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What You Need to Know Before You Hire a Professional Cleaner

  • April 2, 2018

The idea that only the very wealthy can hire a cleaner for their homes is quickly becoming obsolete. Between the lowering cost of cleaning companies and the increased demands on our time, more people are outsourcing this everyday task.

Having someone else clean your home is a big deal. So when choosing a professional, what should you consider?

Risks
Security risks
Stealing happens so before you hire someone, make sure to do a background check. Ask for referrals from people you trust. If you’re hiring a cleaning company rather than an individual cleaner, those background checks should happen as part of their hiring process. Ask about this when researching prospective cleaners.

Health risks from products
If you have allergies or sensitivities to particular chemicals, then you should let the
cleaning company or individual know up-front. You might prefer to use all-natural and safer cleaning products. Either hire someone who has these products or purchase them yourself and have the cleaner use it.

Injuries and associated liability
If you hire a cleaning company, they are responsible for worker’s compensation in case of injury on the job. Ensure that they have it before signing on the dotted line. If an individual is cleaning your home, your home’s insurance may cover any liabilities if they get injured. Make sure you double check with your insurance company. Get legal advice if you’re still not sure.

Equipment and Cleaning Products
Some cleaners provide their own equipment and products and some use what you provide. Establish expectations beforehand and if there are any surfaces that would be damaged by harsh chemicals or abrasives, have the discussion early.

Cleaning Products and Your Home’s HVAC System
Cleaning chemicals in general must be used in properly ventilated spaces to prevent fumes from accumulating to dangerous levels. Many cleaning products, even all-natural ones, have scents that may irritate you, your family or those doing the work. Some are downright toxic. Ensure that your home’s ventilation system is in good working order before getting started.

Cleaning Products & Your Home’s Plumbing System
Everything used to clean your home will inevitably end up down the drain. Some harsh chemicals can corrode pipes (depending on the material). Older pipes may start leaking and newer pipes will have shorter lifespans. Ensure that your drainage system is in a good condition and make repairs where necessary. If you’re not sure what the pipe material is, have a professional take a look and do your due diligence before allowing anything harsh to go down the drain.

If you need help getting your home’s plumbing systems ready for you to bring in that cleaner, give us a call and we can help prevent any issues.

Getting Fixture Venting Right

  • March 7, 2018

Most people know about hot and cold water supply piping as well as the drain pipework that takes away the waste. But for the drainage system to work properly, there is another network of piping that allows free flow of waste, known as the plumbing vent system.

What Plumbing Vents Do
Unlike supply piping, drain systems have air in them. To keep the sewage pipes at atmospheric pressure so the waste can flow, they must be open to air. In your house, this is achieved using a system of pipes called the venting system.

How it Should be Done (Some Rules)
All fixture drains need to be vented. That means each sink, tub, toilet, and lavatory. Sometimes they can be combined but plumbing codes have rules about which fixtures can be combined and the size of pipe needed for each group.

Pipe size must be correct. This is also dictated by the plumbing code and depends on the plumbing drain size.

The vent stack must be terminated vertically through the roof. It cannot go through a side wall or the scent from the sewage system will enter open windows.

Vent piping must slope upward without dips to allow the sewage gas to escape.

The base of the stack must have a cleanout so any obstructions can be removed if needed.

There’s a maximum distance from the drain point to the vent stack connection point. This distance depends on the drain pipe size and slope. Additionally, fixtures must be connected above the height of the fixtures, or the vent pipe can become filled with water, rendering it ineffective.

Effects of Poor Venting
Poorly vented fixtures will make gurgling noises as the waste attempts to pass through the pipe and air in the pipe has nowhere to go. Bubbles of sewer air will come through the water in the p-traps and you’ll notice the smell.

Water can be siphoned out of the trap, leaving it open for sewer gases to enter your home. This is a health risk and needs to be addressed immediately.

Your waste will drain slowly. This often happens with the gurgling noise as the waste attempts to move along the pipe while pushing air ahead of it (air that’s supposed to exit through the venting system).

It’s Best to Have a Professional Take Care of it
If you’re having problems with your drainage system and you suspect poor venting, give us a call. If you’re planning to install new fixtures, we can help you ensure that they are properly vented to code so you prevent any of these issues from occurring.

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