard that correctly. And it’s not just everyday organisms like dust mites and allergens. A lot of the bacteria found in carpets pose serious health risks.

Below are just three kinds of germs hidden in your carpets.

 

1. Fecal Matter

Particularly common in households with pets and young children, fecal bacteria can cause E-coli diarrhea, salmonella or shigella. Along with these serious health risks, there are also viruses transmitted through human feces, including rotavirus, norovirus and hepatitis A and E.

 

2. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

These aggressive bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and can have a nasty effect on anyone who is infected. Symptoms typically include inflamed, painful red bumps and fever. MRSA can be contracted by coming into contact with an object or surface that an infected person has touched – including your carpets!

 

3. Mold

Molds can produce allergens, irritants, and even dangerous mycotoxins, leading to a variety of health risks. The most common health concern is allergies, with symptoms ranging from sneezing and coughing to inflammation of the throat and lungs. One particular type of mold that poses a risk is Aspergillus Versicolor, a slow-growing fungus commonly found in damp carpet. If a clump of this particular mold enters the lungs, it can cause a cough, fever, chest pain and even difficulty breathing. If the spores enter the bloodstream, it can lead to chills, shock, seizures and even blood clots.
84 percent of adults believe that their carpets are clean, but only 9 percent claimed to wash their carpets regularly. At Amsteam, we use the highest quality products and industry-leading methods to ensure anything harmful in your carpets is removed.

 

In fact, our cleaning procedures remove on average of 98.1% of common allergens from carpets and upholstery.

Don’t wait! Book your appointment online today!

3 Cleaning Hacks to Improve Your Household Chore Routine

If you are like most homeowners, you have a list of chores you do regularly, and you do them the same way every time. But what if we told you there’s a better way? With these 3 cleaning hacks, you’ll get better results and never go back to your usual way again!

 

  1. Use a squeegee when cleaning windows

Using a cloth to clean windows and glass almost always leaves behind streaks. By using a squeegee, you’re guaranteed to have spotless glass. The best part? They aren’t expensive at all. A small investment for a big improvement!

 

  1. Use pillowcases to clean your ceiling fan

Put the pillowcase over each individual fan blade and then pull it off. The dust from the blade will fall into the pillowcase, saving you from having to sweep those dust bunnies up from the floor afterward!

 

  1. Run used sponges through your dishwasher

You use them to clean your kitchen, but how you’ve never thought about cleaning the sponge itself! You can run sponges through your dishwasher to get a longer life span out of them. Running your sponge through a dishwasher cycle that includes drying eliminates 99.9998% of the bacteria inside of it! What better way to keep your home as sanitary as possible than making sure the tools you use to clean it are hygienic too?

 

By making these simple adjustments to your routine, you can make your home a whole lot more fresh! Enjoy the sparkle and flawless finish!

 

And of course, if carpet cleaning is on your list of things to do, give us a call!

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