Don’t You Deserve Poison-Free Cleaning?

If you’ve ever sneezed, coughed or gone to bed with a migraine after a long day of cleaning, you won’t be surprised that many household products contain toxic chemicals. You’ll find them in cleansers and disinfectants, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, air fresheners – and lots of other sources we use on a daily basis.

Product labels will give you “safe handling” procedures, and you would be wise to follow any precautions they give you. Also, wear plastic gloves to protect your skin and allow for plenty of fresh air (open a window or door) while you’re using them, and by all means keep them out of reach of children and pets.

Better yet, many cleaning chores can be performed with simple and safe products. For example:

•Baking soda can be used to clean and polish aluminum, chrome, jewelry, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel and tin; deodorize refrigerators, carpets and drains; extinguish grease fires; soften fabrics; and remove stains.

•Cornstarch can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs and starch clothes.

•Lemon juice can be used to clean glass and remove stains from aluminum, clothes and porcelain.

•Vinegar can dissolve mineral deposits and grease; remove traces of soap, mildew or wax buildup; clean brick or stone; polish some metals; shine windows without streaking; clean coffee pots; and deodorize.

•Borax can deodorize, inhibit the growth of mildew, boost the cleaning power of soap or detergent, remove stains and can be used with attractants such as sugar to kill cockroaches.

•Isopropyl alcohol serves as a good disinfectant.

Using fewer cleaning chemicals is one way to help prevent indoor air pollution. Give us a call to perform a free indoor air quality inspection and we’ll show you other preventions and how filtration and other new innovations can protect the air your family breathes.

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Is Your House Breeding Germs?

It most likely is, and where will you find the most germs in your household? They could be in the places you least expect. There are hotspots all over your house, including these areas:

•Commodes: Flushes of the commode can send germs airborne and onto the surrounding areas, settling on various surfaces in the bathroom. So close the lid before flushing.

•Toothbrush and Holder: Protect your toothbrush from commode flushes and other germ transfers. For example, if you use a toothbrush holder for several family members, don’t let the toothbrushes touch each other. Replace brushes every few months to limit the consumption of germs and have a healthier smile!

•Contact Lens Case: These can be breeding grounds for germs that cause both major and minor eye infections. Rinse your case in hot water after use and replace the case every three months.

•Laundry: A load of laundry can be loaded with germs and bacteria from undergarments and other clothing, as well as towels and linens. The hotter the water, the better chance to kill the germs. Add laundry disinfectant when loads at lower temps are necessary. Also, move clean clothes straight to the dryer because the dampness from the wash can breed bacterial growth.

•Beds: Dust mites are microscopic creatures that commonly take up residence in your bed. Wash linens and pillows regularly and in hot water to kill germs.

•Computer Keyboard: The computer keyboard sees quite a bit of our hand activity. Wash your hands before and after using your computer, and use alcohol or bleach wipes to keep it disinfected.

Start following the tips above and protect yourself and your family from germs.

7 Things to Know when Buing a New or Resale Home

Things are often not thought of until it’s too late…or they are learned through bad, uncomfortable and often expensive experiences.

1. Find out more about your home inspector first. General purpose home inspectors do not typically thoroughly inspect and test heating and cooling systems. This is due to their lack of knowledge, lack of testing equipment, and/or not getting paid enough to do an adequate job.

2. If you really want to know the condition of the house you’re planning on purchasing have a licensed contractor(s) inspect it for you. Hire a NATE certified heating & cooling contractor, a licensed electrician, plumber and/or other specialists. Be cautious when REALTORS suggest specific inspectors as there may be a conflict of interest involved.

3. Unless there is a lender requirement to do so THE SELLER SHOULD NEVER be the party to replace or add a heating and/or air conditioning system due to their condition. They buyer or new owner should be the one who adds to or replaces any significant part of the heating, cooling and/or indoor air quality system(s). Selecting a new or replacement system is not simple and should be selected by the family moving into the house. It’s the buyer’s family who will be living in the house after the seller moves out thus leaving any problems behind. The buyer should develop a relationship with a heating/cooling contractor as the buyer will need maintenance and service help during future years.

4. When owners/sellers sell their homes they very seldom educate the new owner regarding the heating/cooling systems. The sellers just want to get away leaving any problems and knowledge for the buyers to discover on their own. This is tragic! Buyers should insert language in their offer to purchase which requires the seller to educate the buyer regarding all heating/cooling, electrical and plumbing systems. This should include turning over all documentation which goes with the heating, cooling and hot water systems etc. A list of all contractors who have worked on these systems over the last five years would be provided. A certification that the proper building permits have been obtained for the replacement of any of these systems should be provided.

5. Note for Remodelers. When basements are finished there should be enough room left around the heating, cooling and water heater systems to permit easy access for maintenance. For example, by code, there must be at least 30 inches (more is better) of clear access in front of any furnace etc. Much additional space will be needed for the future additions of high efficiency air cleaners, humidifiers, zoning, heat recovery ventilators and/or another water heater etc. Stay away from homes with furnaces/heaters in crawl spaces or roof truss type attics because heating/cooling equipment in those spaces is usually very difficult or impossible to properly maintain. See the “NO-NO Locations for Mechanical Equipment” list.

6. After you move in don’t wait until you have a problem with your heating, cooling, hot water or electrical systems to call for help. If you have not already done so develop a relationship with reliable contractors BEFORE you need help. Have those contractors inspect and service your systems soon after you move in. Then they will be familiar with your systems so as to be able to give you outstanding service when needed. The worst way to have to find help is by looking in the yellow pages when you have an emergency.

7. Houses and their internal systems are much more complicated than they used to be. Therefore; all of the technicians working on these systems need to be better educated and smarter than ever. Look for experience and NATE certification in heating and air conditioning professionals to get competent service and help when you need it. AND expect to pay between $225.00 and $450.00 or more per hour for competent contractor help in your home. The average high quality home service call may be in the $500.00+ range in the Denver area.

Do I Need A Humidifier

Do I Need A Humidifier?

During the winter, the air in many homes has less humidity than it would normally.  Dry air can damage furniture (especially wood furniture), wood floors and sensitive musical instruments. It can also cause dry, itchy skin and irritated throats and eyes.  Basically dehydration of the body.  A lack of moisture in the air is also responsible for the stining static shocks that happen when you touch something. Humidifiers help fight the negative effects of dry air by producing moisture in your house. This moisture keeps your nasal passages and throat from drying out.  If you’re always coughing and congested it’s probably a good idea to install a humidifier in your home.  Talk to your local humidifier dealer if you have any questions.

Am I able to install a Humidifier in My Home?

If you have a furnace or boiler you should be able to install a humidifier.  When you have a furnace the humidifier uses your existing furnace and ductwork to deliver humidity to the entire house. Also, something to keep in mind is that humidifying a house which is heated with a boiler is more difficult than with a furnace.

Which Humidifier Should I Get?

There are many different types of humidifiers.  We recommend talking to your local dealer about what humidifier would be the best fit for you.

Be Smart, Be Healthy

Colder months bring in the warmth of family gatherings but also add stress and increase susceptibility to illness. Make plans now to follow healthy practices this winter, including these areas:

Illnesses
Colds are common – not necessarily because of temperature, but because people spend more time indoors. Good nutrition, enough sleep and exercise will help build natural resistance.

Stress
Holidays bring on over-commitment and over-spending. To keep the season from taking a toll on your health, we advise:

•Balance work, home and play
•Practice time management
•Do relaxation exercises
•Keep a relaxed and positive outlook