Hot Water Extraction – The Most Popular Way to Clean Carpets

If you’re like most of us, you use hot water when you need a little help getting something clean – your hands, the dishes, or maybe your favorite shirt. That’s because a little extra heat can break bonds, dissolve substances, and to help release dirt or stains into the water. It’s no wonder that we count on hot water to clean carpets, too.

There’s just one catch: We’re always trying to keep water off of our carpets. Since when is it a good idea to spray water onto them?

As it turns out, getting carpets wet isn’t necessarily a problem – provided that you’ve got the means to get them dry again soon. That’s where the “extraction” in “hot water extraction” comes in. After application, extraction equipment is used to pull the water, cleaning solution, and stains up and out of the carpet. When the extraction is effective, just-cleaned carpets can dry in matter of hours.

It’s worth mentioning that some extractions are more effective than others, and that this has a bearing on the quality of the carpet cleaning. Equipment makes a difference; portable extraction equipment will leave more moisture in the carpet than more powerful, truck-mounted equipment. The amount of water and cleaning solution also makes a difference; as more liquid is applied, more will be left behind in the carpet.

If you want to use hot water extraction to clean your carpets, the keys are to use a minimum of liquid and to use the most powerful extraction equipment available. If you’re planning on cleaning the carpets on your own, be judicious in how much solution you spray; don’t overdo it – especially important when you consider that your portable cleaning machine will not be able to extract liquid as well as a professional could.

Many of Olympia’s carpet cleaners employ hot water extraction with excellent results. Of these, Meridian Chem-Dry is my favorite carpet cleaning company. They have top-of-the-line extraction equipment. They use a hot, carbonated cleaning solution. I believe they’re able to apply lighter sprays of solution than the competition; I know that their carpet cleanings are first-rate and fast-drying.

It might also please you to know that Meridian’s cleaning solution is completely safe and non-toxic. This is true of Chem-Dry as well as many other carpet cleaning companies. But it isn’t true of all of them. If you have health concerns (or children or pets), you should be able to find a similarly safe and non-toxic carpet cleaner near you. If you’re not sure about their solution, go ahead and ask. You won’t be the first to do it.

Remember: Hot liquids clean better. Less liquid used means less left behind. Truck mounted extraction equipment beats portable machines. If you use a professional, ask if his cleaning solutions are non-toxic. If you can check all of these boxes, a clean carpet will be your reward.

Are you Hearing Something New from your HVAC Unit?

Air conditioning units will always make some kind of noise, but what should you do when you start hearing new and different noises coming from your unit?

Firstly, it’s important to note the age of your unit. Older HVAC units are louder than newer models that have been designed specifically to run more quietly. If you’re moving into a new house and your unit seems exceptionally loud, it may just be an older model than you’re used to. There are ways of dampening the sound from the unit, but you’ll want to get in touch with your local HVAC maintenance professionals to determine the best way to suppress the noise without messing up performance.

There are some sounds that you can always tell are not normal though. It’s the same principle as your car. When you hear a new and strange noise coming from your car, you take it to the mechanic to get it checked out. By that logic, when you hear a violent rattling coming from your HVAC unit, it’s probably a good idea to call a professional to come look at it. Chances are if you catch the problem before it gets worse it could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs.

What is Normal and What isn’t?

Generally HVAC units should make a steady whirring sound when working correctly. As long as the noise coming from your unit sounds even and regular, it’s probably working just like it is supposed to.  After all it is a huge machine with a lot of moving parts, so it’s bound to make a fair amount of noise just on its own.

There are some things you should get checked out immediately though. The first thing you should do upon hearing any kind of grinding or rattling is turn your system off. If it’s outside or in a place that you can visually check it, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at it. You shouldn’t bother taking it apart or anything but check to make sure there isn’t a giant stick coming out of it or something obvious. Once you’ve turned your unit off and verified that it’s a tree didn’t fall on it and it’s not full of squirrels or something, give your local HVAC professional a call to come check and make sure everything is working properly. They’ll be happy to come take a look at your unit.

Common Sounds and What They Mean

Grinding – Generally when you hear grinding coming from your air conditioner, it has something to do with the fan motors. This is usually your first warning that something is going wrong with the motors, such as worn bearings or a lack of proper lubricant.

Hissing – Hissing or whistling usually has something to do with the ductwork in your home or business. Though if you hear it coming from the AC unit itself, you may be dealing with a refrigerant leak. This is a job that should only be handled by a professional. Do not attempt to fix this on your own (unless you’re an HVAC specialist, of course).

Rattling – Rattling is one of the most common noises that homeowners hear coming from their unit. Often this is caused by outside debris falling into the vents of your system and causing things to rattle inside the unit. It could also be a result of loose screws or bolts. In serious cases, rattling may be coming from your compressor, which probably means that it is starting to wear out.  As compressors age, they get louder and start to make new and different noises, which are usually the first sign of a problem.

Popping – If you’re hearing popping sounds when your air starts up or shuts off, it’s likely that you have some sort of issue with the ductwork in your home. As your ductwork ages, various things can start to cause problems, such as worn seals, or small tears, and like anything else it requires maintenance to remain in top working condition.

Preventing Noises in the First Place

One of the most important things that you can do to keep your HVAC system working properly is changing the filter regularly. Usually the packaging will tell you how often you should replace your filter, but make sure you take into account things that are going to clog up your filter faster. If you have excessive dust, pet hair, or smoke cigarettes regularly, these things can cause your filter to clog up faster and require you to change it more frequently.

In addition to keeping your filter clean, you should sign up for a regular maintenance plan with your local HVAC professional. Our local shop, Bradley Mechanical, offers regular maintenance plans, which make it easy to keep up on our HVAC maintenance. Chances are your local HVAC dealer will also be able to provide you with some kind of annual or semi-annual plan to check and make sure your HVAC system is ready to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

By following these two steps, you probably won’t ever have to deal with the different sounds mentioned above. If you are hearing the sounds, don’t panic, just call your local expert and they’ll be able to help you get your HVAC unit back to peak performance.