Category: Uncategorized

Caring For Our Homes

 

 

Whenever you mention the words “take care of your home” most people think of the technical and complex home maintenance. While the technical personnel play a significant role in home maintenance, taking care of a home is primarily every person’s responsibility. There are roles that everyone can partake to maintain a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in our homes and the surrounding.

It is also true that while most of these repairs may seem complicated, it is easy to learn how to do them. This way you will learn how to repair and carry them out instead of looking for professional assistance. This will not only save you money but also avoid further damages. This is because you will be able to perform instant repairs whenever the need arises.

However, there are maintenance routines that need a professional to handle. It is, therefore, important to know which are the small tasks that you can handle and which ones the professionals should handle. Below is a list of some ways to take care of your home.

 

Clear The Clutter

This is a simple task that almost everyone in the family can participate. While it takes little energy to keep you living space clean, having clutter can quickly turn a very spacious and pleasant space into a horror. A messed up closet, for example, will make anyone think twice before they look for something to wear. A cluttered kitchen, on the other hand, will make one dread to make even a simple meal and reach for the closest take out they can get.

When you clear your space, you can save much more energy and enjoy your surrounding at home. You can do this by having things returned to their respective places as soon as they have fulfilled their purpose. Toys, for example, should be well organized in their storage areas soon as children playtime is over, utensils put in their storage areas and clothes well folded and arranged or hanged in the closet immediately they dry. These are simple ways to cultivate responsibility and make sure that the home environment is enjoyable. If you have extra items that are no longer needed, you can dispose them off in the right way or even donate them to charity.

 

Keep Your Home Clean

A clean home is close to nothing. There is no feeling in the world that beats that of walking into a neat, clean and fresh smelling house. It is inviting and refreshing, comforting and welcoming. It provides an environment that makes everyone want to rush back and relax after a hard day’s work.

Homeowners can achieve cleanliness in various ways through a simple daily routine. By using simple products and techniques, you can keep the house clean and fresh. Additionally, cleaning the home gives you the ability to identify any faults and damages such as scratches, stains, scrapes and chips among others. As a result, you can make timely repairs and avoid any further damage that could be fatal. You will also be able to prevent exorbitant costs that you would otherwise incur if you don’t fix the damages immediately.

When cleaning home appliances, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.  Understanding them and applying the same during the routine maintenance allows you to take proper care of the equipment and avoids damages. This, in turn, gives you a longer service time with the appliances because they last longer. The costs of repairs will also significantly reduce, and you will also save money because you don’t need to make purchases every other time.

 

Undertake Frequent Repairs

No matter how careful you are, you will experience damages at one point in the home. Damages are not pleasing to look at. However little,they are, they can be an eyesore. When they occur, it is prudent to handle them as soon as possible.

Some repairs can be expensive as a result of delayed response. Undertaking minor repairs can, therefore, avert the need to carry out expensive investment. A cracked wall, for example, can undergo repairs before the situation escalates.  In case you don’t fix the issues, it may get to a point where you will need to rebuild an entire wall.

To make it easier, you can take on some challenges and learn how to do simple maintenance routines. While you may need to do some training on how to carry out repairs, most of the simple ones can be self-taught. You can easily learn the skills such as adjusting some parts and lubricating them. Others include replacing consumable parts like filters, batteries, light bulbs among others. This will make such repairs easy to do such that you will not require to call someone to do them for you.

However, some maintenance routines need professional attention. These are the ones that require a technical solution and the best person to do this is a professional. It is, therefore, important that you understand when to call on a professional and when to carry out the repairs on you own.

 

Make Your Home Attractive

Just as your interior is well looked after, your home appearance from the outside should be appealing. While the face of the home gives people a sense of what is on the inside, the backyard, on the other hand, tends to visualize or reflect the reality of the home. Both of these spaces are thus important.

Proper appearances take a lot of time and require a considerable amount of efforts and attention to achieve the best. Luckily, you can improve the curb appeal of your home by engaging in simple activities. These activities include planting flowers, a tree or coming up with other artistic designs and doing simple landscaping.

By adding accessories to the backyard, you can make it beautiful. You can also add accessories that add functionality so that the family can use it for various activities. It can also create space for a kitchen garden where you can grow your own vegetables. Apart from keeping the backyard well, and maintaining it. You will also save money that you would you otherwise used in purchasing other items.

Some of the activities can serve as family bonding time and do not require a professional. So, you can arrange and do it with the family members on a holiday or one of the weekends.

 

Know and Understand Your Houses’ Design and Needs

Most of the time when one buys a house, they rarely make any efforts to understand the technical aspect of the home. Additionally, knowing the design of your house enables you to quickly find out a problem should it arises. If you have a leaking pipe, for example, it is easier to find it if out you are aware of the layout of the piping system.

Subsequently, knowing the design of the house will help you in making crucial decisions. This is especially vital when making routine maintenance and major repairs. These include ensuring that the house does not get cracks that may result from faulty designs or layouts.

Some of the ways to make sure that the house does not get cracks include ensuring that the drainage’s location is away from the concrete slabs. Also, filling the low spots near the concrete slabs.

Should you feel the need to have additional structure; the designs will assist you to know which is the best placing and how. This is because many designs allow expansion, hence they can accommodate expansion of any kind. By doing so, you are able to add some extra space without interfering with the original design of the house.

While it may sound like a hard task, taking care of your home is a simple task. It doesn’t have to cost. In fact, there are many tasks that you can do together as a family. Maintaining cleanliness, for example, should always be part of everyday tasks. This is because it does not take much time but keeps a lot of issues at bay. Such matters include blocking of drainages, accumulation of dust that could lead to malfunctioning of some appliances, leakages and so on.

Additionally, when you organize your house, it provides a serene environment that is conducive to the family. This further binds the family together as they view the home as a haven where they can unwind, enjoy the fresh and clean environment and just have ample time to relax.

It also gives the occupants a sense of stability. If you live in a house that is not organized. Full of clutter, with leaking pipes, and broken drainages, you will never feel happy. You will be constantly thinking of the subsequent damages that will occur and how bad it will be. Additionally, you will be thinking of the costs that come along with it. It can also be dangerous as it can quickly weaken the structure hence cause irreparable damages. This can, therefore, be both financially and emotionally draining which is not good for any individual.

 

For all your professional cleaning and restoration needs contact our friendly office staff for your free in-home consultation, reach us at 847.526.6060!

Wiz Team is Here For You!

As residents of the Chicagoland area, we are all experiencing a time of significant anxiety and stress. At Wiz Team, Inc., we are impacted too, and we truly want to help.

Learn what the CDC recommends for cleaning your home and carpet.

Carpet Cleaning COVID-19 FAQs

How can carpet cleaning help my family have a healthier environment?

Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces is the first step the CDC recommends for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households. Providing a cleaner, safer and healthier living environment has always been one biggest benefit Wiz Team provides for their customers.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

Can carpet cleaning bring COVID-19 into my home?

The CDC tells us COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

What does Wiz Team recommend I do to keep my home safe?

We advise you follow the counsel of the CDC. “Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.”

Also – specifically for carpet the CDC recommends. “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 – use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogen claims that are suitable for porous surfaces.”

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html

Can Wiz Team disinfect my house?

Wiz Team will help with the first step the CDC recommends – cleaning. The CDC states “Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.”

Cleaning will prepare for you to follow the second step the CDC recommends – disinfecting. They advise “Disinfecting refers to using chemicals 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.

Should I cancel my appointment until after COVID-19 goes away?

Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces is the first step the CDC recommends for the prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households. Providing a cleaner, safer and healthier living environment has always been one biggest benefit Wiz Team provides for their customers.

The CDC tells us that COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented.

Does the CDC give advice about cleaning carpet?

The CDC specifically recommends the following process for cleaning carpets. 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 – use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogen claims that are suitable for porous surfaces. Wiz Team is the industry leader in removing contaminants from carpet.

Looking to take precautionary measures for disinfecting work environment? Call us today (847) 526-6060 – we are certified company using EPA approved disinfectants.

We take pride in knowing that we are contributing to the well-being of the local community to help reduce further risk and potential exposure.

Lovin’ Leather Care Guide

The Basics of Cleaning

Dirt, Dust, Debris, Etc.

Like anything you wear or use, leather items are going to get dirty over time. But worry not – most filth can be cleaned off without any extensive process. Just keep in mind that leather is, essentially, a living material – meaning it will change over time. There’s no stopping it; leather is going to age. How that happens and over what span of time, however, is much more under your control. The following processes should allow you to extend the life of your leather items much longer than they would last on their own.

Cleaning The Filth

Basic leather care is actually a lot simpler than you might think. In fact, all you really need is access to some cleaning rags (or paper towels if you’re in a pinch), water, a non-abrasive unscented gentle bar of soap, and a brush – you can, in theory, use a toothbrush, but we prefer using a proper leather cleaning brush. The steps for basic cleaning are as follows:

Begin by wiping away as much dirt and grime as you can with a dry towel. Sometimes, the dirt isn’t clinging to your leather and will brush away with ease. If there’s still more, repeat this step with a damp cloth, as the moisture can loosen up the grime and make cleaning as simple as following just this first step.

If you find that there is still dirt or grime stuck to your leather, the next step would be taking a bar of soap to it. Work up a bit of a lather with the soap and water, then rub it directly onto the leather in the spots where you find the dirt. You should be able to see the filth break up and start to come off the surface of your leather.

With a damp cloth, wipe away the soap and the grime. If you need to repeat step 2, do so now. You should not need to soak the leather to get the soap and filth off, and it’s best to avoid getting the leather too wet – if that can be avoided, of course.

Once your leather is clean, lay it out to dry on a flat, dry, cool surface. Do not apply heat and do not leave it out in the sun, as this can shrink and crack the leather in the process. It may take a while, but your leather should dry on its own.

Waterlogged Leather

In the off chance that your leather is exposed to a large amount of water – like if you get caught in the rain, accidentally drop your jacket in a puddle, or fall into a body of water – you’ll want to take extra care to get that leather dry again. Do not, under any circumstances, use a direct heat source or the sun to dry out your leather. Like human skin, exposure to a great amount of heat can cause leather to dry out, shrink, and potentially crack. If you take a hair dryer to your favorite pair of leather pants, best case scenario you’ll have a hard time getting back into them next time, as they will have shrank. Worst case, they will dry out, crack, and tear – becoming essentially unwearable. If your leather gets soaked, lay it out on a flat dry surface in a cool room and wait. Letting the leather dry naturally will ensure it will shrink as little as possible and, hopefully, will not suffer any other ill-effects.

 

Sunlight Exposure

While water-logging is mostly reversible, there is one type of damage that cannot be undone: that which happens as the result of prolonged exposure to sunlight. Sunlight is probably leather’s number one worst enemy. As leather (and all animal hides) are, essentially, skin, UV rays and heat will do them no good (with the exception of the heat used in the tanning process). If you’re fond of your leather and you want it to last for a long time, keep it out of the sun as much as possible. If this is impossible, you must be prepared to replace your leather items after some time. No, there is not a sunscreen for leather. The drying out and cracking of your jackets, shoes, pants, or whatever else is something that cannot be undone.

 

Long-Term Treatments: Make Your Leather Last

While your best bet for leather care starts with the short term cleaning solutions listed above, there are plenty of other things you can do to extend the life of your leather as far as possible. There are also a few things you might think are a good idea, but will inevitably have little to no effect or even a negative impact on your animal hide gear. We’ve listed these longer-term solutions below, as well as some information on their purpose, benefits, and what to avoid.

Conditioner Creams

Think of these kind of like skincare products, except that, instead of using them on your own skin, you use them on the animal hide that makes up your leather apparel or gear. Much like lotions, these products are designed to keep up the appearance and feel of your leather – making it supple and (sometimes) softer to the touch than it would be naturally. This stuff also staves off some of the negative effects your environment might have on your leather, like drying it out to the point that it cracks and/or shrinks. One thing to watch for in many conditioner creams, however, is lanolin. Lanolin is a fatty substance found in sheep’s wool that is a common ingredient in leather conditioners. While it isn’t dangerous, it will soften and moisturize your leather – which is great if that’s what you’re looking for. If you want your leather to remain a bit rigid and tough looking and feeling, try to avoid lanolin conditioners.

Leather Oils

Oils are another leather conditioning option. And while you might think that a cream and an oil are two very different products, those with a focus on leather care are essentially one and the same. In fact, you’ll often see leather oils with the word “conditioner” on their label and no mention of the fact that an oil is in the bottle whatsoever. When it really comes down to it, the difference between a cream and an oil conditioner is your personal preference. Some folks like using conditioning creams, others prefer oils. Pick whichever one suits you, purchase the appropriate product, and run with it.

Polish

While shining your shoes is certainly a way to quickly make them look sharp, technically speaking, polishing leather doesn’t actually qualify as care. You see, putting a sheen on your favorite jacket might spiff it up a bit, but the overall effect doesn’t actually protect or condition the leather at all. So, while we certainly don’t suggest against a good polish every now and again, it’s important to realize that the act of polishing doesn’t really qualify as care. That being said, some leather polishes have a moisturizing agent in them. While this is not standard, it is definitely something to look out for, especially if you don’t want to soften up your leather.

Waterproofing

As a natural side-effect of the material itself and the tanning process that keeps leather from putrefying, leather is naturally extremely water-resistant. It is not, however, completely waterproof. With prolonged or excessive exposure, leather will absorb water. This might make you want to take some Scotch Guard to your combat boots in order to make them more waterproof. We strongly suggest against this, however. As a living material, leather need to breathe in order to maintain its pliability, flexibility, and so that it can age over time (aged leather is one of the most beautiful materials in the world). Spraying a waterproof layer onto your apparel or gear can suffocate your leather and can give it a cheaper look.

There are, however, alternatives to spray waterproofing. Creams and waxes are a viable option if you absolutely want to be able to wear your leather during the wetter months. You will likely have to reapply them several times over the course of the season, but they are better for your leather than a spray waterproof and are relatively easy to clean off once you’re out of the wet time of year. Still, if you can avoid it, we suggest staying away from waterproofing altogether as there’s no way around the fact that it will inhibit beneficial aging processes and can have a negative long-term affect on the material.

Other Animal Hides: Leather Alternatives

As you may or may not know, cow hide is not the only option when it comes to leather – whether that’s in the creation of jackets, cash and card carriers, apparel, cowboy boots, or whatever else. And while most alternative leathers are near enough that they basically require the same care steps, there are some notable differences between standard cow leather care and the care of, say, reptile, sheep, or even calfskin. The following is some information on different types of animal hides and how to care for them.

 

Suede

Technically, suede is a type of leather. Though, apart from the fact that it is animal hide, the steps for caring for suede are quite different from that of regular leather. You see, suede is much more delicate than standard leather, as its finish is soft and – for lack of a better term – fragile. When it comes to caring for suede gear, you’ll want to do away with just about all the types of care listed above. This is especially true for all exposure to water. H2O will ruin the finish of suede, matting it and making it unpleasant looking. So, avoid exposing suede to water at all costs. As far as cleaning goes, you can purchase a brush specifically designed for taking care of suede and simple brush away any dirt, dust, or otherwise. As a final note, there are suede-specific conditioners, but if you’re going to go this route, make absolutely sure the product you are using is intended for this material.

 

Calfskin/Snakeskin/Alligator Skin

You may own a type of leather that doesn’t come from a fully-grown cow. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to treat it differently. In fact, most alternative leathers (though there may be exceptions) can go through pretty much the same care processes as cowhide. The one thing you’ll want to be sure of, however, is that – when using product like conditioners or oils – you should make sure the product you use is appropriate for the type of leather. For instance, a snakeskin conditioner can be chemically different from a regular leather conditioner. Make sure you consult a leatherworker, cobbler, or similar expert if you are unsure.

 

Vinyl/Faux Leather

Whether you’re a vegan, aren’t interested in spending a ton of money on a leather jacket, or you don’t like the investment associated with actual cowhide, there are a number of different types of non-animal leather alternatives. While they share many properties with leather – like a tendency to dry out in heat and sun – they do not benefit from the same types of care as actual animal hide. There are a number of different types of non-animal leather alternatives. In fact, anything outside of basic cleaning will only make a mess and potentially shorten the life of your non-leather apparel or gear.

Your best bet for maintaining non-leather substitutes is as follows: limit the sun exposure of your clothing or gear; gently brush off any dirt, dust, or debris as needed; and follow a similar cleaning regiment to the one listed above for leather. Namely, you’ll want to wipe it down with a wet sponge, use a gentle bar of soap (preferably unscented) to get off tougher grime, wipe the soap away with a damp cloth, and let the article sit to dry – do not use direct heat or sunlight to dry it off. Follow these steps, and your faux leather should last for a good amount of time.

For larger projects or large furniture pieces such as sectionals, love seats, chaise loungers, and headboards, call your friendly Wiz Team, Inc. local office for assistance in care, maintenance, and to schedule your FREE in-home consultation for leather care/cleaning today !

 

847-526-6060

 

Happy Halloween

 

Trick or treat?

Trick or treat?

Give me something good to eat.

Apples, peaches, tangerines.

Happy Happy Halloween.

 

Trick or treat?

Trick or treat?

Give me something sweet to eat.

Cookies, chocolate, jelly beans.

Happy Happy Halloween.

 

Trick or treat?

Trick or treat?

Give me something sour to eat.

Lemons, grapefruits, limes so green.

Happy Happy Halloween.

 

Trick or treat?

Trick or treat?

Give me something good to eat.

Nuts and candy. Lollipops.

Now it’s time for us to stop.

 

Happy Halloween – Here is a treat for our youngest clients 🙂 

Candy Apples

Halloween Maze

Haunted House Coloring Page

 

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!

Clutter Cleaner

clutter

 

When you have way too much stuff and no system of organization, you end up with a house full of clutter. It starts to choke you and drain your energy. Only a person who lives with clutter can understand why somebody would hoard their possessions, or even their “junk”. A common feeling among people, who have a cluttered house, is that they know where everything is located, and many times, they actually do! What may look like a mess to someone else seems organized to the one living that way. It is actually difficult for some people to get rid of things and they tell a friend, “On my next vacation (or days off), “I’ll help you if you help me”. It seems like such a desperate job that it looks impossible.

Starting The Process

When your children are growing up, you tend to save things for them but usually in a more organized manner than when they grow up and move out. You are left your stuff and their stuff and lots of stuff that doesn’t get used any more. I am going to use this article as a blueprint for the way I attack my spare bedroom. I have decided that I am going to pretend to be moving and I only want to pack the “good, usable and necessary” stuff for my “new place”. That is going to be my motive and seems to be a great way to think about the extra stuff in your house once you decide to get rid of the clutter.

Keep, Discard, Donate

Do you know how to separate clutter from what is actually valuable? There are shows on television and books that have been written, that try to help people determine what they should keep and what they should discard. The television shows are interesting to me, for a number of reasons like, there are many people to help you with the process of doing and deciding and there is a monetary gain to receive once the clutter is gone. In case you have never seen the show, the television people will add new pieces of furniture that will help retain the order and the organization of the home. They strive to organize things in ways that will be easy for people to maintain.

Clutter Free Path

If you are wondering how to start the whole process, you will need to remove EVERYTHING from a room, including clothing in the closets and furniture. The professionals give advice on how to sort all the stuff in your house. They say to separate all the stuff in 3 large areas designated to donate or sale, discard and keep. It is difficult for people to get rid of things that they have been “collecting” for years, especially if those items are attached to a lot of memories. There has to be a limit on each thing that you handle so you won’t get bogged down in emotional memories. Then start the difficult but rewarding process of choosing which pile your item will go in. As you work diligently through this process you will see your clutter disappear.

If you need some help getting started give us a call and we will be glad to join you!

What’s Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2019 occurs on Monday, May 27.

Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Throughout America, in various towns and cities we are holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

 

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

 

However you observe Memorial Day, do not forget those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom!

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…

What to Do About Frozen Water Pipes

Frozen but not broken pipes…

With the subzero temperatures this day’s, frozen water pipes are common occurrence. When most people think of frozen water pipes in their homes, they automatically think broken pipes, soaked carpets, carpet padding, walls and overall a huge mess… requiring the attention of certified water damage restoration specialists in Illinois.
 
Very often a frozen pipe doesn’t necessarily become a broken pipe. Some of might have had experienced it: You go into a bathroom, during a really cold day (like now), turn on the faucet and nothing comes out or only a trickle dribbles into the sink.
 
This is nuisance must be addressed quickly, before the pipe actually breaks and creates a much larger problem.
 

What to Do About Frozen Water Pipes?


To prevent this from happening is the best course of action. Here are some things you can do when temperatures dip well below freezing:
 

  1. If you have water supply pipes in the walls or ceiling of your garage keep garage doors closed. Frozen pipes occur especially when a bathroom is next to or above a garage. As soon as you pull into the garage, immediately shut the garage door, so the heat from the engine can help warm the garage.
  2. When at home and outside temperature get to subzero, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warmer air to flow among the pipes. If you feel it might freeze, allow a slow trickle of water to run in each faucet.
  3. Control the temperature in your home, especially when leaving for a couple of days. Some of us will set the temperature low to save money, but keep your home’s heat at minimum of 60°F or higher. Investing and installing a smart thermostat will not only let you monitor and control your home’s temperature from your Smartphone, PC or tablet while traveling, but it will also allow you to take control of the temperature in your home.

 But in the unfortunate event of a frozen pipe does happen, what do you do?

At that point your only recourse is to thaw it. This daunting task might take time. First, warm up your house, then use safe heat source, such as a hair dryer or heat gun, to warm up the area where the frozen pipe is located. Under no circumstances should you use a blowtorch, kerosene or other heat source fired by fuel, and please don’t use open flames. If you can’t determine where the frozen pipe is, call a local plumbing company to help.
 
Of course, if the worst happens and a pipe does break, call Wiz Team, Inc. your true water damage restoration specialists.

 

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