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3 Things That Could Happen If You Don’t Clean Your Furnace for Winter

  1. Poor Combustion
    If your filters haven’t been replaced in quite some time, dust and dirt can build up in your furnace, causing it to run inefficiently. When this happens, your furnace can’t properly burn off Carbon Monoxide. The result? It leaks into your home, which can be deadly!
  1. Restricted Airflow
    Your furnace could be producing hot air, but if your air filter is blocked with dirt and dust, it won’t be able to blow that heat throughout your home effectively. This means it’s still using up energy (that you’ll be paying for), but you won’t reap the benefits of a nice, cozy home. This also puts extra pressure on the fan of your furnace, which could cause it to malfunction or break.
  1. False Readings
    If dirt builds up around your flame sensor, it could misread and shut down. Your flame sensor let’s the rest of your system know that there is actually a fire when your gas valve is open. If it’s unable to detect the flame because it’s too dirty, your furnace will keep producing gas. Very dangerous!

To avoid these unwelcome surprises (and others), a professional furnace cleaning is essential. Don’t get caught with a faulty furnace during the winter months! Give us a call today!

Tips for Getting your Home Ready for Winter

The changing of the seasons is nothing new. Every year, we look out the window to see the leaves changing from green to red and gold, before eventually falling to the ground. Every year, flocks of geese and other birds fly south, and sure enough, glittering blankets of frost begin to appear on the grass in the morning. Yet, in spite of how routine and predicable these changes in the seasons are, it somehow feels like no one is ever really ready for it. Most people end up scrambling at the last minute to get ready for the cold. However, by getting your home ready for winter before the cold sets in, you will feel more prepared for the drop in temperature, even if you wish summer would last just a little longer.

Check Your Furnace

When getting your home ready for winter, you’ll probably want to start with your heating system. You might not always notice furnace issues in the summer months when the heat is turned down, so now is the time to have your furnace checked to ensure it’s working properly and your house is being heated adequately. Have a furnace specialist come in and inspect to make sure everything is in good condition. This is also a good time to change the furnace filter and schedule your next furnace cleaning.

Keep the Heat in

Once you’ve checked your furnace and are confident you have enough heat inside your home, it’s time to make sure that heat won’t escape. The next step in getting your home ready for winter is to check your windows and doors to make sure they aren’t letting the warmth out. Is it especially chilly near windows and doors? Are walls around them cold to the touch? Do you detect a noticeable temperature drop in rooms with large windows? If this is the case, you may need to have windows or doors repaired or replaced, or install a plastic sealing kit around windows to prevent heat escape.

Carpet Care

Getting your home ready for the winter means preparing for winter messes too! The water, slush and mud that comes with winter can be a nightmare for your carpets. Be sure to have a protective mat in place for family and guests to remove their shoes before stepping onto the carpet. It’s also important to regularly check for moisture seepage on walls and floors, and especially in the basement where melting snow can drip in through cracks or windows. This moisture can damage carpets and cause mould growth if not remedied quickly.

Now that you’ve guarded your home against the cold, you’re ready for the low temperatures to set in. Getting your home ready for winter might not be your favorite way to spend the fall, but ultimately, it will save you time and stress and make winter a little easier. For help with carpet cleaning, get in touch with us here at Amsteam. We have solutions for protecting your carpets, and the equipment to clean them when winter finds its way in!

Contact us today to book your next furnace or carpet cleaning!

How To Protect Your Carpet For When The Snow Hits

Snow can be a wonderful thing. There’s nothing quite like waking up to a world all covered in pure, pristine white flakes falling from the sky, making your street look like a snow globe. As beautiful as it is, snow can make housekeeping a more difficult task than it was in the summer, especially if you have carpets in your house. Snow, as you’re aware, is frozen water that turns into puddles when it comes indoors. It’s often laden with mud, sand and plant fragments, none of which you want tracked onto your carpets. Here are some ways to keep your carpets clean when the great outdoors seems determined to ruin them.

Invest In A Doormat

Your first line of defense against the forces of dirty snow boots is a doormat. A cute little square of rubber that says “Welcome” won’t do. You need something to contain the mess as it comes into the house, because no matter how careful people are, tracking snow through the doorway is something that can’t really be avoided. Get something that covers your whole entryway, that won’t let water soak through onto your carpet, and that’s easy to clean without having to take it outdoors.

Set Some Boundaries

Getting a doormat is a great idea. Being a doormat is less ideal, especially when it comes to defending your carpets from messes and puddles. Make some clear rules for your family members and guests. Let them know that you expect them to take their shoes off when they come into your house.  Although if they’ve grown up in a snowy climate, it may be second nature to do that anyway. Putting up a friendly sign can help remind people not to leave their shoes or boots on as they enter your home. You’ll find that most people are more than willing to help you out.

Business As Usual

Unfortunately, no matter how hard everybody tries to keep the floor clean, floors are always going to get dirty, no matter which season it is. Even with a mat to contain the mess at the doorway, you still need to sweep, mop and vacuum as usual. Pay special attention to problem areas, like dining room carpets and bathroom rugs. With diligent cleaning, you can keep your carpets in good condition so that you won’t have to feel overwhelmed by a winter’s worth of dirt when spring cleaning rolls around.

When Winter Is Over

Everyone’s house gets a little bit dingy over the winter—don’t worry, it’s not just you! It simply isn’t doable to open up all the doors and do a spring cleaning before springtime. When it is time to clear out all of the winter muck, treat your carpet to steam cleaning from AmSteam, just to get the last few trouble spots out and your carpet looking as fresh and soft as new. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finally getting to walk barefoot, unless it’s the feeling of walking barefoot on a freshly cleaned carpet. We can help you with that!

Contact us today to book your next carpet cleaning!

 

Redesign Your Front Entrance for Fall

The best way to get into the spirit of fall is to redesign your front entrance to match the season! There are many small changes that you can make to get festive, without blowing your budget. By capturing some of the most iconic autumn elements and pulling them into your design, you can easily achieve the best looking foyer on the block!

Rustic Chic

Reclaimed wood is a great way to bring a sense of warmth into your front entrance this fall. By adding something as simple as a small bench or chair, you can take your entrance space to the next level. Combining functionality and aesthetics, natural wood will provide a sense of character to your foyer, while also serving a purpose. Rustic pieces of furniture can add a touch of old-world charm to what might be an otherwise dull space. If you enjoy being on the cutting edge of interior design, look for something combining reclaimed wood and iron bars or piping, to add an industrial look to your entrance.

Add Splashes of Colour

When people think of autumn, one thing likely comes to mind before everything else – the colours! It is important when re-imagining your front entrance for fall that you add splashes of colour that evoke that sense of coziness and warmth that is synonymous with this time of the year. Grab a plaid throw blanket combining reds, oranges and browns, and drape it over your wooden bench or chair. Add accent colours with picture frames, pillows, lamps or rugs. The sky is the limit! Simply walk into any home decor store in autumn and you will be amazed by all of the options that you have.

Bring Nature Inside

Another important element of autumn is the time of the harvest. Recreate this look in your front entrance by collecting iconic images of the harvest and use them to adorn your tabletops or window ledges. Placing a few ears of dried corn into a wicker basket, along with a few freshly picked apples, will give your foyer a welcoming presence for your guests. If you are crafty, you can also work with materials such as leaves, corn husks and hay to create a stunning entrance just outside of your front door, welcoming everyone in before they even get ready to knock. Most important of all, don’t forget the pumpkins and gourds! These aren’t just for decorations for outside, as the smaller versions of these will look fantastic along with the other harvest elements inside, such as your basket of dried corn and fresh apples. Adding pumpkins will also create more of that pop of colour that everyone is aiming to achieve at this time of the year.

Don’t Forget the Door!

Make your front entrance look welcoming before your guests even step inside with a beautiful autumn-inspired wreath. Fallen leaves, pine cones, dried corn and husks, branches, and much more can be used to create your very own festive wreath! If you aren’t particularly crafty, there are also many options available to you at local craft stores and vendors of all kinds. Get into the festive spirit and decorate your front entrance today!

Keep your home looking fresh and welcoming all year round with AmSteam’s professional carpet cleaning, serving many locations within the Edmonton area.

Contact us today for a quote!

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality… With Plants!

Decorating a home is always a balance between practicality and artistry. Everyone wants their house to look beautiful, but nobody wants to try to keep a high-maintenance home looking fresh and new every day. That’s why we pick beautiful but sturdy furniture, and choose floor and window covering that are attractive but easy to keep clean. One way to beautify a home while improving its cleanliness is to decorate with live house plants. Not only do they add a touch of life and colour to your home, their natural properties can make the air cleaner in every room in your house. Most popular house plants are very low maintenance, requiring only a bit of water and an occasional trim to stay beautiful.

How Can House Plants Help My Air Quality?

It’s common knowledge that plants produce oxygen. Biologists call our tropical rainforests “the lungs of the planet”. Fortunately, you can harness that same oxygen-producing power on a much smaller scale to add a bit of freshness to your home, but even small house plants take it a step further than that. When plants use photosynthesis, they filter contaminants from the air. They can significantly reduce the presence of benzene and formaldehyde from the atmosphere, making it safer to breathe. Studies have even found that rooms with house plants can have up to 60 per cent less airborne microbes, including harmful mold spores.

Which Plants Should I Use?

Since all plants use photosynthesis, most plants are suitable for the purpose of improving your indoor air quality. However, some plants are more effective than others. Spider plants and rubber plants are both very popular choices because they do a stellar job of cleaning rooms and offices while being extremely easy to care for. Peace lilies produce beautiful and unique blossoms along with oxygen, and larger plants like weeping fig trees add grander touch of nature to any indoor environment.

Caring For Your Indoor Plants

If you want your plants to take care of you, you need to take good care of them. Fortunately, this isn’t difficult. Most indoor plants don’t grow too large and don’t require any special treatment. Watering them every few days is usually enough to keep them happy. If you see any dead leaves or flowers, simply remove them along with any built up dust. Some indoor plant food will provide any additional nutrients your plants require. If you have cats or small children, remember to keep your house plants safely out of reach (hint: cats are especially fond of spider plants).

Other Ways to Care for Your Air

One of the best ways to improve your indoor air quality is to keep your floors and surfaces clean. Dust regularly, don’t leave food or dishes out and about, and open the window if you’re going to use strong-smelling cleaners. Also, book a carpet cleaning or furnace cleaning with AmSteam to see a huge improvement in your home’s air quality. Better air and a beautiful home or office are easier to achieve than you think.

Contact us today!

Fall Grooming Tips for your Dog

 

 

It seems like you have just gotten to a manageable part of spring shedding when the fall shedding begins. Depending on the dog, it may not seem like the shedding even let up at all. Fall shedding is about growing a fuller and thicker coat of hair to prepare for cooler weather. There is hair loss involved, but not as dramatic as what takes place in the spring. Proper grooming will help ensure that your dog’s fall coat is healthy and your house takes a minimum of a hit as possible.

Keep that Brush Handy

Regular brushing will help ensure that your dog’s hair remains clean and more manageable. As spring hair falls out and a thicker coat grows in, it becomes easier for thick or long haired dogs to get matted coats. It is also surprisingly easy for dust, small debris and even insects to become caught up in their fur. Regular brushing will not only keep this down to a minimum, it also gives your dog a shiny, healthier look by removing any dead and loose hair. As always, brushing also helps to keep excess dog hair from floating around your home.

Review your Shampoo

During the summertime, your pet’s shampoo is focused on a lighter scent for a thinner coat. As your dog’s hair becomes longer and thicker for winter, the same pet shampoo will not have the same results. Your dog will take longer to dry and will require a larger amount of shampoo. A light summery scent will no longer suffice. Much like their humans, winter also means dry skin for dogs. Switch to a shampoo that will penetrate a thicker coat but still clean as effectively. It needs to be easy to wash with but still easy to rinse out. Not all pet washes are created equally; with a bit of trial and error, you will find a shampoo that works best with your pet’s winter coat.

Change your brush

At this time of the year, your grooming technique for your dogs is geared more towards maintenance and cleanliness. Yes you are removing old and dead hair, but you are also focusing on keeping the incoming winter coat fresh, clean and detangled. The hair removal brush you use in the spring and summer is not necessary in the fall. Switch from a shedding brush to a grooming brush.

Fall grooming for your dog is a much simpler process then what you will go through in the spring. Your focus during the fall should be on keeping your pet’s new and thicker coat of hair as clean and detangled as possible. Your pet will look better and have a healthier coat. Your home will be cleaner with less dirt and excess hair to contend with.

At AmSteam, we hope that all the members of your home, whether they have two legs or four, have a smooth transition as everybody prepares for the cooler seasons ahead.

Contact us today!

Five Quick and Easy Back to School Lunch Ideas!

It’s hard to believe it, but summer vacation is nearly over, and the kids are soon going back for another school year. Here are five easy back to school lunch ideas that will make your life much easier.

  1. Pack the Night Before

Getting the kids ready for school in the morning can be a hectic and stressful time, especially if you’re a working parent. That’s why it’s good to get in the habit of packing the kids’ lunches the night before so that you have one less thing to do in the morning as you try and make sure the your kids are dressed, fed, and prepared for school.

  1. Give ‘Em Leftovers

Don’t have time to make sandwiches? Give the kids leftovers for lunch. If you’re cooking dinner, it’s easy to just make a little extra to send the kids to school with the next day. Just stock up on re-sealable, microwavable containers, and you’re good to go! Not only will you save on time, but you’ll also be sending your kids to school with tasty home-cooked meals, which might otherwise go to waste.

  1. Healthy Food on the Go

Nutritious eating is incredibly important to a child’s education, as it improves concentration, focus, and the ability to retain information. And, as children burn a lot of energy during the day, it’s important to keep quick and easy foods on hand that they or you can grab in a pinch. Help your children to a better education with healthy food on the go. Stock up your fridge with “smart food” that includes lots of easy-to-grab vegetables, fruits, yogurts and juices.

  1. Go for the Classics

Not sure what to pack the kids for lunch? Go for the all-time classics: mac and cheese, sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, etc.! The great thing about classic foods is that you can be as creative as you need to be, substituting one ingredient for another to ensure that your children’s lunches are delicious and nutritious. Plus, if you’re into using seasonal ingredients to cook, the back to school season is a great time to try out some healthier options of these classic foods, such as butternut squash macaroni and cheese. It’s creamy, delicious, and much healthier than the standard mac n’ cheese. You can add in a bit of extra protein to this dish as well, by adding in some pine nuts (if your school allows nuts) or sunflower seeds.

  1. DIY

DIY lunch boxes are a great way to get your kids eating well at school and having fun in the process. Try packing lunches that include DIY taco kits, pizzas, sandwiches, etc. After all, kids love playing with their food: why not give them the chance? Packing DIY food kits for your children will give them a sense of independence, and have them looking forward to lunch.

Bonus Tip – Themes!

Themed lunches are also a great way to get your kids excited about their food: Mexican Mondays, Thai Tuesdays, Weiner Wednesdays – the sky is the limit!

Contact us today!

How To Keep your Pets Cool this Summer

 

Almost everybody that lives in Alberta loves a hot and sunny day. Patios, parks and backyards are filled with people when the sunshine comes out. Pets are no different. Dogs can be seen sprawled out in the sunshine at any chance they get.

Pets can overheat much sooner than people if they are not given the proper opportunity to cool off. If you are careful that your pets have proper access to ways to keep themselves cool, you will find that they are quite capable of adapting to the day and enjoying themselves as much as the humans around them.

Lots of Water to Drink

Make sure your pets always have access to fresh, clean water. Without it, they can quickly suffer severe dehydration. The hotter the day, the more water they will need. It is not uncommon to place multiple bowls of water outside if you are not able to refill one regularly. If you are traveling away from home, bring adequate water and a suitable container for them to drink from. Do not assume that they will have access to water on the road or at the destination.

Lots of Access to Shade

Shade is imperative. When your pet begins to feel uncomfortable, they will instinctively seek shade. They will rotate between the sun and shade as needed to regulate their temperature. Be mindful of the type of pet you have and their individual requirements. Dogs with multiple layers of hair can become overheated quickly on a day that humans would not consider hot.

If you do not have natural shade in your backyard, give your pet access to an air conditioned house or erect a structure that gives enough shade for them to rest in. Sometimes even moving your pet to a higher area that has a breeze or some sort of air flow will give them the relief they are looking for.

If you have an indoor pet like a fish or hamster, keep the cage or aquarium out of direct sunlight.

Kiddie Pools

Cheap plastic kiddie play pools are a great way for dogs and other larger pets to cool down. If going to the lake is not an option, bring the lake to them. Not only is it a great way to relax, it is also a lot of fun for both owners and pets. Purchase the cheaper pools as more energetic dogs might damage them before the summer is over.

Stay off of Hot Decks and Patios

On a hot day, a deck or patio floor will heat up very fast. It can cause burns to sensitive feet and paw pads. It is important to keep a very close eye on your pets during a heat wave. If they seem distresed or dehydrated but refuse to come up on the patio or porch to drink, it may be because they are not able too. Also watch when they are on the porch to see if they are constantly lifting their paws. If you feed t them on the porch, move their food and water to a cooler location.

No Vehicles!

Never leave your pet in a vehicle. Even with the air conditioning running, it only takes moments for a vehicle to become a deadly furnace. A quick trip inside a store can result in agony for your pet if you leave it in the car on a hot day.

By making sure your pet has their necessities looked after, everybody can enjoy a fantastic hot day in the sun. At AmSteam, we care about the care of everybody in household as much as we care about the home itself. Talk to our friendly staff about simple ways to ensure that your carpet is clean, safe and enjoyable for everyone in the household – including the four-footed family members.

Contact us today!

Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh and Clean

Whether you have kids, pets, or a significant other who doesn’t understand the concept of putting those smelly socks in the hamper, keeping your home smelling as fresh and clean can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a few techniques you can apply to help make your home—or apartment—smell fresh and clean year-round.

Do away with the smelly

The first tip to keeping your home smelling nice is to kick those smelly things to the curb—literally. Check your garbage disposal, take your garbage out, make sure those litter boxes are clean, and put that laundry in a hamper. This is especially important if you live in an apartment where there isn’t as much space for smells to dissipate. You’ll also want to check on things like drains, fridges, washing machines, and the dishwasher. Some appliances have been known to hold onto smells, so make sure you are treating those appliances appropriately.

Freshen that air

Using air fresheners can help send a nice smell through your home—but make sure you like the smell before you decide to put them all over your home. You can clip car air fresheners onto the air vents to send the scent throughout your home, or you can put them in strategic locations—like in the bathroom, by the garbage, or by the litter box. Placing scented candles around your home can have a similar effect, and can add a bit more décor to your home, although you can always tuck an air freshener into a nice jar or vase to add a bit more of a decorative touch to your air freshening. And don’t forget those dryer sheets—placing them in linen closets and anywhere else you store bedding and clothing can keep things smelling fresh instead of acquiring that musk from sitting too long. Dryer sheets also work well on shoe odors, so feel free to tuck those sheets into those smelly shoes to help freshen your home, too.

If you don’t like those store-bought fragrances, however, there are more natural ways to freshen the air in your home. For instance, indoor plants will actually help to filter your air, and some flowered plants can introduce a nice, natural fragrance—just be sure to allergy check that plant before you let it waft through your home. You can also add citrus slices and herbs to a pot of simmering water to add a nice aroma to the ambiance of your home.

Deodorize

If you have pets or kids, your furniture can get downright smelly. Spraying them down (the furniture, not the pets and kids. Please don’t spray your pets and kids…) with a deodorizer from time to time can help keep everything smelling clean and fresh. For a natural recipe, combine baking soda and water with a few drops of your favourite essential oil to create a deodorizing spray that is as healthy as it is effective. Using this mixture on your mattress from time to time can help keep it smelling as clean and fresh as the sheets you put on it.

Clean those carpets

Carpets tend to hold onto dirt a little more tightly than hardwood floors do, and this can add some unwanted smells to your home. Steam Cleaning carpets can work wonders to bring a fresh scent into the home, and if you are hesitant about doing the grunt work yourself, call a carpet cleaning company like AmSteam today to clean the stink out of those carpets so your house can get back to smelling great.

Contact us today!

Driveway and Decks: Cleaning Tips and Tricks | Edmonton

Summary: Here are some helpful tips and tricks for cleaning your driveway and deck, according to their building materials.

The most common tool for cleaning decks and driveways is a pressure washer, but depending on the material your driveway or deck is made of, you will have to employ different techniques and settings. Let’s go over the most common materials and how to clean them.

  1. Concrete

In order to clean those tougher messes caused by things like paint or tire marks, you need a pressure washer capable of at least 3000 PSI. You also need at least 4 gallons a minute of pressure to work with. If you encounter a really tough mess, most professionals recommend tackling it with hot water as opposed to cold – but not all retail pressure washers are designed to use hot water, so you’ll have to look into that beforehand. If you can’t use hot water, consider presoaking the area with a detergent first. You should consider sealing your concrete to prevent nasty stains from setting in, or mold and mildew growing in it. If you have an oil spill, a good first response tip is to pour some kitty litter on it to absorb the bulk of the spill quickly.

  1. Asphalt

Asphalt is more delicate and porous than concrete, which makes pressure washing difficult and removing oil stains harder. Your first action for cleaning your asphalt driveway should be to scrub it with a mixture of detergent and water and use a stiff-bristled push broom. Once thoroughly scrubbed, you can let the mixture sit temporarily before rinsing it off with an average garden hose. If there are still oil stains remaining, you can pressure wash in a spot-clean manner, but you have to do it at a much lower pressure than you would concrete, or you’ll risk gouging and pitting the surface.

  1. Decks

You can pressure wash your deck with a fan tip and a setting around 500 PSI, but you should always do a test spot first, and ONLY if your deck is in good shape. You must pressure wash with the grain or you will damage the wood, particularly if it’s a softer wood. Washing against the grain will cause burrs on the surface by lifting the grain. This can result in a rough surface that scratches skin, snags clothing or gives off splinters. You can make a good deck wash by mixing 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of non-bleach laundry detergent (other recipes here). Wet the deck first and then apply the solution liberally and scrub with a softer bristled deck brush (push broom). If you are dealing with mold or mildew on your wood, mix ¾ cup of oxygenated bleach into the solution too. Rinse thoroughly with a regular garden hose.

When using an at-home pressure washer (not a commercial one) make sure to review the tools limitations and recommendations. Never use it in a way that is not recommended by the product manufacturer as it can result injury, destruction of the tool, or damage to what you are cleaning.

Now that your deck and driveway look so nice, why not give your indoor carpets some attention too? For a professional, affordable carpet cleaning, contact us today.

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