Category: Air Duct

Green Cleaning for the Future of our Planet

 

Cleaning is an important part of everyday life, whether you’re running a small household or a large office building. Cleaning helps prevent the spread of germs, eliminates unsightly dirt and dust buildup and provides an overall sense of wellness. But in recent years, more individuals and facility managers have grown concerned about standard cleaning practices and how they can damage the environment and human health.

For years, we’ve been led to believe that the only way to get rid of germs and bacteria was to nuke them with harsh chemicals and toxins. Unfortunately, we now know these practices are not only ineffective but also harmful to our planet and our own health.

This is where green cleaning services swept in with an opportunity to eliminate dirt and germs while keeping humans and the environment safe. The evolution of green cleaning has come a long way and will only continue to improve as the countless benefits of this better way to clean become known.

What Is Green Cleaning?

Green cleaning is a term used to describe household and facility cleaning practices that address environmental and health issues. Green cleaning prevents negative environmental and human health consequences that occur with the use and methods of traditional cleaning.

Green cleaning addresses concerns like waste, consumption, recycling, energy usage, air and water quality, pollutants, chemicals and sanitation practices. Environmentally-friendly cleaning services are offered by experts in the green cleaning field. Their knowledge and expertise can help improve the indoor environment and sanitation levels of many different types of buildings, from offices and restaurants to schools and hospitals.

The History of Green Cleaning

The very first known cleaning product was a form of soap dating back to 2800 BC, and it was as green as green can be. Ancient cleaning products were developed long before the advent of synthetic chemicals and toxins. Soap products didn’t have chemical-induced scents like lavender and ocean breeze. But eventually, common belief was that by killing germs with harsh toxic chemicals, we would be protecting our health and our environment from these illness-causing microorganisms.

In the early 1960s, however, questions started to arise about the safety of these chemicals. Scientists began to question how these toxins may be affecting our environment and our human health. By the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency began waging war against specific chemicals. Exposure to environmental toxins was being linked to all kinds of health conditions, including certain types of cancers.

By the 1980s and 1990s the general public was becoming more aware of the chemicals used in their everyday cleaning products. This awareness also happened to coincide with the discovery of “sick building syndrome.”

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a condition where the occupants or workers in a building suffer from a range of symptoms that are believed to be attributed to the indoor conditions of the building. In other words, the building itself makes the occupants sick.

Occupants found to be suffering from sick building syndrome experienced symptoms like eye, nose and throat sensitivity, skin irritation, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and an inability to concentrate. In 1983, the World Health Organization declared that sick building syndrome was a global health threat. This was due to poor indoor air quality inside buildings resulting from chemical off-gassing and toxic pollutants, including those emitted by harmful cleaning agents.

Green Buildings and Green Cleaning

In reaction to the disturbing findings of sick building syndrome, environmentalism, human health protection and construction merged to create a new field: green building. Green buildings are constructed with the goal of addressing the building’s entire impact and how it can be more environmentally-friendly and healthy for humans.

Green building standards began including requirements like toxic-free materials such as low- and non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, glues and other substances. Green builders also looked at ways to improve indoor air quality scores to prevent respiratory ailments and other health conditions.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) was formed and became the early pioneers in environmental construction, setting the highest level of standards for green building using their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

With the increasing interest in green building, business and facility managers began to look at environmental design and performance from a holistic perspective. This means they started taking into consideration not just the building itself, but its complete impact, including how it is cleaned and maintained.

This is where green cleaning on a commercial level began to take off. Once building managers began to look at their facility in its entirety, they noticed how something seemingly as simple as cleaning was threatening their vision for sustainability. From the types of products being used to how service providers managed and disposed of waste, they realized there was huge opportunity for environmentally-friendly and health-conscious cleaning practices that could match the high-level goals of green buildings and offices.

How Green Cleaning Has Evolved

When research about toxic cleaning first became an issue in the 1960s, many forward-thinking businesses and facilities began to look for alternative cleaning products that reduced the number of harsh chemicals being used in indoor spaces. However, at the time, there simply wasn’t enough selection available in the marketplace, and any products that had been developed were much more expensive than their traditional counterparts. Consumers and businesses also feared their effectiveness was limited.

This continued to be a challenge for those who saw the benefits of toxic-free cleaning but were unable to justify the costs. As is the way with most revolutionary products, though, more and more began to adopt greener cleaning products and practices into their homes, offices and facilities. Products like microfiber cloths, allergen-free dusting tools and non-chemical cleaning agents became more popular.

Increased demand in chemical-free cleaning lowered product prices and opened the marketplace up to all kinds of new competitive green cleaning products and services. This also opened the market up to another challenge: greenwashing.

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing and product development practice that plays on consumer fears of harmful chemicals or desires to be eco-friendly. It came to light in the 1980s when many companies realized they could market themselves as “green” without having to provide any shred of evidence to support it. They targeted consumers they knew would purchase a product simply because it was labeled “eco” or “green.” To help consumers, Green Seal was created as a way to indicate to consumers that products met actual environmental standards.

Growing awareness about greenwashing is also part of the evolution of green cleaning. Today, many consumers are aware of deceptive marketing practices when it comes to environmentally-friendly cleaning products. That’s why a company’s image and brand play such a significant role in today’s marketplace.

Green Cleaning Value

When the USGBC included green cleaning in their LEED accreditation system, environmentally-friendly cleaning services became more popular. The products, services and entire footprint of the practice of cleaning have come a long way. What used to be cumbersome and expensive products have now developed into effective and beneficial business practices.

In fact, the evolution of green cleaning today has reached the point where environmentally-friendly cleaning services and products today are seen as “cost neutral,” meaning that the facility gets back from it what it has invested into it due to its abundant benefits. Additionally, the argument for green cleaning, while still important for the environment, is actually more focused around protecting human health, which bolsters other business and economic benefits as well.

Types of Green Cleaning Products and Services

Green cleaning products have certainly evolved since the earlier days of this practice. Some of today’s green cleaning products and services include:

  • Chemical-free cleaning agents
  • Non-VOC products
  • Fume-free and scent-free products
  • Non-pollutant and non-allergen vacuums, dusters, microfiber cloths and other cleaning tools and equipment
  • Recyclable or recycled packaging for cleaning products and equipment
  • Safe and environmentally conscious waste management, reduction and disposal practices

Organizations Using Green Cleaning Products and Services

There are many factors to consider when it comes to green cleaning practices. This is why today there is a demand for environmentally-friendly cleaning services that specialize in green cleaning practices. These professionals are experts in green cleaning, including the most effective green cleaning products and equipment as well as lowering footprints as a result of cleaning.

Here are some of the types of organizations and facilities that use and benefit from green cleaning services:

  • Office buildings
  • Condo and apartment buildings
  • Hotels and restaurants
  • Stadiums, arenas and other entertainment venues
  • Factories and warehouses
  • Schools and universities
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Airports
  • Retail stores and shopping malls

Green cleaning services offer large-scale solutions that take into consideration the customer’s triple bottom line approach to operations. Triple bottom line is an accounting method that businesses use today to assess how their operations impact their people, the planet and their profits.

The Benefits of Green Cleaning

Organizations are choosing to partner with environmentally-friendly cleaning services because they are looking to operate from this triple bottom line approach. Green cleaning can deliver benefits to the building’s staff and occupants as well as the environment while proving to be cost effective in the process.

Here are the most important health, environmental and economic benefits of green cleaning for facilities:

  1. Protects Occupant Health: Today, green cleaning is widely recognized as a good practice for human health. There has been ample research done on the effects of sick buildings, including the types of chemical products that are used to clean them. Today, individuals and companies alike want to act more intentionally when it comes to prioritizing occupant and worker health. Green cleaning products and practices eliminate health risks that traditional cleaning products don’t.
  1. Meets Environmental and Health Goals: Buildings that are LEED certified or attaining LEED standards can support these goals by using green cleaning services. This helps the company reach its vision of being more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. This goes for existing buildings, too, which can use LEED and other similar standards as a guideline to improve their environmental and health impacts.
  1. Reduces Environmental Footprint: Green cleaning companies offer their services in a way that reduces their environmental footprint from start to finish. This includes items like waxing floors and disinfecting surfaces using green products to changing lightbulbs for energy efficient kinds. Additionally, green cleaning products such as cleaners, microfiber cloths and wipes as well as other equipment last longer than traditional cleaning products, which reduces waste because the products don’t need to be repurchased as frequently.
  1. Improves Air and Water Quality: Using environmentally-friendly cleaning products ensures that the fumes from harsh chemical cleaners aren’t being trapped inside the building and contributing to toxic and harmful indoor air. Additionally, water quality can also be protected when green cleaning agents are used because it doesn’t send toxins down the drains and into waterways.
  1. Prioritizes Waste Management and Reduction: Green cleaning services consider how the waste associated with cleaning will damage the environment. Green cleaners reduce consumption waste such as trash bags and janitorial paper products to consume less and ultimately save on natural resources required to produce these products. When you consider how often facilities are cleaned, this can add up in just a few months to a significant reduction in waste.
  1. Increases Cost-Effectiveness: Because green cleaning produces less waste and uses longer-lasting products, environmentally-friendly cleaning services can save on their overall operating costs. These cost-savings are then passed along to the customer, whether it’s a private corporate building or a public school that’s being cleaned.
  1. Improves Employee and Worker Productivity: Green cleaning can increase workplace satisfaction, worker and occupant well-being and even increase productivity while lowering absenteeism. First, green cleaning can adequately disinfect the building, which stops the spread of viruses and subsequent illnesses among workers. It also eliminates exposure to toxic chemicals, which can cause eye, respiratory and other health problems that prevent workers from being productive and even causes them miss work. Good air quality can also improve energy levels and focus, while poor air quality can make workers feel sluggish and distracted. This overall feeling of better focus and energy in the workplace helps employees feel a stronger sense of well-being. In fact, a World Green Building Council report from 2014 concluded that improved indoor air quality by reducing exposure to pollutants and increased ventilation raises productivity by 8%-11%.
  1. Strengthens Brand and Corporate Image: Because employees and consumers today have access to more information about companies, they are much savvier. This means companies that set high standards for health and environmental protection can improve their corporate and brand image among customers and employees.

Having a positive brand image builds customer loyalty and helps to retain employees, both of which are important for businesses in competitive markets. Companies that shift their building management practices toward healthy and environmentally-friendly ones can demonstrate to customers and employees that they take these issues seriously.

Future of Green Cleaning

In 2006, New York became the first state to require the use of green cleaning products and practices in all private and public schools. Over time, this will eventually become the standard in all facilities, public or private. When you consider the important benefits of green cleaning inside facilities, it’s easy to see why organizations like the USGBC have included green cleaning as one of their environmental and health standards.

If your facility is in need of environmentally-friendly cleaning services, Wiz Team, Inc. to improve the health, environmental impact and performance of your building.

 

Cleaning and Disinfection for Households

Interim Recommendations for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Summary of Recent Changes

Revisions were made on 3/26/2020 to reflect the following:

  • Updated links to EPA-registered disinfectant list
  • Added guidance for disinfection of electronics
  • Updated core disinfection/cleaning guidance

Background

There is much to learn about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Based on what is currently known about the virus, and about similar coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets, but disease transmission via infectious aerosols is currently uncertain. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

It is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with confirmed COVID-19 remains potentially infectious. Facilities will need to consider factors such as the size of the room and the ventilation system design (including flowrate [air changes per hour] and location of supply and exhaust vents) when deciding how long to close off rooms or areas used by ill persons before beginning disinfection.  Taking measures to improve ventilation in an area or room where someone was ill or suspected to be ill with COVID-19 will help shorten the time it takes respiratory droplets to be removed from the air.

Purpose

This guidance provides recommendations on the cleaning and disinfection of households where persons under investigation (PUI) or those with confirmed COVID-19 reside or may be in self- isolation. It is aimed at limiting the survival of the virus in the environments. These recommendations will be updated if additional information becomes available.

These guidelines are focused on household settings and are meant for the general public.

  • Cleaningrefers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Disinfectingrefers to using chemicals, for example, EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

General Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and Disinfection of Households

  • Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics (see below for special electronics cleaning and disinfection instructions)) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectantsexternal iconthat are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
    • For electronics follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics. If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

General Recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfection of Households with People Isolated in Home Care (e.g. Suspected/Confirmed to have COVID-19)

  • Household members should educate themselves about COVID-19 symptoms and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in homes.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
    • In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed(e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
  • As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, following home care guidance.
  • The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants (see examplesexternal icon).
  • If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.
  • Household members should follow home care guidancewhen interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.

How to clean and disinfect:

Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean handsimmediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available herepdf iconexternal icon. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    • Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rdcup) bleach per gallon of water or
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Soft (Porous) Surfaces

  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

Electronics

  • For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination if present.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
    • Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
    • If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Linens, clothing, and other items that go in the laundry

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean handsimmediately after gloves are removed.
    • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
    • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
    • Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

Hand hygiene and other preventive measures

  • Household members should clean handsoften, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygieneand avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Additional key times to clean hands include:
      • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After using the restroom
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • After contact with animals or pets
      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

Other considerations

  • The ill person should eat/be fed in their room if possible. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with hot water or in a dishwasher. Clean handsafter handling used food service items.
  • If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, handling, and disposing of trash. Wash handsafter handling or disposing of trash.
  • Consider consulting with your local health department about trash disposal guidance if available.

Additional Resources

Source Credit: CDC.GOV

CLEANING UP AFTER THE HOLIDAYS

 

The holidays can do a number on your home! Between house guests, holiday feasts, and kids on school breaks, your house probably need some TLC. Try these tips to clean up and start New Year off on a sparkling clean foot.

Clean Up After House Guests

Give your house’s surfaces a deep clean. Wash all your linens. Vacuum carpets, floors, and baseboards to give yourself a fresh start. Clean out your refrigerator – eat the last of those yummy leftovers and then clean and store your leftover containers.

Clean up Christmas Tree Sap

Rubbing alcohol can remove sap from washable clothing, knit gloves, and rugs, because it acts as a solvent. For clothes, even a down coat, saturate the area with alcohol, let sit for a minute, then launder in warm water with regular detergent. Heat sets stains, so be sure all the sap is gone before using the dryer. Repeat the process if any remains. For sap on a wool coat or leather gloves, the dry cleaner is your best bet. For a rug, spot-test first, then apply alcohol with a cloth; blot with clean parts of the cloth until the sap is gone. Check for recycling services in your community so your tree can be a gift back to Mother Nature that keeps on giving for many years.

Clean and Store Holiday Decorations

How many of us have opened up a box of holiday decorations in November only to find a tangled mess of half-broken lights? Set yourself up for success next year by carefully cleaning and storing your decorations. As you take your decorations down, clean them and store them in closed bins, boxes or plastic bags that are clearly marked. While specialized storage containers may seem like an extravagance, they are designed to keep treasured decorations safe from dust, mold and breakage. If possible, group the decorations in categories like “dining room,” “mantel,” “front door,” etc. That way, you can avoid the decorating frenzy by tackling your home one area at a time.

Prepare For The Rest Of Winter

The holidays may be over but winter probably isn’t! If you live in a cold climate, make sure your home is ready for a few more months of snow and mud. Keep a boot tray near the door for rain or snow soaked footwear. Put mats and throw rugs at all entryways. This will help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home. Before you know it, it’ll be time for spring cleaning!

 

For your harder to handle messes and possible post holiday disasters – please give our office a jingle and we will happily set up a free in-home consultation to help you tackle the stains and dirt left behind by the guests this holiday season!

 

Warm Wishes from Wiz Team, Inc – Seasons Greetings !

5 Reasons It’s More Fun to Clean in December

 

 

Whether you like to clean or not, you have to admit that there’s something magical about making your home sparkle this time of year. Maybe it’s all the wine? Or maybe it really is just more fun?

 

Keep reading for five good arguments on why it’s better to clean in December.

  1. It’ll warm you up.

Baby, it’s cold outside (and probably inside, too!). A little vacuuming, dusting, or cabinet organizing is a good way to get that blood flowing and increase your body temp.

I am notoriously always cold (I complain so much all winter that people who don’t know me think I’m from Florida … and then I tell them I’m from New Jersey!). I can never seem to warm up and will never say it’s too hot — even in August. But after any cleaning session this time of year, you can find me overheating, stripped down to a tank top and shorts with my hair piled in a messy bun on the top of my head.

Try it. If your place is tidy to your liking and you’re still cold, you can crank up the heat or light a fire. But I’m guessing it won’t come to that.

 

 

 

 

  1. You can listen to Christmas songs the entire time.

I highly recommend the “Today’s Christmas” station on Pandora. I turn that on, crank up the volume, and get to cleaning my own little winter wonderland. It’s certainly not as educational as a podcast, but I think it’s okay to zone out for a few hours. Plus, this station gets me in the mood for some serious holiday-ing.

 

 

 

 

 

    1. Your soap smells like pine trees.  Or cranberries. Or peppermint. The holiday season is a short one, so there’s a limited amount of time that it’s technically acceptable to surround yourself with these festive scents. I fully support getting as much of it as humanly possible while you can. I can clean with basil-scented soap 11 other months out of the year. For now, I’m going with something that smells like a forest of trees and freshly fallen snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. You can do it under the twinkle of string lights.

Yes, I know you’re technically supposed to clean when it’s sunny, so you can see all the dust. (Although you’re supposed to clean windows when it’s overcast. So many rules!) But I’d rather do it at night with all my Christmas lights on to set the mood. It just makes it all feel so much more special. Like I’m a Christmas elf and I’m on a mission. Besides, that’s the setting my guests are going to see, anyway. So I may as well clean from their perspective.

 

 

 

  1.  You’re getting ready for guests.

Guests, I say! It’s not like you’re cleaning for no reason (you know, aside from having a clean home). You’re organizing because your coworkers are coming over. You’re vacuuming because your baby nephew will be scooting around on your floor. You’re scrubbing your countertops because you’re about to prepare a major feast in that kitchen. Those impending plans just make it all worth it. I know I’m going to have fun and people might even shower me with compliments when they see how clean I keep my home.

 

 

 

What do you help cleaning this time of year? Your professional cleaning and restoration specialists are here to make your holidays go right. Give us a call to set-up your free in-home consultation today at 847.526.6060.

From all of us at Wiz Team, Inc. we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

Avoidable Holiday Home Malfunctions

 

Dear Homeowners,

There are many preparations that need to be completed in the run-up to the festive period: cards need to be mailed, gifts need to be purchased and dinners need to be planned. But amidst all the mayhem, don’t forget to prep your home too.

With all the extra guests arriving for Holiday parties, that means extra strain on your appliances… you don’t want your heating to malfunction on Christmas day and be left in the cold! Here’s our guide to preparing your home for the Holidays if you’re expecting guests.

 

Winterize Your House

If it gets cold or wet where you live, you need to prepare now before the really bad weather arrives. Avoidable holiday home malfunctions are easier to deal with if you get ahead of the ball! So let us get started. Check or change your air filters to keep your inside air fresh and your system in peak condition. If you want to avoid unnecessary filter changes or clogs, install new filters and be sure to check your system – it is time to act. Also, check window and door seals for air leakage and seal them up. Lastly, ensure the exterior is prepared by maintaining clean gutters – have salt on hand for walkways and stairs to prevent slips and falls. Remember that before winter fully sets in, it might be a good occasion to have your air duct system professionally cleaned before you are couped up all winter long in a stuffy allergy-ridden household!

Inspect Your Heating

Festive parties should be warm and cozy, so make sure your heating unit is in great working order. As well as timely air filter replacement, duct cleaning is an important step to take. To clean your ducts, contact Wiz Team, Inc. for a free in-home consultation. During our consultations we take a look at your system, ensure it is performing at its peak, as well as, assess the time, access, and cost of cleaning your system. A well-tuned, clean heating system operates much more efficiently, is better for the environment and will save you money this Holiday season. That’s more dollars for eggnog and pecan pie!

Check Your Plumbing

Though it might not be polite to mention, more guests means your bathroom gets some extra use…Avoid embarrassing situations with timely preventative maintenance and repairs. Drains should be checked to ensure they are clear – try plunging some water through. For most, minor blockages and a plumber’s snake will do the job. If you can’t seem to get the water flowing right, it may be time to call a plumber. Wiz Team, Inc. only works with the most respectable, timely, and honest plumbing companies. If you need assistance finding a dependable plumber, contact us – we are happy to provide referrals for great home services.

Prep Your Garbage Disposal

Another unit that’s going to get some extra use this Holiday is your garbage disposal. As with all things, prevention is the best cure so give everyone in your household a refresher on what doesn’t go in there. The worst offenders for blocking the garbage disposal are bones, grease, fruit pits, and even potato peel! Be careful if you are going to try and clear a blockage yourself – never put your hand in there! Make sure the unit is switched off and then use a wooden spoon or tongs to loosen or extract the offending item. Remember this article is about avoidable holiday home malfunctions – we want to help you avoid them before they ruin holiday plans.

Post Holiday Clean-Up

If the in-laws and all the extended family have left your beautiful home in somewhat of a disarray – it might be time to call for back-up. Wiz Team, Inc. offers a wide array of home care services such as; 7Ph Carpet Cleaning, Hardwood Floor Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning, among many other services that you may benefit from. Give our office a call and let us help you take care of the carpet full of crumbs, or perhaps let’s clean those area rugs that had a little too much wine during dinner, or maybe its the hardwood floors that need a bit of TLC after being trampled by all the guests. Whatever your home care cleaning needs may be – we are here to help keep your home beautiful and lovely. Remember, all of our in-home consultations are completely free!

 

From all of us here at Wiz Team, Inc, we wish you have a Happy and Malfunction Free Holiday Season!

Master Certifications: Is it important?

Master Certification: Carpet cleaning (basic) IICRC Certification is just the start. Think of Master Certifications as the “graduate degrees” of our industry. With the additional requirement of experience, beyond classroom learning, Master Certifications communicate a higher level of experience, expertise, efficiency and credibility, not to mention the confidence.

Master Certified Technicians exhibit higher productivity, increased technical competency, lower error rate and higher level of client satisfaction.

IICRC Certified Firms: Certification of a firm provides concrete evidence to clients that the company is staffed with people who know what they are doing and that the firm conducts business to an IICRC-prescribed set of ethical business practices and standards. IICRC stands for the highest standard of excellence in certification.

Although a lot of technicians become IICRC certified in basic techniques and stop there, three master certification paths – textile cleaning, fire and smoke restoration and water restoration – journeyman and master designations are reserved for those who truly developed their skills.  

Master Water Restorer, Master Textile Cleaner and Master Fire & Smoke Restorer are highest “graduate degrees” in our industry.

All master certifications must be achieved over a minimum of three years so classroom learning and certification is combined with real-world work. The IICRC Master status is the highest technical certification in the cleaning industry.

Certification: Why It Matters

Just as certified accountants, electricians, plumbers and mechanics project a higher level of competency in their fields, and just as members of the American Medical Association and American Bar Association set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination, IICRC certification helps to immediately identify the cleaning, restoration and inspection industries’ most skilled and dedicated technicians and businesses.

However, unlike electricians, plumbers, accountants, doctors and lawyers, the cleaning, restoration and inspection industry does not require a technician or the firm to be certified in order to perform these services. Certification matters because outstanding service means consecutively correct service, every time.

Being certified is voluntarily, therefore it is important to check if you’re cleaning and restoration service provider is in fact certified.   

Wiz Team, Inc. is keeping up with the latest education and training, techniques and technologies. We are staffed with experienced and educated, well-trained, satisfied employees who are the key to our satisfied clients.

The history of cleaning and restoration certification is long, but for us it all started from – a deceptively simple question: What works best for our clients?

It has driven us to research chemistry, extraction techniques, fiber identification, airflow and many other subjects.

Thanks to the strength of the schools and instructors, our technicians have knowledge and skills to achieve education on cleaning and restoration – improving their skills and serving our clients with best practices.

In the end, certification matters because we all work in service industry – and outstanding service means consecutively correct service, every time.

We obtain science-based information for best practices and build technical and scientific knowledge in the restoration and cleaning industry in order to provide the most outstanding service experience ever to our clients.

Wiz Team, Inc. is the ONLY cleaning and restoration firm in Chicagoland holding quadruplet Master Certifications designations.

We are certified as: Master Water Restorer, Master Textile Cleaner, Master Fire & Smoke Restorer and Master Rug Cleaner.  So, before you call a company whose technicians have only basic or worse yet have no certification, call the Wiz Team, Inc. – true Cleaning and Restoration Specialists – best in the industry.   

Breathe Well Again with Improved Indoor Air Quality

Fresh air through open window.

As you begin reading this, let’s do a simple exercise together.

Breathe in, really deep… go ahead, and really fill those lungs.
 
Feels refreshing, right? That is the magic effect of clean air and oxygen coursing through your blood vessels!
 
Taking a deep breath of air, especially outdoors after a recent thunderstorm or when the air is fresh, crisp and clean, smells and feels good. It can be surprisingly rejuvenating!
 
Unfortunately, taking a deep breath of air indoors, such as in your home or office work space, can be a different matter altogether.
 
The air you breathe, you innocently assume, is clean and healthy. That may not necessarily be the case, as countless reports of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) prove that not every indoor environment can be considered healthy. Often times scientific research finds that, indoor air quality can be 2 to 5 times more concentrated with pollutants than outdoor air. YIKES!

This is due to the fact that we spend most of our time indoors (90% to be exact) and the environment is almost hermetically sealed with all our advances in building and material quality. However, as great as this may be for overall energy efficiency – it can wreak havoc on our health.

Research points to some common household factors which contribute to the poor air quality: combustion by-products (cooking) create carbon monoxide and particulate matter suspended into the air, other substances from natural sources such as, dander, radon, and mold, as well as pesticides, lead, and asbestos. These materials may all be contaminating your homes indoor air.
 
When indoor air quality is poor, there can be issues for many people, especially those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses, among others. The list can be quite extensive. Typically poor air quality can afflict the elderly, young children, and allergy sufferers at its onset.
 
Poor indoor air quality doesn’t mean just “stuffy” air, the type that can build up in a home that doesn’t have sufficient air exchanges during the day. Although that can contribute to poor health for some individuals, what really causes health concerns are the various pollutants we mentioned above. While these pollutants are often indoors, they can also be outdoors, and you must recognize the affect they have on your health. For instance, you may decide to stay indoors when you hear of an outdoor poor air quality report on the news.
 
What you can control, though, at least to some degree, is the indoor air quality in your home.
 
What can you do? It’s simple. Keep things clean. Change your furnace and air conditioning filter on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer. We often recommend American made filters through FilterBuy.com, which makes replacement easy and simple – and they can custom make any filter to suit your HVAC systems requirements!

Use a quality vacuum for your carpet and furniture and use it weekly, and more often if you have a busy household. (Pro Tip: Do not forget to empty and clean out your vacuum before your next use. Poor maintenance of your vacuum may cause for re-contamination of the air.)

Beautiful hard floors? They need to be cleaned as well, as dust can easily build up and become airborne from hard surfaces. When you dust surfaces, such as shelves or countertops, use a microfiber cloth towel that will hold the dust instead of pushing it off onto the floor.
 
And, of course, have your carpet and furniture cleaned based on the recommendation of your favorite cleaning company (and manufacturer). In fact, isn’t it time you had your carpet and furniture cleaned… right now?
 
Do the best thing for your families well being and yours – make the call today for your free estimate. After all, you deserve the most outstanding service experience ever!

Springtime = Cleanup Time

 

 

Spring is the perfect time to deep clean, organize, and de-clutter your home. Here are some tips and tricks

Would you like to declutter your home?

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the to-do list? I definitely do. So, I created Declutter your Home Printable Checklist. I broke my home into rooms and then I broke those rooms into areas.  These are the things that often get overlooked or passed over and called good enough.  But Spring is the perfect time to deep clean, organize, and de-clutter your home.

Do Some Decluttering

Clutter: described as anything that is kept, even though not used, needed or wanted. It also can be defined as having a disorganized and overwhelming amount of possessions in our living space, cars or storage areas.

Clutter creates stress that has three major biological and neurological effects on us: our cortisol levels, our creativity and ability to focus, and our experience of pain. Clutter in the home has been linked to increased levels of anxiety.

No, you don’t have to go full Marie Kondo method, but why not get rid of some of the stuff? Here are my three principles of decluttering.  Those are:

  1. If I haven’t used it in over 1 year, get rid of it;
  2. If it doesn’t bring me joy in some way (a’la Marie Kondo), get rid of it;
  3. If I can replace it easily, I don’t even think twice about getting rid of it!

How about clothes you haven’t worn in years? Extra kitchen appliances (out and never used)? Winter clothes/hats/gloves that no one is wearing? Your kids’ broken toys? Junk mail? Donate or throw out the items you never use that just take up space. When you are done your home will be clean and it will bring you joy!

Get Healthy Kitchen Tools

After the long, cold and messy months of winter we’re all looking forward to prepare and cook healthier meals in less time. As more fresh fruits and vegetables come into season this spring, make sure you have the kitchen tools needed to take advantage of fresh produce and eat and drink healthier. Having the right type of kitchen tools and appliances can help you incorporate more healthy foods into your diet and can make healthy meal prep a breeze and keep your healthy diet on track.

Carve Out an Exercise Corner

If you are not a big fan of going to the gym but don’t have a home gym, and you prefer the flexibility of working out at home whenever you can fit it into your schedule, then is finally time to create a exercise corner. Outfit it with a yoga mat, some hand weights, and a medicine ball. You could position it near a television so you can more easily workout by using DVDs or YouTube videos. Even a nook or empty corner just big enough for your kind of training could be transformed into a workout zone.

If getting in shape is a priority for you this year, reorganize and find a corner of your home that can be dedicated to exercise.

Get a HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air), refers to a type of filter that removes 99.9% of particles above a certain size (above 0.3 µm – micron). Install HEPA Purifier in your home and you’ll go a long way toward removing stuff that can trigger or worsen allergies and asthma.  HEPA Air Purifier isn’t a complete solution that can address all indoor pollutants, but it can improve your indoor air quality. It removes particulates/contaminants from the air like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites. While HEPA filters remove particulates from the air, here are some contaminants that are in the air and that HEPA can not remove:

VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds are airborne chemicals and they are simply far smaller in size than what can be trapped;

Viruses: Much like VOCs, viruses are also too small to be removed;

Bacteria: While bacteria are large enough to be trapped, bacteria are understood to release endotoxins into the air stream when dying on the air filter surface. Studies have demonstrated that endotoxins cause inflammatory and atopic responses in no asthmatic and asthmatic participants;

Mold: Mold spores are large enough to be caught in HEPA filters but stay alive on the filter surface. Other particles that accumulate and fill the filter start acting as nutrients and allow mold spores to potentially grow on and through the filter membrane and eventually release new spores into the air.

It is important to say that frequent replacement of filters is critical since pathogens collected on the filter can include live organisms and eventually pathogens are re-released into the air.

Even though HEPA Air Purifier is not a perfect solution, it is a worthwhile buy – especially for people with allergies or asthma, those at risk for cardiovascular disease and families with young kids. But anyone can benefit, breathing cleaner air isn’t a bad thing for any of us.

Maybe you’ll be able to conquer the whole list in just a few days or maybe not, but it’s a place to start.

Do you have any decluttering secrets or tricks?  Please share with us via email!

If we can be of help, please call us!

Until next time…

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