How to Select A Carpet Cleaning Company
The following information comes from an article listed on IICRC.org, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. This information is helpful when deciding which company should handle your carpet cleaning needs.
“Cleaning Carpet Can Be a Dirty Business” “Not All Scum Is In the Carpet” “Don’t Let them Pull The Rug Out From Under You” “Clean Your Carpets Without Cleaning Out Your Wallet” “Don’t Get Taken To The Cleaners.” These clever phrases have appeared recently in newspaper articles and televised news programs across the nation warning consumers about carpet cleaning scam operations. The media has related horror stories of trusting consumers who have responded to low-price carpet cleaning specials only to become victims of unethical cleaners who refuse to honor the advertised price, intimidate the consumers and do poor quality work.
Bait-and-switch operators are prevalent in many industries, and the carpet cleaning industry is no exception. This does not mean that all carpet cleaners are rip-off artists. How do you know who is and who is not? The professional carpet cleaning industry has cited these scam activities as a major industry concern and is taking action to help eliminate unprofessional workmanship and unethical tactics. One of the leaders in this campaign is the IICRC, an international, non-profit organization that certifies cleaners who meet prescribed levels of technical proficiency and pledge to operate by a Code of Ethics.
To help educate consumers so they will not become victims of fraudulent practices within the cleaning industry, the IICRC has released a list of guidelines to consider when selecting a carpet cleaner.
- Price – If an advertised price sounds too good to be true – it is! Often carpet cleaners advertise a low price just to get their foot in the door. Use common sense; a low price usually equates to low quality for any product or service. Legitimate business people have expenses they must cover, including license, taxes, insurance, employee wages, and benefits, and quality tools of the trade. A professional carpet cleaner who must cover all of these business expenses and make a profit to stay in the business cannot afford to drive to your house for $5.95, much less clean a room of carpet when there.
- Quality – Never should the price of cleaning services be the sole criterion for selecting a carpet cleaner. A price that sounds high may not be a signal of a rip-off. In all professions, quality work deserves a quality price.
- Truth in Advertising – Read the fine print in advertised specials to find out exactly what the price includes, and request a firm price in writing before the work begins.
- Training – Professional cleaning firms require management and employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning disciplines, and these educational efforts will be ongoing. Consumers should ask about the formal training background of technicians who will be cleaning their carpet.
- Certification – Professional firms require technicians who have certification from organizations like the IICRC or through comparable franchise or independent training and testing organizations.
- Experience – The years of experience a firm has, combined with formal training programs, contribute significantly to the experience and proficiency of its employees.
- Knowledgeable – Professional firms employ and train technicians who have the ability to answer basic questions regarding carpet performance and maintenance, as well as spotting and cleaning.
- References – Consumers should ask for references from previous customers, and they should consult friends and business acquaintances about the reputation of the cleaning firm they are considering. Do not hesitate to call the Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau.
- Trade Associations – Professional cleaning firms are members of regional or national trade associations or other organizations that promote high ethical standards and continuing education. Look for trade association logos in advertising.
- Credibility – Community involvement through the Chamber of Commerce and/or professional business, charitable or similar organizations will be undertaken by concerned, caring professionals. Look for logos indicating involvement in these organizations.
- Method – Ask the cleaner which method of cleaning will be used and the advantages and disadvantages of this method compared to other methods.
- Proof – Never hesitate to ask for proof. Ask to see the cleaner’s certification card, business license and insurance certificate.
- No Pressure – Technicians must be courteous and willing to take the time to thoroughly explain the cleaning and to answer all questions. The consumer should never feel pressured.
There is no single criterion for selecting a carpet cleaning service. Several combined factors must be considered in the selection decision.
What Does Water Restoration Really Cost
When a customer has a water loss, they are often overcome with emotions. One of the biggest concerns is how much the loss or damage will cost. Typically we can't answer that question over the phone due to many unforeseen circumstances. This article found on home.costhelper.com/water-damage helps to shed some light on this difficult subject. Our team of professionals will be able to assist in restoration of any water damage, anytime, day or night. Give us a call today with any questions you might have. As always, coverage for a loss under an insurance claim would be determined by your insurance company's assigned adjuster.
Water or excess moisture can harm a home and its contents, and cleanup should be started as soon as possible.
- The cost of water damage restoration is based on several factors. These include the size of the affected area, the extent of the damage, the materials and water type. There are three categories -- the least expensive to clean up is category 1, which is clean water from a faucet or supply pipe. Category 2 is gray wastewater with minor contaminants, such as overflow from a dishwasher or washing machine. Category 3 is black water, containing sewage or other toxic debris.
- Fixing a small area of water damage in a ceiling due to a leaky roof can be $100-$300 to patch the sheet rock, or $30-$50 for do-it-yourself materials -- not including the cost of fixing the roof and repainting the ceiling.
- Drying a flooded basement can cost $500-$10,000 or more, depending on the size of the basement, the depth of the flooding and the water type (clean, gray wastewater or black/toxic). Depending on where the appliance is located in the house, cleaning up after a faulty water heater, washing machine, dishwasher or air conditioner averages about $5,000, according to HomeOwnerNet.com .
- Damage from a burst water pipe can cost $5,000-$70,000 or more with an average insurance claim costing $15,000.
- If an entire house is flooded with storm water, the National Flood Insurance Program provides a flood damage simulator to predict the total cost based on the height of the water. For 1-4 inches of water, the estimated cost is $7,800. For 9-12 inches, the estimate is$18,930. At 18 inches, the estimated cost is $26,285..
- Water damage might be covered by insurance. Flood insurance typically covers damage from a natural disaster, when outside water or mud overflows an otherwise dry house. Homeowners insurance does not cover floods, but may cover water damage caused by minor individualized disasters, such as a hailstorm smashing a window or a broken water pipe spewing water -- as long as the problem wasn't caused by a lack of standard maintenance.
Water Damage is Bad for Your Health and Your Business!
Businesses throughout the Orlando area are constantly effected by the environments around them. The elements can wreak havoc on the interior of businesses under the best circumstances. Plumbing malfunctions, damage to the structure, or the risk of fire can put a dent in your business plans for the day and cost you a lot of money. Then there are the lingering hazards that now can grow from these damages.
Let’s talk about carpet. Standing water and carpets just do not mix. The fabric can be destroyed, it can accelerate the growth of mold and fungi and it can trap hazards within the fibers as the water evaporates or recedes. If carpets are left untreated you may have to replace all the carpet, and not to mention what it will do to the floor below. Water in the floor, depending on the type of floor can warp, weaken, or allow for a collapse to occur more frequently.
Water in or on walls can knock sections of the building out of commission. If water happens to settle in the walls it will damage the fibers of the wall and create a breeding ground for microbial growth. Mold and fungi love warm, dark, wet environments to breed in. Opening up the walls and getting a dehumidifier near the areas to help dry the water keeps the problem from spreading.
Furniture and chairs are usually multi problem areas. Desks often made of wood soak up water. Desks are usually covered in papers and important items which water often destroys if left untreated. SERVPRO can salvage your papers using a freeze dry method of extracting water. Placing fans and dehumidifiers near water soaked desks can keep you from replacing them. Desk chairs which are often fiber based exterior with soft cushion material inside soak up water and anything in the water. Again all these normal office pieces of furniture can be salvaged if time and skill are used to the utmost.
Keep in mind, time plus water equals money. The longer you wait, the longer the water soaks in and does damage, the more it costs you in the end.
Steps Involved in Removing Mold
Have you ever wondered what happens when a mold removal specialist gets called to a mold-damaged facility?
Here are five steps that a mold removal specialist takes when conducting mold remediation:
1. Determine the degree of contamination. To do so, a mold remediation specialist may need to bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to determine the extent of the mold damage and test for contamination within the facility. Because mold spores and other microscopic contaminants can travel easily throughout a building, the IEP may collect and analyze samples from affected and unaffected areas of the building. Once the IEP has finished the inspection, they will develop a remediation plan for the mold removal specialist with steps to return the home and/or business to its preloss condition.
2. Set up and verify containment. To make sure mold contamination does not spread to other areas of a facility, the mold remediation specialist will set up containment by creating isolation barriers. Once the barriers are established, the specialist will verify containment with a lower partial pressure differential (negative pressure) to ensure there is no air leakage between containment zones. Exit chambers are used to serve as a transition between the containment and the unaffected area of the building. Once the containment is verified and the correct amount of pressure is achieved, the removal process can begin.
3. Remove unsalvageable materials. Porous materials and items that cannot be restored or cleaned effectively must be carefully discarded. Unsalvageable items include, but are not limited to, drywall, insulation and other items with visible mold growth. It is important for the specialist to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment which may include a full face respirator equipped with a P100/OV cartridge, disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves.
4. Clean surfaces with a high-attention to detail. A mold remediation specialist will likely begin the cleaning process by thoroughly vacuuming the contaminated areas using a HEPA vacuum with a high-efficiency filter to catch mold spores. He or she will then begin a detailed cleaning process involving mold removal tools such as a HEPA filtered sander, followed by the damp wiping of surfaces with an effective cleaning solution. 5. Verify remediation. Once cleaning is complete, the IEP will return to verify the remediation was successful. The area must be returned to the dry standard and should be visually dust free with no malodors. In addition, an IEP may perform surface or air sampling as part of the verification that the area is back to normal fungal ecology.
“Mold remediation requires mold removal specialists to perform techniques that promote source removal rather than relying on chemicals, paints and coatings as a replacement,” said Rachel Adams, President of Indoor Environmental Management, Inc. “Understanding and managing air flow is also critical to the success of a mold remediation project. Working with qualified IEP can also help to reduce the liability for the technician as well as provide a final determination if the remediation was successful.”
What Do Do If You Have A Sewage Leak
It’s late at night. The rain has been coming down for what seems like hours. Your toilet is flushed as lightning splits the sky, and suddenly you have sewage backing up in your home, onto your carpet, under your floors. This is not a dream….This is a NIGHTMARE! This is actually a reality for some. Half awake, dealing with an emergency what are you going to do? What can we salvage? What is safe to touch? First thing is first, sewage can be very dangerous. The most common negative factor in sewage is hepatitis B. This little thing can remain outside a living body for up to 50 days and cause a host of health issues. So the cleaning of your home or office must be done right, and done fast.
There are many items that can be cleaned by a professional from a sewage loss. Here is a Short list of what cannot be saved:
Some Electronics – Depending on the type and how far the contamination went down into the item will come into play. You cannot wipe off just the outside and say it is good to go. If sewage comes in contact with a power cord or a small transfer box it should be replaced. If the item is not replaced the contamination will fester inside and could cause a major fire hazard. This is a very serious issue that should be handled by a professional.
Soft Goods/Certain Textiles – Some can be cleaned depending on the material make, age and contamination level. Certain items like pillows or stuffed animals will need to be dissembled, filling removed, exterior cleaned and put back together with clean materials.
Engineered Wood/ Press wood - Any wood item that has been modified where contamination has come in contact with an unfinished surface cannot be cleaned. This is due to the many cavities that pressboard and engineered wood have. Natural/Solid wood can be treated and sanded to remove the affected areas, then re-stained to match existing colors.
Carpet/Pad – If at any time there was sewage that soaked through to the carpet or pad, the area must be removed! There is no way to guarantee that the carpet and pad are fully decontaminated.
If there are any questions, Please call your local SERVPRO and we will help.
Hurricane IRMA-Destruction in Central Florida
Hurricane Irma swept through Central Florida causing devastation on many levels. We were fortunate enough to not have the maximum amount of damage forecasted, but that doesn’t mean that the damage wasn’t enough to hurt.
As a restoration company, we received THOUSANDS of phone calls. In general, people know that they need to call a company like ours for help after a natural disaster like Irma. We actually received some phone calls before the storm hit, because people understood the need to be prepared. With everything going on, there are some things that go unnoticed, and as I write this, I find the need to share those things. They are important because they truly show the spirit of our company.
Before the storm hit we had a plan in place that would allow us to help as many people as possible, as fast as possible. We are a 24/7 service company for emergency service, but typically, after 5:00 in the evening and until 8:00 in the morning, we have our calls answered by a service. That way we can allow our staff time to sleep! We knew though, that we needed to have someone on staff answering the phones once the storm hit, because they would be the best ones to answer questions, offer some hope, and get people in line for service. We had two employees that agreed to do this. They tirelessly answered calls for days.
Because we are part of a national system of franchises, SERVPRO corporate called in the cavalry to assist the local franchises. Once each local office was at their limit, we could easily dispatch out one of our sister franchises. That allowed us to get someone out as soon as possible, instead of having to turn people away or wait for weeks for service. There were franchises from all over the country that came in to help, many of them even came directly from helping in Texas after Harvey.
From a business standpoint, right after a storm is a time for restoration companies to make money. What I found interesting though, was that instead of sending people out to try to secure the biggest jobs, Scott Tracy, the owner of our franchise, was busy making sure that the employee’s families were safe. He even went out and bought additional generators for those families to use so that they wouldn’t have to be without power at their home. He was busy with trying to take care of those around him.
Our office was without power for 9 days. We serviced as many people as possible by working from our General Manager’s home. Her kitchen table was turned into a mobile office. We could do almost everything we needed to in order to help our customers and get the information to our production team that they needed.
These things all add up to one big picture, our franchise is led by a team of people who CARE, not just about the bottom line of the business, but about the community and their staff. When the next storm hits, remember that a company that cares about their employees will care more about their customers too. SERVPRO is always here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
What to Look for After the Storm is Long Gone
It’s been weeks since we had our brush with Hurricane Irma in Central Florida. How did your home do? Did you have minimal damage? Some missing shingles? Maybe some slight water intrusion from windows? Did you think that you had it all cleaned up but now you are starting to smell something funny? Here are a few things to look for that will help you decided if you have an area that needs to be investigated further by a professional.
- Musty smell-many people report this after there has been a water intrusion in their home or business. If it goes away in a couple days, then it probably isn’t a big issue. If you notice that the smell lingers, and is even a bit stronger in a specific area, this would be a cause for further investigation.
- Water marks that seem to have come out of nowhere. This could be a sign that the area you thought was dry, is actually still wet. Modern building materials can hold water in them for longer periods of time, making it harder to find right away.
- Bulging floors, buckling floors, “squishy” floors, these are all signs of a water intrusion issue. Many times, when your floor is showing those signs, there will be other areas affected also.
- Drywall that is crumbling or bulging. This can be a sign that the drywall was wet at one point, or still is, and that it needs to be checked further.
These are three simple things, but added together they can be a sign that there might be mold growth or even some areas that need proper drying. If you’ve noticed that your home or business is being affected by these or similar things, feel free to give us a call to discuss them. Our team is available to answer questions for you or schedule an inspection. You can reach us at 407-788-3124.
Top Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Mold and Mildew
Proud homeowners who find that they have a mold problem on their hands might be gung-ho about getting rid of the problem on a Do It Yourself (DIY) basis, primarily to save cost. If you happen to fall under this category, do take note that other homeowners in the past who felt the same way have gone through the motions and made the following mistakes to avoid when it comes to removing mold around the home.
Gotta Catch Them All! One of the most common mistakes in cleaning up mold is figuring out that you have gotten rid of the problem for good. After all, for visible mold that you have just wiped clean with a tea tree oil solution, there is probably more from where it came from which remains hidden from your view. After all, mold spores are very small and extremely light in its makeup. This makes it very easy to spread from one particular area of the home to another. A single patch of mold growing in one area of the home is enough signal to perform a thorough inspection of the rest of the house in order to make sure that not a single nook and cranny remains unlooked at.
Bleach is Not the Answer Most people think that bleach, with its cleaning power, is able to do wonders when it comes to getting rid of mold. While bleach is rather effective when it comes to killing and removing mold from hard and non-porous surfaces, it does not get to the root of the problem. In order to make a bleach solution more effective, you should perform a mop up operation using an antimicrobial cleanser.
Fire and Smoke Restoration
The fire trucks may be gone but without proper immediate response, the real damage and the costs are just beginning. To return your residential or commercial property to its normal condition requires professional restoration. This is not the job for a do-it-yourself type of person.
For results you can have confidence in, hiring a certified restoration company would be your best bet. Restoration to a property can be complex. Proper smoke and odor removal are tasks that require technicians certified in these specific areas.
When selecting a certified restoration firm several factors must be considered:
- Formal and up-to-date specialized training
- Health and safety certifications
- Experience in a wide range of restoration projects
- Proof of proper insurance and licenses
In addition to removing residue, ridding your home of its smoky odor is necessary. Professionals use this four-step process to remove odors:
- Remove the source of the odor, as possible, including unsalvageable debris that contributes to odor generation and recontamination of cleaned and deodorized areas.
- Clean salvageable surfaces and items to physically remove odor-causing residue.
- Chase remaining odor with an odor counteract act. In the case of smoke, create a deodorizing fog or gas that seeks out and combines with odor-causing substances.
- Seal salvageable surfaces that are inaccessible or slightly scorched, not only for aesthetic purposes, but primarily to encapsulate odor and prevent progressive recontamination.
Understanding the effects of a fire can help homeowners evaluate the damage to their home. By learning more about residue clean-up and deodorization after a fire, you can minimize the need for costly repair. Fire and smoke restoration experts can help you return your home and furnishings to its normal condition. So I guess you could say it would be “Like it never even happened”.
Odors in Commercial Buildings, the smell of Business in Central Florida...
WHAT IS THAT SMELL? WHERE IS THAT COMING FROM? IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO WORK WITH THAT ODOR! Are you hearing things like that? Or maybe even seeing people new to your office turn up their nose when they walk in? You might have a foul odor and not even know about it. Mildew, mold, even a kitchen spill that might not have received the attention it needed-all of these things can make an office environment less than pleasant, even down-right dangerous to work in.
Mildew is a version of microbial growth, much like mold, that can cause a host of issues to your employees and your customers. Does your assistant suffer from allergies? Do you have more than a few sick calls a week? Is your office filled with items to change the way the office smells? You might be suffering from a growth issue that SERVPRO can take care of.
Kitchen odors, or break room odors as the case may be, can happen over time. Do you have appliances in your break room? A stove, refrigerator, dishwasher? In your home you may clean these area's with more frequency and attention that you might at the office.
The second sense people use after sight is smell. It is part of that first impression that is related to your customers coming into your business. How does yours stand up? Give us a call today, and let us take a look at some potential problem areas for you.