Poolside Health And Safety

Power Washing

Warm Weather To-Do List

Avoid Air Pollution

How To End Odors

Carpet Cleaning

Eliminate Indoor Mold

Dehumidifiers For Air Quality


Be In The Swim With Safety

(NAPSI)—For many families, backyard fun in the sun involves the swimming pool. Experts recommend setting the stage for swimming safety before a single bathing suit ever gets wet.

“Swimming pool safety should be on the minds of every parent,” said Emily Piercefield with the Healthy Swimming Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Reinforcing safe swimming practices with kids is the best way to make them second nature—like wearing seat belts.”

Here are some simple poolside health and safety tips:

• Keep Swimmer’s Ear at Bay—To ward off swimmer’s ear, only swim in properly maintained pools, keep ears as dry as possible with a bathing cap or earplugs, and dry ears thoroughly with a towel after swimming.

• Check for Healthy/Safe Water Levels—Swimming pools can be unhealthy if pool water is contaminated. The CDC recommends testing your pool’s water. Products such as AquaChek Pool and Spa Test Strips can be used to test pool water at least three times a week for active sanitizer (chlorine, bromine, other), pH, total alkalinity and other water conditions if the pool is not being used. If use of the pool increases, test more often.

Simply dip a test strip into your pool or spa, then compare it to the color chart on the product’s label. You’ll know immediately how safe and clean your pool water is and what chemical adjustments are needed to ensure continued cleanliness. Public pool users can also pack water test strips in their pool bag to check that the water is safe for swimming.

• Keep Poolside Areas Clutter-Free—To prevent accidents such as slipping and falling into or around pools, make it a point to pack up pool toys and supplies that are not in use.

• Put Up Protective Barriers—Learn what types of enclosures, such as self-latching fences or gates, should be used to keep kids from entering your pool while unattended.

• Set Pool Parameters—Establish guidelines for kids and visitors. Talk to kids about swimming only when an adult is present and never going to the bathroom while in a pool. Make sure all pool patrons understand the dangers of running, jumping and diving into and around pools.

Visit for more information on swimming safety.

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What To Know About Power Washing

(NAPSI)—Whether you are getting your home into shape after a season of rough weather, preparing to put your house on the market or just want to see it sparkle, the answer can be a power washer.

What It Does

A power washer is an outdoor power tool that makes cleaning easier by using the force of a high-pressure spray to loosen dirt and flush it away. A typical garden hose dispenses water at about 35−40 pounds per square inch (PSI), while a coin-operated car wash provides about 700 PSI. A power washer, by contrast, typically dispenses water at several thousand PSI, depending upon the model. You can also use detergents with a power washer for even more effective cleaning. Often, there are accessories you can buy that make cleaning even easier.

You can use it to simply take the dirt and grime off the driveway or patio furniture, scrub mold and mildew off concrete or prep the house for painting, depending on how high the pressure the unit provides.

Making It Better

To make high-pressure cleaning jobs faster and easier, Generac Power Systems, a leader in portable engine-driven products, conducted extensive research with users to learn what they wanted from a power washer.

For example, every power washer Generac produces has an easily accessible pump well above the ground, so you don’t have to kneel down to make hose connections. Plus, they all boast an overhead valve (OHV) horizontal-shaft engine so you get plenty of power. Each engine also comes standard with low-oil shutdown—a feature that is not often available—to protect and prolong engine life. Both the pump and engine are perfectly balanced above the axle for almost effortless maneuverability, regardless of terrain.

Additionally, Generac completely customized the spray gun with ergonomics in mind. Longer than many other spray guns, it features a unique cushion grip that reduces fatigue by minimizing vibration. The innovative easy-to-pull trigger can be pulled and held with only a minimum of effort, while a Quick-Click™ nozzle tip can tackle virtually every cleaning task.

These units from Generac feature tool-free assembly, so you can use the power washer right out of the box.

Learn More

For more information, visit or call (888)-GENERAC.

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Your Warm Weather To-Do List

(NAPSI)—Warmer days can inspire homeowners to go outdoors—to garden and perhaps do a little grilling—but before you get to relax and enjoy your yard, you may want to inspect the outside of your home for winter damage.

At least once a year, it’s a good idea to walk slowly around your home with a notepad and make a repair to-do list.

Here are a few things to look for:

• Gutters. You will probably need a ladder for this chore but make sure that your gutters are not clogged with leaves. Extend leaders five feet from the house.

• Check outdoor paint. Rain and snow can cause paint to flake, chip and peel. Blistering and peeling of interior and/or exterior paint can be caused by excessive temperature or high humidity due to poor attic ventilation. Make a note to sand off any peeling and repaint.

• Check the deck. Look for water stains where the deck intersects with the house. Water leakage can lead to wood decay. Use a pressure washer to get rid of moss and mold. If your deck requires a lot of upkeep, consider replacing it with a new low-maintenance composite deck, such as one of GAF’s DuraLife premium decking products that provide protection against mold, mildew, staining and fading.

• Clear your air conditioner. If you have an outdoor air-conditioning unit, clear it of leaves and debris. Be sure the power is off.

• Examine your foundation for fissures and cracks. Minor cracks are not a big deal but they are something to monitor in case they get worse. If cracks spread, be sure to call a professional to examine your foundation.

• Look up to your roof. Inspect the roof for cracked, curled or missing shingles. This can signify that the shingles have reached the end of their life.

Check for leaks by looking in the attic and at the rafters. Leaky or inadequate shingle underlayment or deteriorated flashing can damage structural beams and promote the growth of dangerous mold. If your shingles are in poor shape, investing in a new roof may be a smart idea and can help prevent even more serious damage and health risks such as interior mold development.

When deciding on roofing systems, always choose quality and durability. While there are many manufacturers to choose from, the GAF brand has been a favorite of professional installers and homeowners, who have made it the largest-selling brand in North America. Their Timberline shingles are available nationwide and carry a lifetime limited warranty.

For more information, visit

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Avoid Indoor Air Pollution

(NAPSI)—Many Americans may be breathing easier once they learn how simple it can be to keep their homes cleaner and more comfortable.

Airborne contaminants such as mold can be a big headache for homeowners. Research published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests that cleaning air ducts can go a long way toward reducing them.

What The Scientists Did

An independent lab and a team of allergists experimented in several houses, summer and winter, following four steps:

1. Cleaned the air ducts and the rest of the heating and cooling system;

2. Applied a chemical to treat microbial contaminants, such as mold;

3. Sealed the ducts to close up leaks; and

4. Installed an electrostatic filter to keep the system clean.

The results were excellent: They reduced microbial contaminants by 84 to 92 percent. According to the study, excess moisture in the heating and cooling system is the main cause of fungal contamination.

What You Can Do

The experts at the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), which certifies heating and cooling cleaning professionals, recommend maintenance procedures that reflect these practices. They suggest you:

• Inspect your air ducts. Use a small mirror and flashlight or digital camera to take a picture. If there is visible dust, dirt or debris, you should have your air ducts cleaned.

• On a regular basis, clean your entire heating and cooling system—not only the air ducts but the coils and other components of the furnace. These get dirty over time.

• Use a good filter. If you’re not sure, talk to the heating and cooling technician who comes out to your house to service the system.

• Work with a qualified contractor. Having the job done right can save considerable time and money.

These steps can go a long way in helping you improve the quality of the air in your home, while also saving you a considerable amount of money by using less energy. This also helps the environment.

Learn More

For more information or to find a NADCA member nearby, visit or call (202) 737-2926.

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The Top Five Worst Household Odors—And How To Handle Them

(NAPSI)—Call them “America’s Most Unwanted.” They’ve been known to hold entire households hostage, causing shortness of breath, nausea and panic in their victims. At the very least, they keep “home sweet home” from smelling so sweet. The culprits are household odors and these are the worst of the worst.

Survey Of Stinks

According to a recent nationwide survey, more than eight out of 10 Americans think rotting garbage or garbage can odor is the most offensive household smell. Rounding out the top five, in order, were pet odors, mold, body odor/sweat and tobacco odor. Nearly 70 percent of all respondents ranked these five smells as the worst smells in the home, with significantly more women (75 percent) turning their noses up at tobacco odors as compared to men (59 percent).

How To End Odors

Fortunately for men and women, simply vacuuming can eliminate many household odors.

“Because odors are commonly trapped in carpets, these ‘foul five’ are some of the most notoriously difficult to eliminate,” said Leiah Nhem, product manager for ARM & HAMMER vacuum accessories. “Vacuuming is an important first step in safely and naturally eliminating these odors from your home.”

Instead of covering up the offensive odors, ARM & HAMMER vacuum accessories eliminate smells through the natural odor-fighting power of baking soda. As air moves through the vacuum, the odor comes in contact with baking soda crystals that are bonded to the bags and filters. The odor is then permanently sealed inside the crystals—turning even the most offending odor particle into a new, non-odorous form.

Vacuums with a HEPA filter trap and remove odor-causing particles such as pet dander, mold spores, dust and other allergens up to 75 times smaller than a human hair. These microscopic fragments can ferment in carpeting and upholstery, creating the acidic fumes that result in unpleasant odors.

Some of the biggest odor complaints from the survey are smells that can originate from the tiniest of particles, such as mold or pet hair. These stubborn odors reappear after traditional remedies such as air fresheners or candles lose their strength, but using odor-eliminating vacuum bags and filters can help permanently—and naturally—neutralize odors so they’re gone for good.

Other Odor Remedies

Other ways to deodorize your house include:

• Open a box of baking soda and place it on a shelf in the room.

• Wash dish sponges in the dishwasher.

• Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with two cups of water in a trigger spray bottle and spray the room with the mixture whenever it needs it.

• A sprinkle of baking soda dissolves odors in garbage cans, diaper pails, boots and litter boxes, too.

• If you have a garbage disposer, put lemon or orange rinds down it every month or so.

• Clean out the refrigerator regularly to remove spoiled food and put a new, open box of baking soda in every four months.

Learn More

For more information and to locate odor-eliminating bags and filters for a specific vacuum, visit

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Spring Into Cleaning

NAPSI)—Cleaning may not be your idea of fun in the sun, but the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers a few tips to help make it a breeze:

• HVAC filters—use quality electrostatic filters that attract particles to the filter. Clean once per month.

• Increase vacuum frequency—since about 75 percent of carpet soil is dry particulate, vacuuming more often prevents soil from embedding deep into carpets.

• Use high-efficiency filter bags—high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) double-lined vacuum filter bags filter out 99 percent of particles that cause respiratory irritation.

• Carpet cleaning—a professional carpet cleaning is an integral part of the spring cleaning process and helps to reduce allergens in the home. For professional cleaning jobs, look for an IICRC Certified Firm. Confirm their training and certification and always obtain a written estimate. To locate a certified professional and for more information, visit or call (800) 835-4624.

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Eliminate Indoor Mold With The Five Ds

(NAPSI)—After bouts of wet weather, homeowners may face a lingering and unwanted visitor: indoor mold. Not only can mold cause thousands of dollars of damage to a home, it can also be a health hazard.

Traditional mold-fighting solutions, like bleach, have limited effectiveness against mold and emit harmful chemicals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take. Here are the “Five Ds” for mold elimination and prevention:

1. Detect It—Where there’s a mold issue there’s a water issue. Determine the source of the water ingress—like leaking roofs—and fix the problem to stop water from infiltrating your home.

2. Dry It—If your home has been flooded, rent a water pump to dry affected areas. Once the water is removed, use fans to circulate and absorb moisture in the air. Open windows, doors, cabinets and closet doors to further promote circulation. Call a pro if the job feels too big or if you suspect sewer backup.

3. Ditch It—Throw out water-logged and mold-infested materials that are replaceable, such as carpeting. General rule: If in doubt, throw it out. If drywall has absorbed water, it should be cut out 12 inches above the water level and replaced once the room is dried out.

4. Deactivate It—Use a non-toxic solution to fight remaining indoor mold. Avoid bleach; it doesn’t penetrate to the roots of mold, so your mold problem will keep coming back. And bleach emits harmful fumes. There are nontoxic products on the market that can be used on a range of surfaces and are more effective. Concrobium Mold Control, for example, is an EPA-registered “2-in-1” mold-fighting solution that both eliminates mold and prevents it from coming back, and contains no bleach or other harmful chemicals. Concrobium is available at home improvement retailers including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards, as well as local hardware and grocery stores.

5. Dehumidify It—Run a dehumidifier to take additional moisture out of the air. Maintain indoor relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent and monitor humidity levels with a hygrometer, an inexpensive device found at many hardware stores.

Following the “Five Ds” can help alleviate mold issues in your home.

Learn More

For tips on mold control and to download a prevention checklist, visit and

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Put A Damper On Mold And Musty Odors

(NAPSI)—Musty odors coming from the basement or crawlspace are not only extremely unpleasant but can be both dangerous and expensive to correct if left untreated.

Excess moisture is the most common problem in basements and crawlspaces—either coming from outside or produced inside the home by everyday activities. Studies show that as much as 50 percent of the air in a home comes from the basement or crawlspace. In essence, whatever air is below the house is also inside the house. This can contribute to poor indoor air quality and cause uncomfortably high humidity levels. It may lead to costly problems such as cupping of hardwood floors, mold growth, increased air conditioner loads and swelling of millwork and cabinetry. Millions of Americans battle high humidity levels in their homes.

If you store anything of value in your basement or if you use your basement as living space, it is important to keep the moisture levels low. Relative humidity levels rising above 50 percent stimulate the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and other biological allergens, which generate musty odors and can aggravate allergies.

Several organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, American Lung Association and American Medical Association, recommend using dehumidifiers to maintain humidity levels of 60 percent or less in the home.

High-capacity dehumidifiers, such as the ones from Santa Fe, are the most energy efficient on the market and are designed to effectively operate in the cooler temperatures of a basement or crawlspace. The units help maintain the structural integrity of your home, inhibit mold growth and improve the indoor air quality of your home by removing odor-causing moisture.

“Humidity has been a constant problem in our basement and my fear was that if the humidity was not addressed, that mold would eventually develop,” said one homeowner. “The small dehumidifiers I had tried had almost no impact. The Santa Fe took the humidity from over 70 percent down to 40 percent overnight. This was absolutely amazing, as our basement is 2,000 square feet with separate rooms. It feels more comfortable and smells better.”

The dehumidifier line features an oversized moisture removal coil, regenerative heat exchanger and high-capacity fan, which let the units remove two to three times more moisture per kilowatt of electricity than a conventional dehumidifier. All Santa Fe dehumidifiers feature superior air filtration, capturing allergens down to 1 micron in size.

For more information on controlling high humidity in basements and crawlspaces, visit

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