What? The “Professional” Carpet Cleaner voided my carpet warranty?
(I should have checked!)
I recently read an article about a woman distraught over the failure of her new car. The engine had seized up, but fortunately still within her warranty period. A phone call to the dealer and her car was towed in for engine repairs. As the standard protocol for a warranty claim, the vehicle manufacturer tested the oil and denied the claim. Her not so helpful husband recently changed the oil and used a slightly different oil than what the car manufacturer specified.
Result: VOIDED Warranty!
Ford, GM, and the other car manufacturers created minimum specifications to keep the car operating correctly and safely. So do carpet and flooring manufacturers.
After their vehicle, flooring is the next largest purchase the average homeowner will make in their lifetime. Just like vehicles, most people will not have to utilize their warranty. But what if they do? Could someone have caused their flooring warranty to become void, unknowingly?
Five Important questions to ask when looking for a carpet cleaning company
1-Is the carpet cleaning company IICRC certified?
Every carpet manufacturer has slightly different specifications and over the years have become more stringent in their standard maintenance specifications. Shaw residential warranties “require that professional service be performed by an IICRC [Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration Certification] certified firm.”
In Madison, only 10* firms are certified and half of those firms focus on restoration or include janitorial services (visit www.iicrc.org for list of certified firms). Milwaukee has 25* certified firms; only 12 firms have floor care as their primary service. (Data as of 8/10/2015)
2-Do you vacuum first and do you charge to move furniture?
The industry standard and minimum expectation for carpet cleaning is to first vacuum the carpet. If a carpet cleaning company states something like “only if it needs vacuuming” or “…most of the time we vacuum”, they probably don’t provide the consistency you should expect or deserve. The IICRC recommends these steps for carpet cleaning
3 – Do you charge extra for pre-spray, standard spot treating or anything else?
Bait and switch is illegal, but it surprises me what companies still use the same tactics to homeowners. Carpet cleaning ALWAYS should involve the application of a cleaning solution, agitation and clear water rinse. Reputable companies should be able to give you a pretty accurate estimate right over the phone and tell you exactly what you are being charged.
4-Do you have any references?
All good, reputable companies should have a list of references. One great option is to contact the companies that sell carpet and find out who they recommend and how long they have been working with the cleaning company. Or, check out the carpet cleaning company’s testimonials on their website? Don’t have a website or no new testimonials? hmmm….
5-Do you use hot water extraction?
Lastly, most manufacturer’s require hot water extraction (Visit the CRI website for a consolidated list of carpet manufacturer’s approved method of cleaning). Mohawk, Shaw, Beaulieu, and Masland all require hot water extraction (aka steam cleaning) as the method of cleaning. Also, make sure the company uses truck-mounted equipment otherwise they could be using a spray bottle and a shop vac and that doesn’t clean very well.
If you are in the flooring industry, make sure your go to vendors are at minimum using hot water extraction and are industry certified. A voided warranty will point back to you and is just bad service to your customers.