Carpet Cleaning Is Now Rocket Science

A technology that was developed for use in outer space may now help zap dirt and allergens in your home.

It’s yet another case where “rocket science” has come home to improve life on earth. The technology, an X-ray analyzer “gun” used on Space Shuttle Discovery, has been adapted to measure exactly how much soil cleaning products remove from carpet.

That’s good news for homeowners because this technology is being used to keep today’s durable stain-resistant rugs cleaner and help them last even longer.

Periodic Deep Cleaning

Vacuums and wet-cleaning equipment that you buy or rent can remove loose soil, spots and spills. But even with this type of regular cleaning, soil builds up.

Proper carpet care requires periodic deep cleaning, preferably every 12 to 18 months, to remove trapped soil and residues, say experts. Professional general contractors using portable extractors and equipment mounted in service vans do this type of cleaning. Your carpet warranty may require such periodic cleaning.

Not all cleaning equipment and solutions clean equally well. Independent testing shows that various cleaning detergents and spot removers clean no better than water.

These cleaning products can leave a sticky residue that attracts soil back to the carpet, degrading carpet appearance. There are also vast differences in the soil removal capability of carpet cleaning equipment, especially extractors.

Seal of Approval

Fortunately, the X-ray fluorescence technology enhanced by NASA has allowed the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) to develop a new Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning products.

Only those products meeting high performance standards receive the bronze-, silver- or gold-level Seal of Approval. This not only helps customers recognize quality products, but it also highlights the best methods for preserving the life and beauty of carpet.

Car Accident Checklist

I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve been in a car accident before. Granted, it wasn’t my fault at all (both my opinion and the insurance company’s opinion). However, once it happened, I realized that I should have been better prepared for the car accident the day it happened. Since I realized this, I decided to make a checklist for things to have in case of a car accident. Here we go

1) Insurance Papers. Make sure you have your insurance papers ready to give to the other party in case they need to see them. These can also come in handy to give to the Police if they arrive on the scene of the accident. In some states, having car insurance is mandatory for the operation of a motor vehicle and you can be fined if you don’t have any insurance. Make sure you insurance paperwork is in order before finding out that it is necessary to have.

2) Pen and paper. Guess what? Most people (myself included until recently) don’t carry around the necessary equipment in order to write down the other party’s information for insurance claim purposes. Make sure you buy some pens that actually have ink in them and some decent paper in order to write the driver’s information. Stow these handy items in your glove box and you’ll be ready.

3) Digital camera or cell phone camera. This can come in quite handy in the case of a disagreement of facts over what happened at an accident. After the accident happens, taking a few snap shots of both your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle can be great evidence if there is a trial or if either insurance agency tries to deny responsibility. A lot of the newest cell phones come equipped with cameras inside of them that can take and store a huge amount of digital camera photos. Use your cell phone camera to take some on the scene snap shots.

There are a whole bunch of other important tips to keep in mind that make these look like the tip of the iceberg. Learn them all and you’ll be prepared.

Soil Erosion Control

Soil erosion is a costly problem, so it is very important to plan ahead when buying a home. Making sure soil erosion control and rain damage prevention are done right during the original landscaping and building of your home will lead to a nicer overall yard and keeping your yearly maintenance costs down.

The by-product of soil erosion is sediment. You’ve seen this after a hard rain on your sidewalks and driveways. Sediment from soil erosion is the largest pollutant in our lakes, rivers and streams. If your yard sediment clogs up your storm sewers, it can cause flooding. Any uncovered land on your property, no matter how large or small an area, is susceptible to rain damage and soil erosion.

Sediment from yards can also be a major source of phosphorus in lakes and streams. When you get excess phosphorus, there is a higher likelihood of unhealthy algae blooms. These algae blooms cause an awful smell, and can kill fish and other water life. Rain damage prevention along with soil erosion control is the better way to keep our waterways clear and the environment clean. (Not to mention it is much more cost effective to prevent the damage than to try to restore something after it has been damaged.)

There are key ways to keeping your yard looking better. Some common ways of planning for soil erosion control and rain damage prevention are:

•    Cover all stock-piled soil you have on your property. When these soil stock-piles are not in use, keeping them covered with a weighted plastic tarp will help with soil erosion control.
•    Plant a temporary vegetative cover on your unfinished yard. When you have an area of your yard that is bare and won’t be touched for a while, just plant something temporarily to help hold the soil in place. Annual rye grass is a good choice for this.
•    Use mulch. Any areas of soil that are exposed and next to a hard surface, like a sidewalk or driveway, should be covered and stabilized by mulch or mulch and a temporary vegetative covering. There are many types of mulching products, including straw, straw netting blankets and wood fiber blankets. When you place these on large areas of bare ground, you are doing the best thing possible for rain damage prevention and soil erosion control.
•    When your home landscaping is complete, permanently seed or sod your entire yard. This will stabilize the soil for the life of your yard.

Now that we have covered many soil erosion control methods, we can move to the rain damage prevention of your home.

When a house is built, water that lands on the roof generally runs off and is taken to the ground through gutters and downspouts. Gutters should be properly fitted from the start and pitched toward the downspouts. Keeping the gutters sloping to the downspouts will accelerate water flow, and will allow the water to flow easily. To keep this all from leaking, any joints in the gutters and downspouts should be caulked.

So, as you can see, you have many options for soil erosion control and rain damage prevention in property you own and maintain. A rain storm does not have to be a problem for you or your environment.

Big thanks to Essex County Drain Cleaning for submitting this article to help people with erosion control.  Their website is located here:

Don’t Let The Dishwasher Belt Slip Up

You have an older dishwasher and it’s serving you well. Let’s make that was serving you well. See, the problem is… fixing it. If your dishwasher has stopped filling or draining all of a sudden or has its moments when it will work and when it won’t – check the belt.

The belt connects the motor to the pump using pulleys. When the motor rotates in one direction the pump fills the dishwasher. When the motor rotates in the opposite direction, the pump drains the dishwasher.

If you need more information about purchasing dishwashers, click here.


If your dishwasher isn’t filling or draining at all, the belt could be broken. If your dishwasher occasionally works, the belt is probably stretched and is slipping. Take a closer look at your dishwasher’s belt.

The belt is approximately 25 inches long and made of clear or black rubber. The belt is located behind the lower access panel, which is sometimes referred to as a kickplate. Getting to the belt is easy and since you don’t have pull the dishwasher out from the wall, this repair won’t take long. The only tool you will need is a screwdriver.

Always remember:
It’s important to cut the power source to the dishwasher before attempting any repairs. You can unplug the power cord, remove the fuse from the fuse box, or flip the breaker in the circuit breaker panel. After the power is cut, you may continue.

Open the dishwasher door to locate the screws for the access panel. Once the screws are removed, close the door and remove the panel. The old belt will be stretched a bit making it easier to remove. It will slip down off the pulleys. Replacing the belt is not so simple. It will have a much tighter fit.

The easiest way to get a new belt on the pulleys is to put one end of the belt around the pump housing, directly above the pump pulley. Put the other end of the belt around the motor pulley. Carefully roll the belt down the pump housing until it sits properly in place.

Finally you can reattach the access panel and reconnect the power source. Your old dishwasher is now back up and running!

Thank you to Pittsburgh Appliance Experts who submitted this informative article to us.  They are a high quality, affordable appliance repair company that we have used before.

Hardwood Floor Installation Tips

Most of us think that because solid hardwood floors are a rather sensitive and expensive material, we should always seek the help of professionals to get them installed.

Thus, it is comforting to know that with the right tools and the right kind hardwood, it is pretty much a do it yourself endeavor. And because prefinished hardwood floor planks are already available in hardware stores and instructional manuals everywhere, then you really have nothing to worry about.


How do you install hardwood flooring? First, decide whether you want to use oak, maple or cherry, or rustic ash. Oak is the most expensive kind of hardwood material, but it is reputably the best and the sturdiest. If you’re working under a particular budget, maple or rustic ash are also okay and will last as long as oak with proper care and maintenance.

Next, prepare the following materials: the hardwood planks, a vapor barrier paper, a pry bar, a hammer, a speed drill and drill bits, a pneumatic flooring pack (which consists of a nail gun, staples, a mallet, a hose, and an air compressor), a staple gun, a tape measure, a chalk line, and, of course, your how-to manual.

It would be wise to study the manual before you go about hammering away so you don’t waste time. Some hardware stores already have prepackaged hardwood installation necessities so you can avoid the hassle of looking for each piece. Of course, you shouldn’t forget your safety goggles and gloves, as all the drilling and hammering could produce wood dust and can be harmful when inhaled.

Before buying hardwood floor planks, measure the surface where you are going to install them. Order planks that are around 10 to 15 inches bigger to allow room for errors. Expect that your initial attempt will be very challenging, but once you get that first plank in place, the rest should be a breeze.

Get rid of squeaks by tightly nailing the hardwood plank into the subfloor. When cutting, always provide extra space. When you’re dealing with hardwood floors, it’s best to go over and make the necessary adjustments than be left with a space that would look awkward to fill.

If you got a prefinished hardwood floor, then the job is done after you’ve installed the planks in place. But if you bought wood in its purest form, you should also pre-equip yourself with sanding and finishing tools and prepare for another challenging task ahead.