Removing Rust Stains

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Rust can be a problem for many homeowners and business owners, especially if their water contains high levels of iron (commonly found in well water). And as you know, rust can be an eyesore. Though it may be difficult to remove if it is allowed to sit for several years, addressing it can at least diminish the appearance of stains. Power washers—especially when used with certain cleaning chemicals—as well as certain brushes (but be careful with using wire brushes) can be highly effective when it comes to removing rust.

Removing Rust from Metal Surfaces

If a metal surface is not painted, you can easily use a power washer in tandem with cleaning chemicals to remove stains. Pressure washers are highly recommended for rust and even paint removal from metal surfaces. They can blast away stains with their power and cleaning features.

  1. Select a pressure washer based on your specific needs. For example, you’ll want to decide whether to use a hot water or cold water pressure washer.
  2. Use the right wands and accessories. Most power washers come with a wide selection of nozzles to choose from; from narrow to wide-angled. When using pressure washers to remove paint or rust from metal surfaces, narrow angle nozzles are the best option as the concentrated pressurized water can exert its force on a small area for better results.
  3. Test a small area of the metal you are cleaning and adjust the pressure on your power washer accordingly. Be sure to follow safety measures when using a pressure washer.

Removing Rust from Concrete

Concrete is a rather durable surface, so you can easily remove most rust stains with the use of lemon juice and/or vinegar along with a hard-bristled brush.

  1. Wash the area in which you want to remove rust from with soap and water. Allow it to dry completely before continuing.
  2. Pour or spray pure lemon juice on the stain and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the rust stain off the surface.
  4. If the acid in lemon juice isn’t as effective on the stain as you had hoped, follow up by pouring or spraying white vinegar on the stain.
  5. Let it sit for 10 minutes and scrub with a stiff brush.
  6. Repeat with vinegar as necessary, until the stain is completely removed.
  7. Rinse the cleaned area with water

Removing Rust from Painted Surfaces

You likely won’t be able to use a high powered pressure washer or any hard bristled brushes on painted surfaces without damaging or removing the paint. Your best bet is to try and remove stains with a sponge instead.

  1. Use diluted white vinegar when working on painted surfaces (1 cup of vinegar to ½ cup of water). Spray the vinegar on the stain, but test a small corner of the surface first to ensure you won’t stain or damage the paint.
  2. Use a sponge to dab at the stain and scrub in small circles.
  3. It may take a several washes to fully remove the rust, but patience and persistence will pay off!

Fighting Major Rust Stains

Sometimes, lemon juice and vinegar just won’t cut it. In these case, it’s best to rely on heavy-duty cleaning chemicals like F9 BARC and a power washer. When using harsh chemicals be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, use gloves and eye protection, and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your skin. You’ll also want to make sure you fully rinse chemicals off surfaces completely and quickly after cleaning to avoid discoloring the surface.

  1. Mix and apply your cleaning chemical of choice as indicated on the directions.
  2. Use a stiff brush and scrub in circles to lift the rust stain.
  3. If a brush isn’t removing the stain or you just can’t scrub any harder, use a pressure washer. The high-powered hose will not only rinse away your cleaning chemicals, but the concentrated force should also lift the rust stain off the surface.

Hood Cleaning: How to Sell Your Services to Establishments

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You can be great at what you do, but if you don’t know how to sell your services to buyers, no one will ever know. And while word-of-mouth referrals from existing customers is a powerful marketing tactic, you can’t rely on that alone. Use these tips to help your hood cleaning company’s sales and marketing, and gain more customers!

Marketing Your Business

 

  • Determine who your ideal customer or target audience is. It might seem like casting a wide net will catch a lot of fish, but how much are the fish worth if they are inedible? Before trying to sell your services, decide who your target customer is. Ask yourself: Who is most likely to need or use my services? This will prevent you from wasting time marketing your business to every single restaurant in town. Instead, maybe you’ll want to only work in certain neighborhoods that other kitchen hood cleaning companies don’t serve. Or maybe you’ll want to target hospitals, nursing home, schools, hotels, and facilities other than restaurants. Once you know exactly who your customer is, you can design your marketing efforts to target them.
  • Brand your business. The word “brand” gets thrown around a lot these days, but that’s because branding your business is so important! Branding doesn’t just mean creating a logo, business cards, flyers, and company uniforms; it is what your company’s values, goals, and missions are. This may seem like an unnecessary stretch for a kitchen hood cleaning company, but when people buy from a business, they are looking for an experience rather than a single monetary exchange. If you want loyal customers who keep returning to you for business, you will want to focus on branding. It will also help you gain a competitive advantage over other similar businesses. Ask yourself: What does my company do differently? What sets us apart from the others? What can customers get from us that they can’t find anywhere else? This might mean focusing on being an environmentally-friendly hood cleaning company, a family-owned business that places high value on work-life balance for employees, or providing exceptional customer service.

Selling Your Services

Once you have determined who you want to sell your services to and how you will accomplish that, it is time to get into the nitty gritty of actually marketing and selling the services you offer.

 

  • Build an online presence. You’ll need a website that people can visit, complete with your business’ address, phone number, and other important contact information. You may even want to include photos of the business owners, managers, employees, etc. to add a personal touch. Make sure your business is on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and review websites like Yep and Google too. It not only adds credibility to your company but allows people to quickly find you online, which makes you and your services easily accessible to potential customers.
  • Start a newsletter or email marketing campaign. Email is one of the quickest and least expensive ways to reach current and potential customers. Include a newsletter signup form on your website and collect email addresses of existing customers to send them a monthly newsletter with useful information and company updates. Hired a new employee? Purchased the latest state-of-the-art equipment? Have any discounts or promotions coming up? Let your customers know!
  • Get certified. Starting and maintaining a hood cleaning business requires a lot more than just knowledge of how to clean things. The easiest way you can make sure your business is legitimate and gain a competitive advantage is by getting professionally certified in accordance to the NFPA 96 standards. Kitchen hood cleaning businesses are government mandated and enforced by local fire inspectors and insurance companies, so attending a kitchen hood cleaning school is a good way to ensure your business is up to required specifications and can act as a powerful selling tool by letting your customers know they are working with a company in compliance with important safety laws.
  • Network. Networking is one of the oldest tools in the trade. If you are a new company and don’t have a professional network you can work with, join professional and trade organizations. These will not only provide events where you can meet like-minded people, but opportunities to learn as well. Being an active member in business organizations can also help add to the validity of your company and provides opportunities to be a part of trade shows. You will also want to network with individuals outside of your industry. This provides additional opportunities that you might not otherwise encounter with industry-only folks as well as helps to build personal relationships. Volunteer, offer to act as a speaker at events to share your expertise, or attend local community events; being more than just a faceless company will help add prestige and integrity to your company.

 

Selling your services doesn’t have to be an expensive and time-consuming project. If you invest a little bit of effort in the beginning, you can build your business into a powerhouse and sell your services to customers to keep them coming back again and again.

Pressure Washer Tips: Hot Water VS Cold Water

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A pressure washer works by utilizing the power of water—often in combination with soaps and other cleaning chemicals—to remove hard-to-clean dirt, grease, stains, and other messes.

Even when using just water, pressure washers do a great job of cleaning dirt off any number of surfaces because water molecules have a slight electrical polarity (which means one end is positively charged and the other end is negatively charged), so they stick to whatever you are trying to clean. And the narrow, high-pressure water jet of hot or cold water that pressure washers deliver blasts away dirt and grime. But how can you know when to use hot water or cold water? What’s the difference, and does it matter?

Cold Water VS Hot Water

Cold Water Pressure Washers

If you are seeking a less expensive power washer, you’ll want to look for cold water ones. These are perfect for light to medium cleaning projects as well as jobs where hot water might cause damage to a surface. (Hot water, for example, can cause bare wood to swell, splinter, and split.) Think of cold water pressure washers as penetrative scrapers; they are perfect for cleaning siding and decks as well as boats, cars, and trucks.

Hot Water Pressure Washers

Any job that requires heavy duty cleaning or removal of oil or grease, on the other hand, will probably require a hot water pressure washer. These will do a better job of breaking up and removing oily and grimy dirt. Think about when you do dishes; hot water does a much better job of cleaning them. These are perfect for cleaning engines, construction equipment, oily driveways, and other situations where sanitation is a concern like in restaurant kitchens. Hot water power washers are also better for colder climates and weather as they will not freeze.

As a general rule, hot water will have better cleaning power than cold water. Cold water pressure washers, however, tend to be less expensive to buy and maintain. So, whether or not you chose to purchase a hot water or cold water pressure washer depends on your specific needs.

A Commercial Kitchen’s Guide to Kitchen Hood Cleaning

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Restaurants aren’t the only facilities with commercial kitchens. Hospitals, religious institutions (churches, synagogues, etc.), hotels, school, and nursing homes all have kitchens that feed large numbers of people and see heavy daily use. So if you run a facility that contains a commercial kitchen, whether it is large or small, this guide is for you! (Or, if you own a business that offers kitchen hood cleaning, use this guide to help inform your customers!)

Why Kitchen Hood Cleaning Matters

Regular maintenance of your kitchen exhaust system will keep your commercial kitchen running at peak efficiency. It not only ensures your system is working properly but also keeps everyone within your facility safe. Kitchen hood cleaning:

 

  • Reduces the risk of fire. A kitchen hood is supposed to trap grease, grime, and smoke; over time, however, the buildup mixed with heat or open flames could cause the grease to ignite. Grease fires are notoriously dangerous, hot burning, and fast acting so your entire kitchen could be gone in an instant. It’s not a risk worth taking.
  • Reduces dangerous emissions. The dirtier a kitchen hood becomes, the less efficiently it does its job. This means that instead of particles getting sucked up into the hood and vent system like they are supposed to, they wind up escaping into the rest of the facility’s space. This is a potential health risk not only for your kitchen staff but for the rest of the building as well, as particles can easily travel through the air.
  • Keeps insurance costs lower. Insurance companies require commercial kitchens to follow fire safety codes, and if your kitchen is found in violation, you risk not only dealing with costly fees or your insurance premium skyrocketing, but could lose your insurance coverage altogether!

 

What Kitchen Hood Cleaning Entails

Kitchen hood cleaning is a job that requires prowess, patience, and practice. Many trustworthy professionals attend hood cleaning school to learn the skills necessary for the job because it requires such thorough knowledge and execution.

  • Disassembling, cleaning, and degreasing hoods.
  • Removing fans from ductwork to degrease the base, shroud, and blades.
  • Inspecting exhaust fans for loose or worn out fan belts.
  • Cleaning and degreasing hood filters and accessories, and replacing if necessary.
  • Applying food-safe polish to stainless steel ductwork.
  • Cleaning the surrounding kitchen area (removing plastic wrap, mopping, removing excess debris, etc.)

How Often Should a Kitchen Exhaust System Get Cleaned?

If your commercial kitchen does not serve a high volume of people and it takes longer for grease and grime to build up, you probably only need to get it cleaned it once a year to comply with NFPA regulations. Otherwise, high volume commercial kitchens need to follow exhaust hood cleaning requirements and best practices as outlined in Table 8-3.1 Exhaust System Inspection Schedule in NFPA 96:

  • Monthly: Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations
  • Quarterly: Systems serving high-volume operations, such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, wok cooking, etc.
  • Semi-Annually: Systems serving moderate volume cooking operations.
  • Annually: Systems serving low volume cooking operations, such as day camps, churches, seasonal businesses, etc.

The Importance of Before and After Pictures

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If you own or operate a house cleaning, pressure washing, or window cleaning business or a lawn care, landscaping, or kitchen hood cleaning company you’ll want to be sure you take plenty of pictures. No, the photos aren’t for the memories, but they’re just as important!

Why Before and After Pictures are Important

Using the appropriate language and words to describe your business, the work you do, and even your company values and goals are critical; images, however, can speak volumes. Before and after photos highlight your talents and skills through transition and show your current customers what they can look forward to when working with you. The images can also appeal to potential clients and pique their interest in doing business with you.

How to Best Use Before and After Pictures

 

  • Advertising: In addition to using before and after visuals for your social media, use them for your advertising. Send them to customers via email newsletters or physical paper handouts. Print a great before and after on the back of your business cards. You can even get a wrap created for your company’s cars or vans. The uses are practically unlimited.
  • Liability: If you are working at a location and notice something is broken, torn, or damaged in some way, the smartest thing you can do before you begin working is take a photo of things, especially if there is something on the property that might interfere with you working to the best of your abilities. These photos can also come in handy to ensure you will not get blamed for the damages that were already there.
  • Technique: Before and after pictures are not only a great way to keep track of the way properties looked before you began working with them; they are also a great way to keep track of your employees’ and your own progress when it comes to your work! You will be able to see if there has been any improvement in your work as well as a progression or upgrade of your tools and equipment.

 

There’s nothing more fun that looking back at where you started. Before and after pictures not only show your clients the great work your company is capable of, but it’s also a great way to be able to see how far your business and employees have come!

Easy Access: Duct Access Doors for Easier Cleaning and Maintenance

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There are three main components to your kitchen exhaust system: the hood, the duct, and the fan. All of your exhaust system’s parts need regular cleaning and maintenance, so why not add access doors to make the job much easier? Our access doors can provide easy access to ducts, fans, and other compartments in your commercial kitchen or restaurant to make cleaning, installation, and maintenance a breeze.

Types of Access Doors

High Temp Access Panel

Our high temp access panels are designed to meet NFPA 96 standards. These doors have gaskets rated to 1000°, but you can also choose to upgrade to 2300° below. With their specialized gaskets and frame-less design, these doors feature quick and easy installation and need no measuring, drilling, or welding to install and seal. Instead, a self-adhesive template is provided for the exact size of the duct opening required. These high temp access doors have wing nuts and thumb bolts for effortless opening and closing, but the doors can also be completely removed for thorough cleaning as well.

Fan Access Door

Use these doors to gain easy access to your exhaust system’s fan. Similar to our high temp access panels, our uninsulated fan access doors feature a self-adhesive template that we provide based on the size of the door you choose. These uninsulated fan access doors open and close easily without any tools required.

Flat Grease Duct Access Door

These heavy-duty 16 gauge steel doors (stainless steel models are also available) have gaskets rated to 2300ºF (1260ºC) for a fire tight seal. The bolt patterns on our flat grease duct access doors ensure a fire-safe closure. The back frame reinforces the duct cutout, and the access panels do not require welding to install. These U.L rated access doors are available in both standard and custom sizes, and can be made available with extended four-inch studs to accommodate fire wraps as well.

Curved Grease Duct Access Door

Much like our flat access panels, our curved grease duct access doors are made of heavy-duty 15 gauge steel or stainless steel. Designed for round ducts, they also have gaskets rated to 2300ºF (1260ºC) for a fire tight seal. No welding is needed to install the doors, and they are easy to open and clean too. These U.L rated doors have a positive bolt pattern to ensure fire-safe closures and a back frame that reinforces the duct cutout.

Why You Should Always Hire Certified Hood and Duct Cleaners

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If you are the owner of a hood and duct cleaning business, or the owner of a restaurant or other commercial kitchen, you’ll want to always be sure you are hiring certified contractors and technicians to get your cleaning jobs done (and done right!). Not only is regular cleaning of your hood and duct system required by law, but it is also a major component to keeping your business running smoothly. After all, the last thing you want is a clogged duct in your ventilation system or a grease fire in your restaurant’s kitchen.

Why You Should Hire a Certified Hood and Duct Cleaner

Not only does hiring a certified contractor ensure they are knowledgeable and skilled at doing their job, but it also means your kitchen will be up to all standards required by law.

Why You Should Become a Certified Hood and Duct Cleaner

As shown below, there is not only a basic and practical need for hood and duct cleaners, it is required by law! Therefore you have customers who must use your service, which creates instant demand for your business.

Getting certified requires you to find a reputable and trustworthy Hood Cleaning School, preferably one that is teaches using CHDCA (Certified Hood & Duct Cleaners Association) regulations and requirements.

Required by Law

Regular hood and duct cleaning and maintenance is required by law. Fire marshals, health inspectors, and insurance companies all necessitate that regular cleaning is done in accordance to the following laws.

What the Insurance Companies Require:

Restaurants must have their kitchen hood and duct systems cleaned by certified technicians in order to be insured.

“The hood and duct system should be cleaned on a semiannual basis by a qualified hood and duct cleaning contractor. A service tag indicating the last date of service should be mounted on the hood.”*

*The above quote is from an actual letter one of our clients received from his insurance company stating what was required before they would insure him.

What the Fire Marshals Require:

The National Fire Protection Code 96 (NFPA 96) Standard is what most counties, cities, and states adopt as their fire code.

11.4  Cleaning of Exhaust Systems

Upon inspection, if found to be contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapors, the entire exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified, and certified person (s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction in accordance with Section 11.3.

11.4.2  Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to bare metal prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge.

11.4.8  After the exhaust system is cleaned to bare metal, it shall not be coated with powder or other substance.

11.4.12  When a vent cleaning service is used, a certificate showing date of inspection or cleaning shall be maintained on the premises.

11.4.13  After cleaning is completed, the vent cleaning contractor shall place or display within the kitchen area a label indicating the date cleaned and the name of the servicing company, and areas not cleaned.

11.4.14  Where required, certificates of inspection and cleaning shall be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction.

To learn more about becoming a certified hood and duct cleaner, visit our website.

What Does it Take to Become a Certified Hood and Duct Cleaner?

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Have you always wanted to own and operate a hood and duct cleaning business but aren’t sure what the steps are to get there? Your first step is to become a certified hood and duct cleaner! Not only will you learn the proper techniques to cleaning kitchen exhausts, ducts, pipes, and other equipment; but by becoming a CHDC (certified hood and duct cleaner), restaurant owners can rest assured that by hiring you, they are hiring a kitchen exhaust cleaning pro.

Questions to Ask Yourself First

Before embarking on the road to becoming a certified hood and duct cleaner, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to make sure you are up to the task.

  1. Can you handle the physical requirements of the job? There’s no way around it; being a kitchen hood and duct cleaner is a physical job. You will have to be climbing ladders, walking on roofs, making your way across greasy or wet floors, and carrying large or heavy loads. Due to the numerous hazards that come with this job, it is critical to ensure you can handle it and that you get properly trained.
  2. Do you have or can you obtain the equipment for the job? Running a hood and duct cleaning company will require you to buy your own equipment. This includes cleaning equipment and trucks to get you, your gear, and your employees to and from the job sites.
  3. Do you have or can you obtain the right gear for the job? You can’t forget about uniforms and other proper attire! You’ll want to make sure you and all your employees are equipped with proper gear to ensure safety and identification when on a job site. This includes but is not limited to steel toed boots, eye protection, and clothing with a company logo.

Certification Requirements

Getting certified first required you to find a reputable and trustworthy Hood Cleaning School, preferably one that is teaches using CHDCA (Certified Hood & Duct Cleaners Association) regulations and requirements. The CHDCA and all hood and duct cleaning schools associated with it teach and certify based on the NFPA 96 standards. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 96 is a set of codes and standards for hood, duct, and other ventilation control as well as fire protection for commercial cooking operations like restaurants. These are the standards that fire marshals follow and that commercial cooking operations are required to adhere to.

Here are several excerpts from the NFPA 96, which is what you’ll need to know how to do in order to become a certified hood and duct cleaner.*

General Requirements

  • Cooking Equipment used in processes producing smoke or grease-laden vapours shall be equipped with an exhaust system that complies with all the equipment and performance requirements of this standard (NFPA 96), and all such equipment and performance shall be maintained per this standard during all periods of operation of the cooking equipment. Specifically, the following equipment shall be kept in good working condition:

Cooking Equipment
Hoods
Ducts (if applicable)
Fans
Fire Suppression Systems
Special effluent or energy control equipment

  • All airflow shall be maintained. Maintenance and repairs shall be performed at intervals necessary to maintain these conditions.
  • Cooking equipment used in fixed, mobile, or temporary concessions, such as trucks, buses, trailers, pavilions, tents, or any form of roofed enclosure, shall comply with this standard unless all or part of the installation is exempted by the authority having jurisdiction (i.e. fire dept.)
  • A drawing(s) of the exhaust system installation along with a copy of operating instructions for subassemblies and components used in the exhaust system, including electrical schematics, shall be available on the premises.

Cleaning

  • Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to bare metal at frequent intervals prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge. After the exhaust system is cleaned to bare metal, it shall not be coated with powder or any other substance. The entire exhaust system shall be inspected by a properly trained, qualified and certified company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction in accordance with Table 8-3.1.

Table 8-3.1 Exhaust System Inspection Schedule

  • Cleaning to bare metal does not mean removing the paint from a painted surface of an exhaust system.
  • Upon inspection, if found to be contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapours, the entire exhaust system shall be cleaned by a properly trained, qualified, and certified company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction in accordance with Section 8-3.
  • When a vent cleaning service is used, a certificate showing date of inspection or cleaning shall be maintained on the premises. After cleaning is completed, the vent cleaning contractor shall place or display within the kitchen area a label indicating the date cleaned and the name of the servicing company. It shall also indicate areas not cleaned.
  • Flammable solvents or other flammable cleaning aids shall not be used.
  • At the start of the cleaning process, electrical switches that could be activated accidentally shall be locked out.
  • Components of the fire suppression system shall not be rendered inoperable during the cleaning process. (Exception: Servicing by properly trained and qualified persons in accordance with Section 7.2)
  • Care shall be taken not to apply cleaning chemicals on fusible links or other detection devices of the automatic extinguishing system.
  • When cleaning procedures are completed, all electrical switches and system components shall be returned to an operable state. All access panels (doors) and cover plates shall be replaced. Dampers and diffusers shall be positioned for the proper airflow.

*This material is not the complete and official position of the National Fire Protection Association, on the referenced subject which is represented only by the standard in its entirety. You can buy a full copy of NFPA 96 here.

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby: Everything You Want to Know About Duct Spinners

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Duct spinners are designed to clean ducts, trash chutes, vents, restaurant kitchen hoods, and tanks and make the perfect accessory for a hot or cold pressure washer. The best part is, duct spinners are made of corrosion-resistant materials and stainless steel self-lubricated bearings for long-lasting use.

How Duct Spinners Work

Duct spinners, which come available with either fixed or swivel arms, are self-rotating devices that attach to high pressure hoses or power washers to blast away dirt and grease. The rotating heads and 360-degree spray that duct spinners offer makes it easy to clean every nook and cranny of your kitchen hood. Sized to clean ducts, vents, and other parts of your commercial kitchen exhaust system, duct spinners come highly recommended by industry professionals. They are also perfect for cleaning pipes, shafts, drains, barrels, and other containers!

Some commercial exhaust professionals say you can get the same cleaning power with a cleaning wand, and while there is nothing wrong with cleaning wands—they are great for a variety of cleaning projects—a duct spinner takes cleaning vents and hard-to-reach places to a whole new level since they are specifically designed for exactly that.

Operating a duct spinner is easy. Simply attach it to your high pressure hose or pressure washer, and lower it into your vertical duct system. Duct spinners are typically controlled by a foot valve, ball valve, or other similar mechanism.

The Mosmatic Duct Spinner

Highly recommended by kitchen hood and exhaust system specialists, the Mosmatic Duct Spinner comes equipped with a new and improved carbide swivel, which offers the highest quality Swiss-made craftsmanship. The ⅜” NPTF water inlet connector comes standard in all duct cleaners.

Protected by a stainless steel cage, its rotor arm inside is guaranteed a prolonged life for maximum usage. The centerpieces of these duct spinners are the swivel, which is self-lubricating and contains stainless steel ball bearings and a carbide gasket system. They are designed for high revolutions and ensure long lasting durability. Best of all, the Mosmatic duct spinner has adjustable spray arms, so you can move them to create different spray angles for optimal cleaning power.

While some industry professionals prefer to go without or make their own versions of duct spinners, sometimes you have no other way of cleaning a 10-story vertical duct or vents with limited access! Purchasing ready-to-go duct spinners will make your cleaning job that much easier, and when you buy with us, you know you’re getting a reliable product.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat… Make Sure Your Kitchen Isn’t on Fire!

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With summertime right around the corner, your kitchen has probably already started to heat up. While you can turn your central air up or open all the windows, the number one thing you want to do to keep your kitchen cool (and your house un-damaged!) is to avoid any kitchen fires. Even if you are a master chef, kitchen fires can happen to anyone in the blink of an eye. And before you know it, a small fire can catch and turn into something far more destructive.

Safety Tips for Preventing Kitchen Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the number one cause of house fires. Between 2010 and 2014, cooking equipment was the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, causing 46% of home fires that resulted in 19% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries. Follow these simple tips to avoid any kitchen fires or mishaps.

  • Do not leave heat or open flame unattended. It might be tempting to throw something in the oven or let something simmer on low heat and “just step away for a minute,” but unattended cooking is a recipe for disaster. A pot might boil over, wind might kick up a flame… You never know. Your best best is to stay near your cooking or turn off all heat, flame, and appliances if you must step away.
  • Be aware of grease. When it becomes too hot, grease can catch fire very easily. It may be a lick of flame touching something frying or a drip of grease making its way down the side of a pan. Thankfully, grease fires can be quickly stopped by cutting off the oxygen supply to the fire. If you can, immediately turn off the heat source and put a lid over the fire in the pat until it is out. Do not try to move the flaming pot or pan as movement will fan the flames with oxygen and can risk spreading the fire.
  • Wear appropriate clothing when cooking. If you have long hair, tie it back. Wear short sleeves or tight fitting sleeves. Anything loose or dangling risks touching a stray flame or getting caught on pot handles, and the last thing you want is to fling your dinner or any flames all over the kitchen.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and tidy. Make sure there is no oil or grease on nearby surfaces. Keep things that can catch fire—such as dish towels, paper towel, oven mitts, etc.—a safe distance from your cooking area. Make sure anything that could melt, like plastic wrap or tupperwear, is also kept clear of your stove and oven. Never leave plastic cooking utensils resting on hot pot or pans.
  • Keep an eye on kids! The last thing you want is for a small hand to get burned. Children should be kept at least three feet away from all heat sources, and be sure you are keeping an eye on them any time they are in the kitchen. Turn pot and pan handles inwards so they cannot be grabbed or knocked over.
  • Use a timer. Timers are an excellent tool for the forgetful chef. Set timers—either on the oven, on your phone, or with an egg timer—to remind yourself to regularly check food that is baking, roasting, simmering, or boiling. Or use a timer to simply remind yourself that food is cooking.

These easy tips can keep your kitchen cool, your house damage-free, and your family safe. It’s easy to take an everyday activity like cooking for granted, however, it’s important to follow safety tips, especially when it comes to preventing kitchen fires.