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Archive: Oct 2016

  • PRESSURE WASHING MAKES YOUR HOME LOOK FRESH AND NEW AGAIN

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    PRESSURE WASHING MAKES YOUR HOME LOOK FRESH AND NEW AGAIN

    PRESSURE WASHING MAKES YOUR HOME LOOK FRESH AND NEW AGAINPower washing is an easy and affordable way to improve your home’s appearance. Not only can you take pride in a well-maintained home, but keeping your exterior bright and clean, including driveways, decks, and patios, keeps up the aesthetic value and curb appeal, vital should you want to put your home on the market. In fact, in a 2014 Zillow survey, real estate agents named curb appeal one of the five most important factors in selling a home.

    Power washing is also a good way to prepare a home’s surface for repainting as it removes peeling, flaking, and chalking paint. Dirt, dust, mold, mildew and moss can be removed from almost anything with the high pressure water stream.

    “The benefits of pressure washing include providing protection against building material degradation,” said Dorrance Noonan, CEO of A-iPower, a manufacturer of portable generators, pressure washers, water pumps, and gasoline engines. “When contaminants, such as mold, mildew, or algae remain on the siding material, it can cause permanent staining as well as premature paint failure.”

    Selecting a pressure washer

    “When choosing a pressure washer, buyers should understand PSI and GPM ratings,” Noonan said.

    PRESSURE WASHING MAKES YOUR HOME LOOK FRESH AND NEW AGAINPSI: The PSI (pounds per square inch) rating is the maximum amount of force (pressure) discharged by the pressure washer. The higher the PSI, the more cleaning power available and the more things you will be able to clean.

    GPM: A pressure washer’s GPM (gallons per minute) rating refers to the water flow during one minute of operation. The higher the GPM, the faster you will be able to clean.

    “Look for your pressure washer to have more than one nozzle that is easy to change out and connect,” Noonan said. “A 0-degree nozzle is designed for blasting tough mud and rust. It delivers a pinpoint stream of pressurized water and is extremely powerful. This nozzle should only be directed at surfaces that can withstand high pressure such as metal or concrete. Do not use this nozzle to clean wood.”

    Other nozzle options include a 25-degree nozzle is designed for general cleaning of roofs, driveways and light stains, and a chemical (soap) nozzle for extra dirty jobs. It produces the weakest pressure stream of the three nozzles.

    Noonan also advised choosing a model that has at least 25 feet of non-marring, long-reach, high- pressure hose for flexible access. Wheels also make it easier to move around the yard or driveway.

    Before you begin

    With its powerful spray, precautions are necessary to protect certain areas around the house from harmful water pressure. Cover exterior fixtures like lights, shrubs, and plants. Cover with drop cloths or plastic covering and secure with duct tape. You may desire to hose down the greenery with clear water first.

    Be cautious around the electric lines and conduit feeding the meter as well as the central air conditioner – high-voltage shock hazards that can kill you.

    Angle the spray away from vents, soffit vents, and doors. Never spray windows – high pressure will break them.

    Get a feel for the strength of the spray so you don’t damage your siding. Test by holding the pressure washer nozzle with both hands. Squeeze the spray gun trigger to allow the pump to purge air and impurities in the system. Then, standing about 3 to 4 feet away from the home’s exterior, aim the wand at a 45-degree angle to avoid gouging or denting. Move it in closer until you feel the spray is strong enough to remove dirt but not strong enough to cause damage.

    Avoid streaking on vertical surfaces by applying the detergent from the bottom up. Work in small sections you can easily identify. Rinse thoroughly from the top down to wash away the cleaning agent and avoid streaks on a clean surface.

    Safety first

    Pressure washers are easy to use, but they are a powerful tool. Never point the spray at another person, pet, or yourself – critical injuries can result. Before using a pressure washer:

    • Read your operator’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use, maintenance, and storage.
    • Always wear safety goggles and closed-toe shoes, and protect yourself from the possibility of direct spray as well as flying debris.
    • Place the pressure washer on a flat area before starting.
    • Firmly hold the gun assembly properly, engaging the safety latches when not spraying. The safety latches prevent water from spraying accidentally.
    • After turning off the pressure washer, always release any pressure by squeezing the trigger before disconnecting the hoses and nozzles.
    • The engine and motor of a pressure washer can get very hot after extended use, so use caution when moving the washer.
    • Don’t let children use a pressure washer and do not allow them to play around a pressure washer when it is in use.
    • Wear rubber soled shoes and long sleeve shirts and pants.
    • When using an extension wand, be extremely careful it doesn’t come into contact with overhead wires.
  • HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS ESSENTIAL

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    “It’s important for homeowners to be aware of the importance of emergency planning before a weather emergency. Having a portable electrical generator on hand when it will be needed most is a big part of such a plan,” said Dorrance Noonan, CEO of A-iPower, a manufacturer of portable power equipment. “Generators can keep the lights on, food cold, pump water, and run essentials such as cell phones, televisions, and laptops.”

    When choosing a portable generator, Noonon said homeowners should look for these features:

    • Enough power: Choose a generator with enough wattage output to power the appliances you’ll need in an emergency. Look for continuous running watts rather than surge wattage ratings when determining the correct generator to buy.
    • Sufficient electrical outlets: A portable generator should have enough receptacles for the devices a homeowner wants to run. Models that include a multi-outlet cord offer greater convenience.
    • Long enough run time on a full tank of gas: Look for a generator that will run through the night without refilling.
    • Portability. Choosing a generator equipped with wheels and handles makes it a lot easier on the user.

    Noonan also advised having extra generator fuel and extension cords on hand.

    Generator Safety

    When the power goes out, a homeowner’s first thoughts are to get the lights back on as soon as possible. But as with any connection to a voltage supply source, caution is urged. Noonan advised that when starting up the generator, take time to observe the following important safety rules.

    • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s operating manual and instructions before running a generator.
    • NEVER run a generator inside the house or a garage. Running engines give off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be lethal. Keep the generator away from open windows, vents, and doors.
    • Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household protection devices. Either plug appliances directly into the generator with power cords that are in good condition or have an electrician install a certified transfer switch.
    • Be careful when refueling the portable generator. Shut it down and allow it to cool down between fills.
    • Do not operate the generator near combustible materials.
    • Don’t get the generator wet or you risk the possibility of electrocution. Running it in your garage is not safe either because the carbon monoxide fumes can seep into your house. There are products on the market that provides a tent-like cover on the machine, allowing you to safely run it and refuel it during wet weather.

    Have an Emergency Preparedness Kit Ready

    Although a portable generator can help keep your home up and running, other things need to be considered when severe weather, especially a hurricane, strikes.  Among things to consider are an emergency kit, readily accessible, comprised of the following:

    • Canned or pre-packaged food that doesn’t require cooking, and a can opener.
    • First aid kit with bandages, scissors, tweezers, antibacterial spray or lotion, pain relievers, and prescription medications.
    • A three-to-five day supply of bottled water – at least one gallon per person per day.
    • Blankets and/or sleeping bags.
    • Baby food or formula and diapers
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Wet cleaning cloths (like baby wipes) in case you don’t have clean water

    In case you need to leave quickly during a hurricane, always keep an emergency kit in your car, too, and top off the gas tank before the storm strikes. Make sure you include:

    • Food and water
    • Flares
    • Jumper or booster cables
    • First Aid Kit
    • Sleeping bags or blankets
    • Flashlight and extra batteries

    The following websites also provide detailed information on hurricane preparedness.

    The Weather Channel, Weather.com

    National Hurricane Center/National Weather Service, NHC.NOAA.gov

    Centers for Disease Control – Natural Disasters and Severe Weather, Emergency.cdc.gov

    FEMA, Fema.gov

    About A-iPower

    A-iPower offers portable generators, pressure washers, water pumps, and gasoline engines providing innovative, cost-effective solutions for power needs at home, at the job site, and on the weekend. From our headquarters in Ontario, California, and our technical and distribution center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opening in late 2016, the A-iPower team is dedicated to providing excellent customer service and ideal product solutions for the wide range and differing needs of consumer and commercial power generation equipment. For more information phone 626-888-3598 or visit our website at A-iPower.com.