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5 signs it’s time to clean carpets and ducts

Seattle-area residents are known for living “green” lifestyles, striving to use cleaning products that leave a minimal environmental footprint and that don’t worsen allergies or medical conditions. But even the most diligent homeowners don’t always know how to recognize signs that a home needs serious duct or carpet cleaning rather than the usual once-over with off-the-shelf cleaning products.

“Many people in this region have pets and allergies, and more homeowners here are investing in air conditioning systems as summers heat up, which increases the risk of mold,” says Eric Moe, owner of Alpine Specialty Cleaning, a family-run business that has been cleaning homes around Seattle since 1969. “Without proper cleaning, these homes run the risk of accumulating and recirculating dirty air in ducts and developing unhealthy carpet conditions.”

As more homeowners use their forced-air heating system for heat in winter and to fan air in summer – or to circulate cooled air from an air conditioning unit – these ducts are in service all four seasons, Moe notes.

 

Is it time for a deep cleaning? Here are five signs.

 

  • Your home was built energy-efficient. Energy-efficient homes are sealed tighter than most homes, meaning air recirculates more frequently than in traditional-built homes. This makes duct cleaning more important, as a tightly sealed home with pets, kids or lots of wall-to-wall carpet may accumulate dust, mold or smells faster than in a home where outside air can leak inside more easily.

 

  • Carpets have black lines around their edges, matted fibers or numerous visible stains. If your carpet has black lines around its perimeter or where the carpet hits doorways, that means dirt is infiltrating through gaps in walls, beneath doors, or due to broken screens. Matted fiber may result from soil buildup. Heavy stains need treating for removal.

 

  • Dust has accumulated. If you clean and dust regularly but dust persists, it may be living in ducts and carpets that need a thorough cleaning. Additionally, if you need to frequently change furnace air filters because of dust or other accumulation, that may be a sign your ducts are dirty.

 

  • You’ve got allergies or respiratory health issues. If you’ve got asthma or other respiratory health conditions, or if you’re allergic to common substances like pollen, pet hair or other airborne particles, keeping carpets and ducts professionally cleaned can reduce exposure to irritants at home.

 

 

  • It smells! Smells may be a sign of mold, moisture problems, or soaked-in stains that need professional cleaning.

 

How often should you clean carpets? Moe says that most homeowners need professional carpet cleaning at least annually _ as often as every 6 months if pets, crawling babies or toddlers, or allergies or respiratory sensitivities are present.

Ducts typically need thorough cleaning every two to three years, but again, a more frequent cleaning may be necessary if pet hair or the above factors are present in the house. Moe encourages those in the market for a duct cleaner to carefully vet the outfit they hire, making sure that like Alpine Specialty Cleaning the company is certified by NADCA, a duct-cleaning association that holds member companies to rigorous standards.

“Most people clean their ducts first, then turn to their carpets,” he says. “September is typically our busiest month, as people prepare for fall when heating systems are turned on and rain begins. But you can clean carpets and ducts any time of year – they’re year-round systems, especially ducts which carry air for both heat, fans, and air conditioning.”

 

Alpine Specialty Cleaning was founded in the Seattle area in 1969 by Maurice Moe. Eric Moe and his wife, Bobbie, continue the “Tradition of Quality” and “5 Star Experience” that Alpine has been known for over the years. 

We Love Generation Z

What does generation Z want from the businesses they choose?

 Generation Z – those born after 1995 – are growing into the position of most-sought-after consumers, with $44 billion dollars in buying power already. So what does this new generation want from the businesses they choose?

Internet Presence

GenZ has grown up in an online society; their first means of discovering something new is seeing it online, in an ad, on social media, in a blog. They are used to being able to click away to something that better meets their requirements quickly, so businesses need to grab their attention in 8 seconds or less. This is not about a short attention span as much as it is that they have had to learn to filter enormous amounts of information. Once their attention is caught, they can be incredibly focused. Your company internet presence needs to have high-value information to avoid being filtered out.

GenZ is used to ordering and paying for things online. They want to have a variety of ways to pay for services and goods available right on your website, and they expect that process to be seamless and efficient.

Good Value

GenZ is very careful with money. Even at their young age, they are saving, planning for retirement, and carefully choosing what they spend their money. They grew up in a recession, and have seen their parents and families struggle with money. They expect good quality and high value, and they have strongly negative reactions if something breaks or goes wrong. They avoid debt and try to keep risks low.

They avoid debt and try to keep risks low. They do research before making purchases. They look at online reviews, they check with friends, they ask about companies and products on social media. They expect good quality, high value, and have strongly negative reactions if something breaks or goes wrong.

Customized Products and Service

GenZ seeks individuality and being able to make something “theirs”, so they look for the ability to customize or personalize what they get. They want to have options from which to choose and to have the feeling that what they are getting was specialized just for them.

They want interactivity and responsiveness from their businesses. They expect a business to be loyal to them, as the customer; if they don’t sense that, they won’t have loyalty to the business and will move on. As the first generation that has grown up connected, they are well aware there are always other options if they are unhappy.

Speed

GenZ is used to quick gratification – remember the ‘one click away to something better’ mindset? They expect things to be delivered quickly and promptly. They are very impatient with lateness or delays.

They put a very high value on being able to find what they want quickly and easily. If one business’ website is difficult to navigate, slow to load, or has a complicated checkout process, they’ll just go to a different one.

GenZ has many things in common with the generation that grew up in the Great Depression, but with a highly individualistic, high-tech twist. Businesses need to be able to meet the unique needs of the up and coming generation of customers.

 

8 Reasons to choose Alpine Specialty Cleaning

There are more than 8 reasons to use Alpine Specialty Cleaning, but below, we have put together 8 reasons for you to consider Alpine. When choosing any cleaning service, you should consider these variables.

  1. Certified through NADCA, IICRC, and ARCSI.
  2. A continuous A rating from Angie’s List Super Service Awards since 2005.
  3. An A+ Rating with the BBB.
  4. More 5-Star Reviews on Google and Customer Lobby than any other service company.
  5. A local family owned company with experience since 1969.
  6. The only company to offer a private concierge specialist.
  7. Committed to a safe environment by using safe, non-toxic natural cleaning products in homes and workplaces.
  8. Committed to supporting their local community and charities.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning has a sincere commitment to their clients and their community. With all these reasons to use them, why would you consider anyone else? There are plenty of cleaning services out there but most are not certified and recommended by so many.

When you aren’t sure what areas to tackle first, consider Alpine Specialty Cleaning’s private concierge specialist. Their knowledge will help you conquer your clutter and get the job done. Do it all at once or do it a little at a time. Their specialist will design a cleaning plan that fits your needs and your budget.

To view a live feed of customer testimonials, click here. There is nothing better than hearing what real customers have to say about a company.

There is no better time than now to pick up your phone and call Alpine today for a one on one conversation about your cleaning needs.

Those dark lines around your carpet edges are called infiltration

Have you noticed dark lines at the edges of your carpet?

Those dark areas are a sign of infiltration. Infiltration occurs when the air being forced into the room is escaping through small cracks under closed doors and wall frames. When this air is forcing its way through the carpet it is leaving behind small particles and pollutants that will eventually turn the carpet black. Common pollutants include cooking smoke, dust from uncleaned air ducts, and cigarette or candle smoke. Household Tips Guidesays infiltration can occur no matter how much you vacuum It is not a sign of a dirty home, but it will be difficult to clean.

Can infiltration be prevented?

According to The Spruce, changing the furnace or air conditioner filter by the recommended time frame can help. You could also consider sealing the gaps between the wall frames. This is usually done with a foam sealant. If the gap is too large the carpet will be pulled up and then re-installed after sealing. Cutting back on the amount of smoke in your home will also help. Burning fewer candles and smoking outside are steps in the right direction. Finally, having your air ducts professionally cleaned on a regular basis is the best preventative action that you can take.

Can those dark lines be removed?

The particles and pollutants causing the dark lines are very small and if they have become noticeable than it is time to call a professional cleaning company. A cleaning company will have all of the specialty tools and cleaning solutions to get the dark lines out of your carpet. 

Do It Yourself Home Cleaning Tips

Looking for a safe eco-friendly way to clean your home and save some money while doing it? On this article, we’ll be sharing six of the best cleaning tips for the home that will help you clean smarter not harder. These tips will help you have a clean toxin-free home while keeping money in your pocket. These are items that you can find in your kitchen and can be used to efficiently clean your home.

Vinegar

One of the best things to have in your home at all time is Vinegar. This is the most versatile product in the market. This is something that should be in the pantry at all times and it’s inexpensive. You can use vinegar to naturally disinfect surfaces, clean toilets, floors, clean coffee pots, steam clean the microwave, & even restore used paint brushes!

Arm & Hammer

A great way to go green is by switching out your laundry detergent for Arm & Hammer’s washing soda. Like all their products it is Phosphate and fragrance free which is a huge plus! Not only will this help you clean more eco friendly it will help you save money. This is another miracle product that you can also use to clean sinks, bathtubs, grout, and even stainless steel. Yes, I said stainless steel!

Micro Fiber rags

These are great for wiping down surfaces! And the best part about them is that they are reusable. No more unnecessary money on paper towels. Some places even carry rags that are resistant to bacteria. All you have to do to reuse them is to get them into the washer.

Air flow

You always want to keep a good flow of air coming and going throughout your house. Poor air quality leads to dust build up and toxins in the air.

Make your own cleaners

A really good way to make your house cleaning more eco-friendly is to make your own cleaners with everyday things find in your kitchen! Products like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, dish soap, and washing soda will give you great cleaners such as:

Multi-surface cleaner: Empty spray bottle with a 1:1 ratio of water and apple cider vinegar then add a couple drops of pure lemon juice.

Window cleaner: Empty spray bottle filled with water, 1 drop of dish soap (I use Ajax), & 1 tbsp. Of apple cider vinegar.

Floor cleaner: One and a half gallons of water in a bucket, half a cup of vinegar, lavender essential oil.

A lot of eco-friendly moms use these three cleaners all the time, but you can make any cleaner you wish. You could also add essential oils for different scents and smells.

Laundry sponges

We love sharing this tip with people, we think it’s so cool. And it saves you a ton of money on dryer sheets. Buy a pack of four sponges, soak them in halfway in warm water (You want an index card container for this) and a half of a cup of any fabric softener and boom you’re good to go. No seriously, that’s all there is to it! Every time you need a “dryer sheet” grab a sponge out of the water, squeeze it out really good and throw it in the dyer.

What Are the Most Common Health Concerns Caused By Dirty Ductwork?

Indoor air pollution isn’t just what the outside air brings into the home through open doors and windows. The air inside your home or office includes the daily, monthly, and even annual build-up of dirt, airborne bacteria, and broken down debris from every facet of activity within a given building. Indoor air pollution tends to build up in air ducts, on air filters, and all throughout a ventilation system, which is why it’s so critical to regularly clean your air ducts and replace or clean air filters as necessary.

What respiratory problems and other health concerns can be caused by a dirty ventilation system?

  • Allergies: One of the clearest effect of dirty air duct or air filters is an increase in allergies. Dust and mold spores can build up and spread throughout the entirety of a building, and these hazard can increase give it a greater number of people pet and exposure to the elements outside.
  • Respiratory Infections: Viruses and bacteria can easily spread throughout the air even without direct person to person or hand-to-hand contact. Once these germs enter the ventilation system, they can easily grow and spread due to the dark, warm, and generally undisturbed environment. Mold often likes to grow directly on air filters, especially in damp environment near leaks or moist air. This buildup can lead to it penetrating the air filter or being recycled into the air, making respiratory infections are more common and harder to remove the root cause of.
  • Sinus Infections: Even if indoor air pollution is more dirt and debris than it is viruses and bacteria, the buildup of motes and obstructions in the air will come into contact with your nasal passages every time you breathe. This dirt and debris can inflame your sinuses which can lead to an infection even with the most benign of air particles. Having indoor air pollution of any sort can always increase complications with sensitive sinuses.

Whether you’re sensitive to allergies and sinus infections or simply want to breathe clean air in your home or office, regular cleaning of your air filters and ductwork is essential. Please contact us if you have any questions about the best way to make sure that your air is clean or want to learn more about our air duct cleaning process.

Certified air duct cleaning matters

What is NADCA?

NADCA is the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. It is the professional organization for companies engaged in the inspection, cleaning, and restoration of HVAC systems. It provides advocacy, education, certification, standards, and marketing for its members. It maintains an anti-fraud division to uncover and root out both those who falsely claim to be HVAC technicians or vent cleaners, and those vent cleaners who are only pretending to do work.

Why Is That Important?

When done correctly and thoroughly, cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system can be beneficial to your health and to the efficiency of your system. However, there are a lot of scammers who will pretend to do something and leave your system in a mess, or even damage it. When you think about choosing an air vent cleaning company, it is important to find one that is conscientious. But if you are like most people, this is not an area in which you have a lot of experience. How do you find a good provider of cleaning services? That is where NADCA comes in.

Members of NADCA are required to agree with and adhere to professional standards and ethics. Companies that are members of NADCA are required to have at least one NADCA certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (someone who has passed the NADCA Certification Examination) on staff, to maintain liability insurance, and to agree to clean according to NADCA standards and comply with the NADCA Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics includes requirements such as being honest and forthright in advertising, providing only necessary and desired services to their customer and not trying to sell them unnecessary services, staying up to date with equipment and training, and doing thorough work.

The United States Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) recommends using NADCA-certified HVAC professionals.

How Do I Find A Certified Company?

The best way to find out if the vent cleaning agency you are considering is a member of NADCA is to go to their website and use the “Find A Professional” tool. Current members in good standing within a particular distance of your search will be listed.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning is NADCA certified and qualified to provide you with excellent care for your HVAC system.

The Dangers of Residual Animal Urine in Carpets

 

 

If you have ever had a puppy, then you understand that housebreaking can certainly take some time and work. Unfortunately, animals can and will have accidents on floors from time to time, but it is essential that you clean the urine from your carpets immediately in order to avoid some potentially serious effects on your health. Below, you can discover some of the potential damage that animal urine in carpets can cause.

#1 – The Ammonia Odor

The most noticeable effect of animal urine in carpets is the strong smell of ammonia. Although all urine contains some amount of ammonia, it is especially concentrated in cat urine. What’s more, once a pet urinates on the carpet, if it is not cleaned thoroughly – and immediately – the water in the urine evaporates, leaving behind even more concentrated ammonia. This can have a tremendous negative effect on people who have COPD, asthma, or emphysema, and it may even cause allergies.

#2 – The Growth of Bacteria and Other Microorganisms

Most of the bacteria that grows in old pet stains is not particularly dangerous to anyone who has a healthy immune system, but it can become quite bothersome. In otherwise healthy people, the bacteria and microorganisms found in old urine stains may cause sinusitis, watery eyes, allergies, and inflammation of the airways. However, in people who have compromised immune systems, such as very young children, the elderly, or people with immune systems weakened by illness or medication, these bacteria can cause significant health issues.

#3 – The Potential for Dangerous Mold

Although one or two accidents that are cleaned up quickly and efficiently are often not a reason for concern, repeated pet stains or urine that is not immediately and thoroughly cleaned can soak through your carpet into the padding below. The components of the urine attract moisture, and over time, several varieties of mold can begin to grow underneath your carpet. Some of these mold varieties, like penicillium, can cause respiratory symptoms, and a few, such as aspergillus, can cause long-term lung conditions with prolonged exposure.

#4 – The Expense of Replacing a Rotting Subfloor

Finally, it is important to consider the financial expense that animal urine can create. Your carpet padding likely sits directly on your subfloor, which is generally made of wood. Over time, the urine soaks through your carpet and the padding below, and into the subfloor. With repeated pet accidents, the wood becomes more and more saturated and may even begin to rot. As such, it may be necessary to completely remove your carpeting and replace sections of your subfloor in order to combat structural damage to your floors.

Although pets are an important part of millions of lives, cleaning up after them is a responsibility that should never be neglected. Over time, animal urine can cause allergy-like symptoms, strong odors, mold growth, and even structural damage to your home. Aside from immediately cleaning up after your pet, it is important to contact http://www.alpineclean.com at least twice per year to not only clean your carpets, but also evaluate your risks.

Why does my house stink?

The title of this post is a question we are regularly asked. Quite frequently the answer to pic dust pollen moldthe question actually lies underneath of the home. Something many people don’t realize is that approximately fifty percent of the air you breathe on the main floor of your house comes from the crawlspace. This is because of something known as stack effect (a great picture and explanation is available here), which basically means that as the heated air in your home rises and escapes, a vacuum is created that sucks cold air through the crawlspace. (It can also contribute to cold floor syndrome.) As that air circulates into your living area, any odors from rodents, moisture or garbage below could be to blame for your house’s unpleasant aroma.

pic ratAnother source of a home’s bad odor can be the result of crawlspace pest infiltration. Once inside the space, rodents love to nest and tunnel through the home’s insulation. Not only do they destroy the insulation’s R-value by compressing it, but they also soak it in waste creating a very strong odor. If you look underneath your home and see droppings on the vapor barrier, it is a good indicator of infestation and a very likely source of malodor. Removing the soiled insulation and sanitizing the space as part of a crawlspace cleaning job would greatly improve the home’s scent. It should also be noted that rodents sometimes carry dangerous diseases like Hantavirus and King County Public Health Department has indicated that exposure to rodent waste can trigger asthma attacks. If your crawlspace needs cleaning, confirm that the professionals you hire can do the job in a safe and sanitary manner and ensure that they offer rodent exclusion to prevent the rodents from returning to your newly cleaned crawlspace.

In a previous post about insulating for warmth, we explained how most crawlspaces in the Pacific Northwest are vented to the outside of the home. The purpose of the vents is to move air in and out of the crawlspace, however temperature fluctuations can create moisture causing mold, fungus, and other toxins to grow, none of which contributes to a great smell indoors. The moisture can also be particularly problematic for people with mold allergies.

Finally, garbage and debris are often found in crawlspaces and are leftover from the structure’s original construction. This is problematic because it can collect mold and fungus creating its own aromas. Further, garbage and debris are attractive to rodents and wood destroying insects.

Obviously, not all odorous homes can look to the crawl space as the source of the problem. Our homes become unclean from daily activities like cooking, bathing, breathing, washing clothes, pets, trash, and bringing in toxins from outdoors (read about how your shoes could be making you sick in this post). Without regular cleaning and proper ventilation, your home is likely to be a honk. Regularly airing out your home as part of your cleaning routine can help get rid of stale air. Some green cleaning tips for common household smells is available on This Old House.