Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mold License?

 I recently completed the first mold supervisor license course held in Virginia.  I already had my mold certification but the state of VA and a few other states stepped up.  They realize the effects that mold exposure can have on the human body.  Like lead and asbestos, mold now  requires a license to remediate and rightfully so.  Mold is everywhere and it can potentially be toxic in high concentrations, but be careful as everyone reacts differently. Some people may be affected by small amounts of mold, while others may not have any immediate affects.  One thing is for sure: prolonged mold exposure can lead to serious health problems, including death.  Please do not ignore those little leaks that may look like this:

This small roof leak was hidden behind a wall  by the time it was found and remediated it rotted out the roof, wall, and the sill plate; everything was hidden from sight. 

Sure, Doitallwrong Construction can come and fix it, but did they get the mold?  How will you know? After all, you gave the job to the lowest bidder.  Let's hope their workers did not get sick, and if they did, I hope Doitallwrong Construction has insurance.  If not, it is all on you.  This is why you need a licensed mold professional to remediate the problem.

Bottom line, MOLD IS DANGEROUS.  You may not get sick today, but you will get sick.  Mold can be expensive to clean up, and is often not covered under a homeowner's policy.  A Better Image Restorations works with our customers to bring their house back to a safe, healthy environment.  We also have a commitment to our customers: we see most of them once or twice a year to clean carpets, upholstery, tile and more.  During these visits we have seen their families grow and we take pride in the fact that we are trusted to clean their homes.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why do we need a professional to dry our house?

     No matter how much we prepare, it still takes a lot of work to clean up after a storm.  In water damage restoration the work needs to be done right away.  The first 24 hours are the most important, mold can begin to grow within 24-48 hours.  The tough part is that your insurance company cannot get out there fast enough.  Be sure to get authorization to begin emergency drying services from the insurance company and take lots of pictures.  After Hurricane Irene A Better Image Restorations was dispatched to about 15 water losses.  Remediation companies tend to get overwhelmed at this time, but it is important to use a local company or a local franchise.  Storm Chasers, even one's with big names, tend to come in collect your deductible, do the minimum required and leave some equipment.  I have even seen them pick up the equipment before drying was complete because they were "leaving the area."  A local company is more likely to try to make you happy, you may need them again, at least that is our philosophy.
     It is important, if you have a any loss, to consult a professional.  We have been trained for many situations and know what to look for.  For instance a small leak under a window may just be the tip of the iceberg.  I have seen a roof leak go down an exterior wall and drain in to crawlspace, the problem went undetected for years.  A strong storm came in and drove some of the rain into the wall, saturating the drywall in the corner of a window.  I was dispatched to assess the situation and begin the drying process.  One of the first things we learn is to check all adjacent areas, water can travel along rafters before entering the living environment.  Using my moisture meter I found moisture in the whole wall and even the ceiling.   Luckily I could take a look at the ceiling in the attic so I continued my investigation up there.  What I found was very bad, it looked like black mold had taken residence in the attic near the area of a roof leak, which was running down an exterior wall and drain into the crawlspace.  This leak had been going on for a long time and that strong storm was just enough to push it through to the living space.
        Never assume it will just dry out naturally, buildings built since the 1970's have been increasingly energy efficient.  With efficiency in mind we seal up our buildings and take control of the indoor environment.  We can make this a good environment or a bad one, do you know what is good for your home?  That is a post for another day or even another industry for that matter.
     The point is, let the professionals handle the drying.
For all the DIYer's it maybe the last, most costly mistake you ever make.  Would you remediate asbestos or lead?  Mold can be just as dangerous and improper drying will sometimes lead to mold growth.  I am all about DIY projects,  but if you do not know what "psychrometry" means without clicking the link please call a professional for a consultation.

Remember, You have control over who works on/in your home. 
 Insurance companies have a list of preferred vendors, they may not have your best interests in mind.

Friday, July 22, 2011

mold Mold MOLD, It is everywhere!

     I have never done so many mold inspections.  In the last two weeks I have responded to 8 mold jobs, the one thing most people don't realize is mold is bad and bleach does not work.  You see bleach only works on mold if it is on a nonporous, hard surface.  Bleach cannot penetrate into the microscopic areas that the mold's mycelium or "roots" can penetrate.  Special anti fungal cleaning agents are used and containment must be set up, or your whole house could be at risk.
     People often ask why is mold clean up so expensive?  The truth is because it is so dangerous, people can become deathly ill from exposure to mold.  When mold it growing undisturbed it outgases mycotoxins into the air, when it is disturb  it get much worse.  These spores can be breathed in, and your lungs are a great place to land and grow.  When high amounts airborne toxic mold spores are inhaled deep into the lungs they can enter the bloodstream and affect the immune system, nervous system, liver, kidneys, blood and cause brain damage.  It costs about $65/ person/day to outfit them in the appropriate protective gear to clean mold.  Proper containment must be set up and everything leaving the affected area must be decontaminated even the trash.  Most of the costs are associated with the handling and disposing of the materials and the safety of the remediation team.
     With the hot and humid weather upon us, stay vigilant if you can smell a musty smell there may be some mold nearby.  Try to locate it, cover it with plastic, seal it in as best you can and call A Better Image Restorations to come solve your problem.  Remember, bleach will not kill the mold in porous materials like wood, drywall, textiles, and  even countertops.
     Please stay safe and avoid the mold as much as possible, let a professional do it write the first time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What does your carpet cleaner know?

Many people do not realize the training your carpet/ upholstery cleaning technician has gone through before cleaning your carpet/ upholstery.  At least, for your sake I hope they did.  Carpet and upholstery are textiles just like your clothes and linens.  Textile cleaning is a science, and some wrong calculations could spell disaster for your carpets.  Just like your clothes, carpets can be made of different materials and can require different cleaning techniques.  I am a Certified Master Textile Cleaner and have gone through many hours of hands on training by the top cleaners IN THE WORLD!  This training not only includes carpet cleaning but we get in detail about construction techniques and fiber composition, even color correction it is enough to bore you to sleep.  Not me, I love this stuff!  You can read more about me at our website.  See you soon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Time for that summer fun!

     As many children get out of school we find ourselves changing our daily routines.  The house is going to have more traffic, plus it is summertime and we will be outside.  This tempts many people to hold off on the carpet cleaning till after the summer, but this can be a costly mistake, you see dirt is an abrasive, which means it causes tiny scratches to the surface of the carpet fibers.  These scratches do not reflect light quite the same way as a smooth surface would giving your carpet a duller look.  The best thing to do is have your carpets cleaned right before school gets out, and vacuum the heavy traffic areas daily, this will suck up most the loose sharp dirt particles that can damage your carpet.
     If you can see dirt on top of the carpet it is past time to clean the carpets, you see the dirt works it's way down into the fibers and hides, then more dirt deposits on top of that.  After a while you start to see it at the surface, this is past the time to clean and you may be damaging your carpets and shortening the life.  CRISIS CLEANING vs. REGULAR CLEANINGS
    Vacuuming is the single biggest thing you can do to prolong the life of your carpets.  Hot water extracting is the best and safest way to clean carpets with no left over residue to attract dirt.  Be sure your carpet cleaner is certified otherwise you may void your carpet warranty.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cleaning tile, sealing tile and painting grout

A tile floor should be sealed immediately after being installed, grout is porous and can stain easily.

When cleaning your tile floor at home you should use a neutral cleaner and a clean mop and clean water.  Thoroughly rinse the mop in between cleanings.  Remember, if the cleaning water is dirty the mop is too. A good rule is if you cannot see the bottom of the bucket, change the water.  About once a year a professional should come in to steam clean your tile.

Notice how that red grout was not so red anymore.  The color was still there it was just covered up by a caked on layer of dirt and grease.  Using our specialized steam cleaning tile equipment we were able to bring these floors back to life and looking as good as new.



If  you want a change in the grout color.  We can add a pigment to a sealer and change the color.  People will think you got a new floor.  Tile and grout floors should be sealed about every 3-5 years depending on the situation.  High traffic areas need to be done more often then less traveled areas.
BeforeAfter

This floor had gray grout and when the house was renovated the contractor thought the grout was black, after cleaning the floor and removing 50 years of dirt it's true color of gray was discovered.  This did not match the color of the newly installed floor so we were called in to make it all match.
Visit us at our website for more information: A Better Image Restorations

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What have I been up too...

This month has sure been pretty busy.  First we had a Flood at a local university, where a student kicked a hole in the wall and breaking a pipe flooding 3 floors in the dorm building.  Then a fire clean up at an apartment complex that can be messy.  Did you know that smoke and soot are carcinogens.  Fire damages must be cleaned up in the quickest time possible, the soot is acidic and will permanently ruin just about anything.  We have also taken care of a small mold problem that a contractor found while doing some work.  Attention: If you are a contractor and find mold on a job, you must cover it and advise your client to find a professional mold remediation specialist.  Failure to do so will result in future liabilities, do not "fix it" yourself.  If that mold continues to spread you are responsible forever, no waiver can protect you.  Now there is flooding in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach we are going to take our tes trailer and dry out the crawlspace in a house for the 2nd time this year, thank goodness she has flood insurance.  We have also been doing some fire prevention at a condominium complex.  Dryer ducts are often ignored until it is to late.  Did you know that dryer vent fires are one of the leading causes of fires in condominiums and apartments.  Some complexes are now requiring yearly cleanings, this is a great idea.  If you get your dryer vent cleaned once a year, but your neighbor does not, you are at risk.  Talk to your association about a mandatory cleaning program to protect your family and investment.  A clean dryer vent also decreases drying times, decreases energy consumption, and increases the life of your dryer.  That is what we have been up too.  How about you what have you been doing?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The icky things we do.

      I recently received a call asking if I clean crime scenes.  Apparently two neighbors got into an argument and... I will spare the details because they are gruesome.  Now this mess must be cleaned up and disinfected properly or it will adversely affect another family.  Luckily there is no family around so it will make the clean up much easier.  Often family is left to clean up the mess or contract someone to do it, this is not for the faint of heart.  We must adhere to particular guidelines set by OSHA and the EPA, bodily fluids are a known biohazard and must be properly disposed of.
     The hardest part of our job is to deal with the family.  Often times we are the only ones not feeling the pain of loss and people like a shoulder to cry on.  Crime scene trauma decontamination (CST Decon.) technicians find this the hardest part to deal with, it is tough not to get emotionally attached.
     Well I am keeping my fingers crossed and not, hoping and not hoping to get the job, it is just another one of those icky things we do.  I will keep you posted but I will spare you the pictures.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What is the most shocking thing about carpet cleaning?

     I was asked last night "What is the most shocking thing about carpet cleaning?"  I had to think about it for a minute, taking it to an extreme, I said "If not done properly you could kill someone."  Now that is shocking, it sounds far fetched but lets think about it.
     If your carpets are cleaned by someone who does not understand how to clean carpets and over wets them, or leaves to much moisture in the carpet it will cause a water damage.  If the carpets remain wet for more than 24 hours mold may begin to grow.  Mold can be a dangerous thing, even a little bit of mold can cause respiratory problems. Couple this with asthma or other existing respiratory problems and you have a dangerous and possibly deadly situation.  Mold grows on things that are dead, breaking it down and returning it to the earth, natures way of recycling.  The mold can grow underneath the carpet feeding on dust, which is about 75% skin cells.  It can remain hidden underneath the carpet and every time you step on it, spores are pushed into the air creating a toxic environment and spreading it throughout your home.
     This is an extreme situation do not think that having your carpets cleaned is going to create a mold problem.  A certified carpet cleaner knows how to clean a carpet and should have the proper equipment to avoid over wetting.  This usually happens to the "Do it your-selfer" with a "rug doctor" or untrained carpet cleaners.

MORALE:
Let the carpet cleaners clean carpets, let doctors practice medicine, and let people do what they are trained to do.  You cannot know everything.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The things we do to clean carpet.

     It was a Friday and we started our day in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach, we had one carpet cleaning appointment and the rest of the day to do office work.  Then the phone rang, somebody found our name on the internet and wanted to set up an appointment,  I told her any day next week would be fine.  She then told me how she had been stood up by another carpet cleaning company earlier and all of her furniture was off of the carpet.  Well I told her I could be there at noon, and she said she would be there.  You know where this is going.  We arrived at 12 on the dot,  I rang the doorbell; no answer, called the  cell phone, no answer, we waited around for 15 minutes and no show.  This is what probably happened to the other company.  We returned to the office and about 12:45 we get another call, she is sorry she missed us and would like us to come back.  Of course, I told her we would be there at 1:15 and she agreed.  Guess what, at 1:15 she was not there, so I called her and she said "I am literally 2 minutes away"; well 15 minutes later we decide we need to replace a tire on the van and go to the tire shop.  She calls at 1:45 and says she is home now and could we come back again.  Since we just went to a tire shop around the corner from her house, we decided to go back after we were through getting a tire. We pulled up at about 2:00 as she was unlocking the door.  She showed us the areas to be cleaned and while we were cleaning she slipped out without notice.  When we finished the job she was no where to be found, and would not answer the phone.  Not really a good idea. lets just say after 20 minutes and 3 messages one of them not so nice she finally showed up.

    Sorry for the rant, but these are the Adventures of a Carpet Cleaner, you should know the good, the bad and the ugly.  I was always professional but come on people, just tell the truth.  I could have come at 3 when her kids got of the bus and all would have been fine.  I must say that shows dedication to getting the job done.  My competition makes me look good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rug Doctor vs. Professional Carpet Cleaner

Many people say they will clean their carpets with a Rug Doctor; after all, you can go to the supermarket and get a rug doctor for $25, right? Oh yeah, don't forget the detergent.  And those spots probably need some kind of special remover. What about the doggie smell and the urine stain that 'Spot' left for us?  Don't forget to grab the stair tool for the steps.  All said and done it costs almost $80.00 plus tax.  Here's the proof from their website


There is also the matter of your time and sweat.  And picking up the equipment will take at LEAST 30 minutes, even if you live next door.  Then, there is the cleaning and emptying and refilling the water which is probably 30 minutes a room.  With 5 rooms and a hallway it will take about 4 hours to get back home and relax.  If you make $7.50 an hour (minimum wage) thats $30, and the $80 plus tax you already paid out.  Grand total = $110
What a great deal, right?

NO

A Better Image Restorations will clean 5 rooms and a hall for $90 You will be saving over $20 and you get to kick back and watch someone else do the work.  Not only that, but we have professional grade detergents and heat - lots of heat. Frankly, no Rug Doctor will be able to deliver the heat like we can.  Our truck mounted system has a powerful vacuum that will leave your carpet drier, reducing your "stay off the carpet time."  We also have the training and experience to get out many spots that if treated the wrong way will become permanent stains.

     When times are tight, the apparently cheaper option may not save you the most money. If not A Better Image Restorations cleaning your carpets,  make sure you use a professional carpet cleaner.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ah Mondays...

Have you ever woke up on a Monday expecting a good day.  Sure it was raining this morning and 1 1/2 carpet cleaning jobs rescheduled, but I was focused on being positive.   Called the one  job we had and confirmed that we would be there at 1:00, at least we had a job.  Well the sky started to clear and it became a beautiful spring day.  Then the phone rang, a local university had some students cause fire damage and this caused a little problem in the unit.  I remember college, never tried to burn it down with a pizza box.  Now we have been asked to come in and clean up the smoke and fire damage. Yay!!! sometimes, I love stupid people...Then, our 1:00  job added some upholstery cleaning to her carpet cleaning, and scheduled a pressure washing. Awesome! She even asked about our tile cleaning, Regular customers are so much more fun to work with,  it always makes me want to do that little bit extra to make them happy.  Well the work day is almost complete now off to the place I call home have a great day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Adventures of a Carpet Cleaner.: It is Spring Cleaning time.

The Adventures of a Carpet Cleaner.: It is Spring Cleaning time.: "Ahh. The beginning of spring, the smell of flowers, the birds chirping, the warm sun on my face, and the sneezing and sniffling of my ..."

It is Spring Cleaning time.

Ahh.  The beginning of spring, the smell of flowers, the birds chirping, the warm sun on my face, and the sneezing and sniffling of my partner.  That's right allergies are picking up and it is time to clean clean clean,  If only one time a year you do a thorough cleaning, this should be it.  The EPA says indoor air quality can be worse then the outside air.  In cities like Norfolk, Chesapeake, or Virginia Beach where we live so close to the road, contaminants i.e. oil, tar, sand, etc. can permanently damage your carpet.  These things also get dispersed into the air and can make you sick.  Do some spring cleaning then call me to take care of the carpet, upholstery what ever you need.  Have a great day, and please make sure your professional carpet cleaner is certified to do the task.  Check out our lists of services

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Carpet Protectors

New carpet protectors work in two ways. First, acid dye blockers, which block many acidic dyes (i.e. food, wine, kool-aid, urine) from attaching to the carpet fiber. Second, Teflon is added to the Acid Dye Blocker to help seal it into the fiber. Picture a invisible straw covering every fiber to act as a shield. The combination of these to chemicals protects your carpet with your help. You are the key in keeping the spot out, the faster the better, and remember blot never scrub with a clean towel and a LITTLE soap and water. If that does not work give us a call. Thank-you

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why do we need to dry? Mold...

     Have you ever walked into a basement or garage and smelled a musty odor? You can look high and low but you just cannot figure out where or what it is. These areas tend to be damp and places that are damp for extended periods will breed mold. Mold is EVERYWHERE! The problem is when too much mold builds up inside your home. These mold spores can reach toxic levels. Another problem is, you cannot always see the mold, it may be in low levels right in front of your eyes, just waiting for the right conditions to rear its ugly head.

When dealing with mold trust your nose. That musty smell in the basement, it’s mold. Now don’t jump up and grab that bottle of bleach. Remember mold is everywhere. It does warrant some further investigation look around for visible signs of mold, it can be many different colors black usually, being the worse. Damp or wet areas should be dried and kept dry. If you cannot see any mold then try cleaning the area with an antimicrobial, If that musty smell persists you may want to call a professional.

Attention: If you can see the mold, you are breathing it. Call a professional immediately, the longer you wait the more the mold will grow spread.  Mold can also pose serious health risks.

Water Damage and organization

     It helps to be organized in my business.  We can have multiple jobs and different cities going on at the same time, and then a call will come in and everything has to be reorganized.  When dealing with a water damage situation there is enough chaos going on to make any good system fail.  When you find yourself in a water damage situation it is important to remember speed is #1.  The structure and it contents must begin the drying process immediately, mold can take as little as 24 hours to appear.
     If you are going through your insurance company they understand the urgency and will authorize emergency services to begin immediately, no need for an estimate insurance companies already have a payment structure in place; just make sure your restoration company is on board and certified. It is standard practice to collect a deductible and have you sign a "Work Authorization Form" to get started.
    If you do not have insurance you maybe tempted to get estimates but remember the clock is ticking, the longer you wait the more it will cost you.  If the job is not done correctly it will cost you ten fold down the line to fix a mold problem.  Trust me I do both and the average mold job is much more expensive and 99% of the time not covered by insurance, it is seen as negligence.
    

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why do people call, wanting carpet cleaning done today?

I have received 2 phone calls from people wanting their carpet cleaned today, after being stood up by a competitor.  Of course I can always accommodate, but they seem so surprised when I say yes, that they have to make arrangements for someone to be there.  They say they will call back, but they never did.  They did not even ask for a price.  Maybe the problem was there was no one home when the carpet cleaning company arrived.  In any case shouldn't you be ready when calling for a same day service, why waste your time or mine.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Another month has ended! And with it the season.

Get ready because here come spring,  March is right on track with beautiful weather.  Time for everyone to do some spring cleaning.  With all the snow around here, I sure put down a lot of salt on my walkways.  Well all some of that salt gets tracked on to my carpets and it must be cleaned out before causing irreparable damage to the carpet fibers.  Salts, sand and other hard debris can cause little scratches on the fiber making them appear dull.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January

Typically, This month tends to be busy, but it was not.  That maybe a good thing since everyone is getting sick.  We have dodged the snow for most of the year but the changes in temperatures make us sick.  We do not like cleaning people houses when we a sick it just does not have that A Better Image feel we go for.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Who am I and what do I do.

My name is Jason and I currently live in the state of Virginia, I originally am from Massachusetts.  I started cleaning carpets after high school while attending Old Dominion University.  Through the my years of carpet cleaning I have obtained various certifications by the IICRC in textile cleaning and water/fire Damage restorations.  I am writing this blog to help people if they have some carpet issues so, if you have any questions about textile cleaning, carpet repair or even dyeing carpet please send me a e-mail or post.