How to Keep Your Home Cool in the Summer

Posted on June 28, 2021.

Call it climate warming, but the summers in Minnesota are getting hotter, more humid, and more unbearable. When heat indexes are on the rise, there are other ways you can keep your house cool rather than cranking up the air conditioner, which means a higher electric bill. Try some of these tips. 

Close Blinds and Shades 

Windows produce a ton of extra heat in your home, especially on a sunny day. Keeping the shades and blinds closed in the morning can keep extra heat out, and prevent your air conditioning from working extra hard to combat that temperature.  

Invest in Blackout Curtains 

Blackout curtains can work wonders when it comes to keeping heat out, or IN in the winter months. Blackout curtains are thick to block out the sunlight, but also the inside is reflective to the outside to keep from soaking up any more of the sun’s heat. In older homes, they can help with any leaky windows from letting hot or cool air in, which saves you money! They are also great for those LONG days in the summer, where the sun wakes us up before our alarm or is still up when we wind down for bed. They are definitely a great investment! 

Change your Sheets 

You should have different sheets for each season, especially in Minnesota where we get to experience every single type of weather. Swap out your winter flannel or fleece sheets for a more breathable fabric like bamboo, cotton, or linen. The lighter fabrics like cotton are going to be naturally cooling, which improves sleep because our bodies actually prefer cold to sleep. Cooling mattress pads and pillows are also a great way to stay cool at night.  

Cook Outside 

Instead of using your oven, opt for grilling outside. Using the oven to cook dinner can really heat up your house, and most things you are cooking in the oven can be made on the grill! Make the switch and enjoy the outdoors, then bring it inside to eat your delicious meal in the nice, cool, air conditioning in your home. 

 

Take Advantage of Cooler Evenings 

Summer evenings can see cooler temperatures, which is perfect weather to open those windows for some fresh air and to give the AC a break.  

 

Run the Ceiling Fan Counterclockwise 

If you have a ceiling fan, did you know that there is a switch on the side or top of its motor that can change the direction to clockwise or counterclockwise? A counter-clockwise turn will push the cool air down and is the way you should have your fan running during the hot summer months. On the other hand, a clockwise turn, will draw cool air upwards and is best for winter weather. 

 

Keep Unused Rooms Closed 

To fully maximize your air conditioning, and cool the house down overall, close the doors to rooms that aren’t being used or aren’t regular living areas. Rooms like the laundry room, spare bedrooms, bathrooms. If you have central air vents, close those vents, which will help force that air to the other parts of the house you need cooled down. 

Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned 

Dust and pollutants can build up in your air ducts over time and, aside from causing potential respiratory problems, it can keep your central air conditioning from working properly. Getting your air ducts cleaned out by a Service Master professional can save you money. Don’t let your ducts turn into a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, mold spores, and other microbes, call us to get them cleaned properly and boost that air conditioning. 

before and after of air duct after air duct cleaning, air duct cleaning minneapolis 

 

Follow these tips and enjoy a cool summer. Remember though, a blocked or dirty air duct can negate all that work your air conditioner is doing, so call us or request a free quote for air duct cleaning and maintenance. Stay cool! 

 

This is an updated blog. The original was first published here on July 17, 2019. 

 

 


How to Get Smell Out of Carpet

Posted on June 26, 2021.

How to get smell of the carpet.

Do you notice a musty smell coming from your carpet even though you vacuum daily? It’s only been a year, or maybe less, since you had your new carpet installed and all you can smell is your dogs. Or maybe it is an older but in good condition carpeting that has a lingering smell. Try some of these natural solutions to help get that smell out of your carpet and keep your carpet looking like it did the day you purchased it. 

 

Baking Soda  

Baking soda is a staple in most households. It is very effective at absorbing liquids as well as odors. Sprinkle baking soda across your carpet, let it sit on the carpet for a couple of hours, then vacuum thoroughly. 

You can add essential oils to baking soda to add some fresh scent. Combine two cups of baking soda with 15 drops of essential oil in a container, shake it, and then sprinkle it to cover the carpet. Let sit for a couple of hours, then vacuum thoroughly.   

Vinegar 

If there is a musty odor in your carpet, mildew could be growing inside the fibers. This doesn’t mean you need to replace the carpet you just need to start with some vinegar. Combine one cup of vinegar with two cups of warm water in a spray bottle, shake it up, spray the entire carpet and allow it to dry. The strong vinegar scent will neutralize as the mixture dries.   

Vodka 

Yes, you read that correctly, Vodka. Vodka is not only capable of making delicious cocktails, but it is also an excellent stain remover. After treating a spot, you can spray some vodka on it to further remove color and odor. Leave the vodka to work for up to 15 minutes. Blot it out using paper towels. 

Borax, Baking Soda, and Essential Oil 

Baking soda is a go-to for deodorizing carpet smells but it is also very useful in removing bacteria, mold, or mildew. Borax is an acid often used in cleaning, pesticides, and killing mold. Mold can cause a musty smell in a carpet, so it is time to take action if you notice this. Combine half a cup of borax with one cup of baking soda in a container, add 15-20 drops of essential oil, sprinkle the mixture on the carpet, let it sit on the carpet for an hour, and then vacuum thoroughly to remove the powder.   

If you have tried these methods and you can’t get that smell out of your carpet, it is time to consult with a professional. At ServiceMaster, we will get your carpet smelling and looking new in no time! Service Master is also available to assist in cleaning windows, air ducts, tiles, and more. Contact us today at (612) 354-5466 to schedule an appointment.  


Getting Your Home Ready for Summer in 8 Simple Steps

Posted on June 23, 2021.

Getting Your Home Ready for Summer in 8 Simple Steps 

As we approach the end of June and the Summer solstice has just started, the memories of hibernating indoors from the cold weather have hopefully faded away. Maybe you have not had the time to get your home ready for summer yet and kept putting that spring cleaning off. That’s ok. Here are 8 easy steps to get your home ready for summer without having to commit a lot of time. 

  1. Clean Outdoor Areas

Nice weather means more time spent outside! Start by sweeping, scrubbing, or power-washing your deck, driveway, patio, or any outdoor seating areas. This will remove the junk winter and spring have left behind like salt residue and snow run-off. Regularly wiping down your outdoor patio furniture and tables can keep pollen at a minimum, and ensure you and your guests don’t suffer from allergies while enjoying the outdoors. 

  1. Clean Your Grill

You have probably had your outdoor grill stored away all winter, so when you finally break it out, it’s best to clean it thoroughly before use. Use a stainless-steel bristle brush to clean off, and if you can remove the grills, give them a good power wash with the hose. Using a mix of vinegar and water can help break off burnt-on food and grease, with a food-safe cleaning solution! Make sure you replenish your supply of charcoal or propane so you can throw burgers on the grill in a pinch, or be prepared for an impromptu BBQ. 

  1. Trap Dirt Before It Enters your Home 

Greet your family and friends at any entrance or exit doors, inside and outside, with a rug to help keep dirt and mud from getting tracked into your house. This can save time on sweeping, mopping, and wiping your floors repeatedly as well as keeping from minimizing the amount of dirt that enters your house. Washable rugs make clean up very easy, especially if you have young kids and pets.  

  1. The Clockwise Rule

Cleaning rooms in a clockwise motion helps from getting distracted in one specific area at a time. As you are moving around the room in a clockwise motion, you can declutter as you go, and note any bigger, deep cleaning projects that need to be taken care of. When you go back to those deep cleaning tasks, continue to work around the room clockwise. So, if the dresser comes around before the closet, clean in that order, and let it act as a visual checklist.  

  1. Clear out the Medicine Cabinet

This is the perfect opportunity to clean out the often-neglected medicine cabinet. Leave cold and flu season behind you and toss out any expired or empty cough and cold medicine. Organize loose cough drops, Kleenex, vapor rub, etc. This allows room to replace all that cold medicine with summer necessities like sunscreen, bug spray, aloe vera, Band-Aids, and allergy pills. Being prepared for the sun, playing outdoors, and the times when the sunscreen fails will be far more useful to you in these coming months.  

  1. Get Rid of Winter Grime

As the bright, sunny days start shining through your windows, you might be noticing the unsightly dust on your blinds and window sills and the streaks on your windows. A dampened cloth can easily remove that dust from between the blinds and from the window sills. Use a simple vinegar and water solution to remove the dust and streaks from the windows. Another way to clear the air is either buy an air purifier. Make sure your air purifier gets cleaned, sanitized, and the filter gets replaced. This helps remove dust, allergens, and even mold spores from the air you breathe! 

  1. De-Clutter and Store Unused Items

Schedule a family decluttering weekend. Make sure you and your household can dedicate the time to focus, free of distractions, and have some fun while cleaning out unneeded items. Crank the tunes, order a pizza, and get to work. This time of year is a great opportunity to clean out the basement, empty the garage, clean out the closets, and get rid of outdated clothes. Some great tips to follow to keep on task when decluttering are: 

  • Take a moment to scan the room and pick your starting place. Clear off a counter close to the area to set things aside. 
  • Designate a keep, maybe, donate and junk areas.  Maybe purchase clear storage bins, that you can label for each of these areas. 
  • As you start going through the room, pick up 3-5 small items, and find the right home for those items, or place them in the appropriate bin.   
  • Set all incoming mail, papers, and documents aside in one area. You can quickly sort or toss them at the end.
     
  1. The Cleaning Power of Vinegar!

If you aren’t aware of the magical power of vinegar as a cleaning solution, you are missing out. Cleaning products for the home can be costly, and harsh on surfaces. Having a gallon jug of white distilled vinegar can ensure you always have a gentle, but powerful cleaning solution. Use the suggested ratios and mixes below for making your solution, depending on its use. 

  • Surface Cleaner – Spray directly with white vinegar and wipe clean with a warm, wet rag. NOT Recommended for marble or granite surfaces.
  • Window Cleaner – A 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar mix will do wonders on windows and glass surfaces. Wipe it off with a coffee filter for a streak-free shine!
  • Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures – Tie a baggy filled with vinegar over your sink or tub faucet, let sit overnight, and run warm water through the next day. This will remove any grimy build-up around the faucet head. Pour vinegar directly into the toilet or plugged drain and let sit overnight. Drain the vinegar and scrub with a little bit of baking soda to reveal bright white ceramic!
  • Wood Floors – Add 1/2 a cup of vinegar to a bucket of warm water. This will also work for laminate and tiled floors. 
  • Wood Furniture – 1:4 ratio of vinegar to olive oil will gently polish and shine your wood furnishings. A few drops of lemon oil can give an added burst of freshness!
  • Disinfectant – A 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar mixture can be used to wipe down toys, door handles, faucets, telephones, etc. Ridding everyday items from harmful germs. Also helps remove stuck-on grime from your stovetop, grill, or other cooking surfaces.This is an updated blog. The original was first published on May 7, 2019.

Don’t forget to Check your Filters

Posted on June 21, 2021.

Don’t forget to Check your Filters.Summer is just starting to kick into high gear but make sure you take preventive measures with your furnace by checking your filters regularly. Your filters are just as important for your furnace when you are running your central air as when you are running your heat. If you are like most people, you probably do not give your furnace much thought as long as it’s keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. One easy way to keep up with this maintenance is to check your filters once a month and replace them at least every three months. Set a reminder on your phone or place a note on your refrigerator so you don’t forget.   

 

Why should you worry about the filters on your furnace? Here are the top reasons you should maintain a regular maintenance schedule. 

 

Clean systems will make your furnace last longer 

As you run your furnace, whether heating or cooling, dirt accumulates in the filter and it will accumulate even faster during peak use. When filters become clogged with dirt, the air can’t pass through easily, making the system work harder, causing overheating.  

Overheating the system can cause serious damage and could even result in needing to replace the furnace.   

 

Helps to reduce energy costs 

On average the household spends over $2,200 a year on its energy bill. When you consistently change your air filter, you can save anywhere from 5-15% on your utility costs. Maintaining your furnace by replacing the filters regularly, your system is going to operate efficiently and keep your energy costs more reasonable and within your budget. If you are not checking your filters regularly and they are getting clogged and full of dirt, they are going to cause your furnace to not operate efficiently or effectively causing your energy costs to be higher.   

 

Healthy air 

Poor indoor air quality can cause symptoms such as eye irritation, sneezing, and respiratory problems. People who suffer from asthma and allergies are significantly affected by poor indoor air quality. Changing the air filter in your furnace regularly will prevent dust, dirt, mold spores, allergens, and pet dander from building up in the air inside your home.   

 

Replacing your filters is an easy, inexpensive step to take to save money, extend the life of your furnace and improve your indoor air quality. It also decreases the amount of energy your house uses.   

 

Need to deep clean your home to improve the air quality and get a fresh start? Contact Service Master today at (612) 354-5466 to schedule an appointment or check out our information here. 

 


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