Recent Cleaning Posts

How To Clean A Basement Floor Drain

2/18/2019 (Permalink)

mold growthThere are so many areas of the home to care for, and there’s no denying that most of our attention is focused on the living spaces we use most regularly. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for issues lurking in the spaces we visit less frequently, especially the basement. Basement areas are particularly at risk for a number of reasons, especially for water damage. One problem many homeowners face is a clogged basement floor drain. So, what is a floor drain and what are the steps for how to clean a basement floor drain? Read on to learn what is a floor drain, how it gets clogged, and steps on how to clean a basement floor drain.

What is a Floor Drain?

Having a stronger understanding of what is a floor drain can help you best prevent clogs. Basement floor drains serve an important purpose, which is to act as an outlet for any water that enters the area. For example, condensation for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, water leaking through the foundation of your home after a heavy rain, or water draining from the water heater all rely on the floor drain to prevent flooding. An effective floor drain is situated at the lowest point in your home to facilitate the flow of water and is typically connected to your house’s sewer system. In some cases, a floor drain can also be connected to a sump pit or sewer pit outfitted with an ejector pump. In these cases, the floor drains lead to a pit that uses a pump to lift the water outside of your home.

What Causes Basement Floor Drains?

The most important question to ask when wondering how to clean a basement floor drain is what actually caused the clog in the first place. It may come as no surprise that a basement drain clogged with a buildup of dirt or debris is the most common issue. Over time as your floor drain drains water flowing into your home from various sources, dirt and debris will begin to build and result in a basement drain clogged with an obstruction. A main line clog can occur in different spots within the floor draining system, such as the house drain, house trap, or house sewer.

Another issue that can occur with a basement floor drain, is that you could experience water coming up through the basement floor drain. Water coming up through basement floor drain can happen when a heavy rainstorm leads to a surcharge in the drain system. The surcharge could also take place in the public sewer system. Either way, you could be left dealing with water damage.

Signs of Clogged Floor Drains

One of the most obvious signs of a basement drain clogged up and in need of cleaning is a backup of water that won’t flow down the drain. If you notice standing water around the floor drain in your basement, it is not in working order and likely has a clog that requires cleaning. When a basement drain is clogged in your home, it’s important to address this issue as soon as possible, as standing water can lead to water damage in your basement, including water damage to your floors and walls. Additionally, water damage is a primary cause of mold growth and is common in basements due to their typically moist environment. A basement drain clogged and resulting in mold growth is a serious risk to individuals living in a house, as ingesting or inhaling certain types of allergenic and toxigenic molds can lead to respiratory issues. Another risk of water damage caused by clogged floor drains is structural damage. When wood and other surfaces become wet, they lose durability and can start to break down.

Another sign of a floor drain that needs to be cleaned is an unpleasant floor drain odor. This unmistakable floor drain odor will be obvious, and will likely smell like the sewer your floor drain connects to.

Steps to Clean the Floor Drain

Now that you know what is a floor drain and causes for clogs in floor drains, it’s time to learn how to clean a basement floor drain. For this cleaning, it is recommended that you contact a professional to get the job done properly and efficiently. If you decide to take on the job yourself, the first step is to gather the materials you’ll need throughout the process. What you’ll need for how to clean a basement floor drain are:

  • Rubber gloves and facemask
  • Plastic bag
  • Screwdriver
  • Pot for boiling water
  • Bucket
  • Vinegar and baking soda - have a gallon of vinegar and pound of baking soda on hand, these materials will work together to act as a floor drain cleaner

Once you have your materials gathered, you can take the following steps for how to clean a basement floor drain. First, using the screwdriver remove the grated top accessible on the floor of your basement. In most cases the floor drain cover is secured by screws, however, you may just be able to lift the top off using just your hands.

After the cover has been removed, conduct a quick inspection of the drain, examining for any buildups of dirt or debris. This is an essential step in how to clean a basement floor drain, as most backups are caused by debris. With rubber gloves on, work to clear out as much gunk as you can and disposing of what you pull out into the plastic bag.

The next step is to flush out the drain using your pot of boiling water. After pouring down the boiling water, let it sit for about 15 minutes. For a homemade floor drain cleaner, sprinkle in some of the baking soda to coat the sides of the drain, then pour in the vinegar. The vinegar will effectively kill bacteria and remove the unpleasant odor. You should let the vinegar sit in the floor drain for about ten minutes. Once it’s done sitting, rinse the vinegar out using more boiling water. It may be necessary to repeat these steps a few time to get all of the gunk and odor out of the floor drain.

The final step in the process for how to clean a basement floor drain is to clean the drain cover, then replace using the screws you removed. It is a good idea to clean the floor drain on a regular basis to prevent future clogs and minimize the risk of backups and water damage.

Dirty Air Ducts: When Is It Time For An Air Duct Cleaning?

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

Dirty Air Ducts: When Is It Time For An Air Duct Cleaning?

As a homeowner, there is so much to stay on top of in order to keep your house in working order to keep you and your family safe and comfortable. While it’s easy to keep up with tasks that you can see, like dirty laundry and vacuuming, what about those parts of the house that need attention, but are out of site? We’re talking about your heating ventilation and air conditioning(HVAC) system. It’s true that many homeowners give little thought to the condition of their HVAC systems simply because the intricate network of tubing and fixtures lies within the ceilings and walls of most houses. But did you know that issues like mold growth in central AC unit, high energy bills, and respiratory issues can all occur because of dirty air ducts? For this reason, it’s important to conduct regular checks and maintenance around your HVAC system.

Read on to learn how to tell when it’s time for an air duct cleaning, and what steps to take if you think you need one.

What are Air Ducts?

What exactly are air ducts anyway? Air ducts are the circulatory system of your house that allows for the distribution of hot and cold air as needed throughout the various spaces of your home. Most air duct systems are built within the ceilings or walls of a home for aesthetic reasons. There are two primary types of ductwork available for homeowners to choose from: flexible and rigid ductwork.

Flexible ducts are usually made of a wire coil that is covered with a bendable plastic, that is then fitted with a layer of insulation. Flexible ductwork is most suitable for spaces where a little give, or flexibility, is necessary. Flexible ducts are a little easier and quicker to install than rigid ductwork, and also cost less.

Rigid ductwork can be made from a variety of materials including, fiberglass, fiberboard, and sheet metal. As the name hints, rigid ductwork does not offer the same flexibility of flexible ductwork. Rigid ductwork can be constructed in various shapes and sizes but is known for being particularly strong and durable.

Do Air Ducts Need Cleaning?

You may be asking yourself do air ducts need cleaning, really? The answer is yes. Remedying dirty air ducts is important for a number of reasons. For one, dirty air ducts can waste energy and lead to higher energy bills. This happens when a significant buildup of dust and debris in your ductwork makes it more difficult for air to flow into living spaces to keep you comfortable. When this happens, your HVAC system must work harder than usual, expending energy it wouldn’t have to if the dirty air ducts were clean. As you can imagine, the more energy the system uses, the higher the bill you receive each month.

Another important reason to keep your air ducts clean is that with dirty air ducts health problems are likely. This is because debris and dust coming from air ducts can result in respiratory and allergy problems for anyone living in the house. When your HVAC system is engaged, and the air is flowing, dust can become airborne. When the dust coming from air ducts is inhaled, it can irritate the body causing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes, sore throat, and more. In particular, with mold in air ducts, health problems are a risk. Mold in central AC unit is common, because of the moisture produced. If you suspect mold in central AC unit, contact a professional as soon as possible.

A final reason why it’s important to keep air ducts clean is that regular maintenance prevents costly repairs in the future. Having dirty air ducts taken care of gives you or a professional the opportunity to inspect the components of your HVAC system to ensure everything is in working order. When issues are caught early, you can save yourself from hefty repair bills.

Signs of Dirty Air Ducts

So how can you tell if you have dirty air ducts in need of cleaning? Keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs.

1. Dust and debris around vents. One of the most obvious signs you have dirty air ducts is dirty air vents. With dirty air vents, you’ll notice debris and dust coming from air ducts that collect on and around vents. Dust coming from air ducts and onto vents shows that a significant amount of contaminants are circulating throughout your home, and the buildup inside the air ducts has reached a bad level. Make sure to do a thorough scan of all vents, including

2. Mold growth. Dirty air ducts health problems are a real risk. Believe it or not, visible mold growth can be a sign that your air ducts need cleaning. Mold growing in and around vents is a strong indicator that you have dirty air ducts, and you should call a professional immediately to remediation. In addition to vents, mold in central AC unit can happen as well. When the AC unit is engaged, it can produce moisture that in turn leads to growth of mold in the central AC unit. Without remedying mold in air ducts health problems can result that can become dangerous.

3. You don’t remember having an air duct cleaning. If you can’t remember the last time you had your air ducts cleaned, or even if you’ve ever had them cleaned before, you likely have dirty air ducts. Fortunately, it is only recommended that you have an air duct cleaning once every 5 to 7 years. However, you’re likely to remember this process taking place. If you don’t remember your last air duct cleaning, make the call to schedule an appointment.

Dust coming from air ducts, mold growth in components of the HVAC system, and pricey energy bills are no joke. If you spot any of the signs of dirty air ducts mentioned, contact a professional air duct cleaning company today to schedule an appointment. Specialists will conduct an examination to determine the extent of dirt in your air ducts, then create a comprehensive plan to get your ducts in like-new condition again.