Man-Made Leaves Could Improve Air Quality in the Future

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Tuesday we blogged about real, live trees, their effect on air quality, and the benefits they bring to our environment in excess of creating the oxygen we need to live. Today we find that scientists have created the first man-made leaf able to perform photosynthesis.

“The artificial leaves feature chloroplasts extracted from actual plant cells that are suspended in a material made from silk protein. So when given access to light and water they still produce oxygen, but they’re better suited to surviving off our planet.” Gizmodo

Watch a video about it HERE.

Created to solve the problem of enough oxygen for long-term space travel, man-made leaves could do even more on earth to improve air quality indoors and out:

Produce oxygen for office buildings, homes, and closed systems

Save water

The material could be used to make things other than “leaves” and improve air quality with building facades, lampshades, window treatments, etc.

We look forward to hearing more about this innovative technology.

What can we do today to improve our air quality?

Drive less, walk or bike more

Don’t idle the car while waiting

Reduce energy use

Keep your ventilation system clean and well maintained

Cook on back burners

Choose green products when cleaning or renovating

The more attention we pay to our environment, the better we will treat it. It’s nice to think we have something that could make oxygen on another planet, but we also need to preserve the planet we started from.

Hiring Certified HVAC Technicians Become Difficult?

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The HVAC Industry is growing rapidly and more consumers are aware of indoor air quality pollutants and opportunities in the HVAC Industry are increasing. Indoor pollution is one of the top health concerns in the nation and the industry is finding ways to combat the problem and use different technology to create healthier indoor environments. As more homes and commercial structures are being built, HVAC installations are required and technicians are needed to install and do regular check ups for upcoming installation of HVAC systems. However, the increase of the HVAC Industry means an increase in hiring certified professional technicians in the field.

The Sacramento heating and air conditioning companies are having a hard time finding qualified workers for their companies. Companies are looking not only looking for candidates who have skills and experience in the field, but communication and motivation to learn about the industry. As more experienced technicians expire, less individuals are looking into getting a career in the industry. It is a great industry to look into because of the ongoing trend of upgrading to efficient systems has also been a significant business increase in the industry. Those who are interested in the industry, can look into different tech colleges that offer certification or visit the NADCA website. Our team, provides further training in different areas of the industry and offer our maintenance crew a hands on approach for our employees. If you have any questions regarding training or have any questions regarding the HVAC industry, chat with us and contact your local Airtek office.

Trees Deserve Hugs–They Are Working Hard to Combat Air Pollution

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Photo by WStackhouse

Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service have reached some definitive conclusions about how trees improve the environment and reduce air pollution significantly.

“Their broad-scale estimates concluded that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms – and that’s just by improving air quality less than one percent…Not to mention that trees can help save $7 billion a year in health costs by reducing respiratory illness.” Nature World News

We can’t think of a better argument for preserving forests worldwide. Air pollution does not respect borders of states or countries. The air pollution in China travels on “powerful winds that can sometimes carry pollutants across the gigantic Pacific ocean in mere days, causing contaminant spikes on North-America’s West coast, especially in the spring.” Treehugger.com

The scientists measured four pollutants in the study: ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulates smaller than 2.5 microns and discovered that rural areas experience higher “pollution removal” rates than urban areas. They also found that the health effects of the four pollutants were much greater in urban populations. They encourage the proliferation of urban forests as well as the preservation of rural trees.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 7 million premature deaths globally are caused by air pollution every year. Anything we can do–and we all can do something–to reduce the air pollution levels in our own communities will only help all of us have healthier, longer lives.

If you need to clean up your indoor air–which can be up to 5 times worse than outdoor air–AirTek can help! Call us for a consultation about air duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, HVAC system maintenance and more! Your indoor air pollution problem will be history!

Now get out there and plant a tree!

Purify the Air in Your Home

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I recently traveled to Yosemite National Park for a quick family trip. While driving down to the city from the mountains, a big wildfire grew quickly in a matter of seconds. Although we were miles and miles away, you can feel the heat and the smoke begin to pollute the area. One of our family members began to cough and feel itchy because of the smoke. We had to drive out immediately from the area. Wildfires and the air quality can become unhealthy for individuals who are more sensitive. Now imagine your home going through the same thing. There are items in your home that can pollute the air, and if you have not done regular service to your HVAC system, your house can become polluted and effect those who are more sensitive and susceptible to pollutants. You want to purify the air in your home.By making correct choices about materials, products and how you live inside your home, you can reduce the levels of pollutants in the air and keep your home healthy. Examples of creating a healthier indoor environment are:

  • Effective ventilation will help to remove airborne pollutants from your home and bring in cleaner air that’s healthier to breathe.
  • When renovating, choose materials that have zero or low VOC’s.
  • Keep areas dry so no mold will grow
  • Any asbestos or lead paint must be remediated by a professional if found in your home

These are some examples that can help you keep your indoor environment healthy. Wildfires can spread and pollute the air, and pollutants can also spread like a wildfire and pollute your indoor air. Air duct cleaning services can help create a healthier indoor environment.  You want to eliminate air contamination to have a healthy indoor environment. If you need assistance in indoor air quality issues you may contact a professional company like AirTek. AirTek has over 25 years of experience, and our technicians are certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association to ensure your air ducts, coils, vents and other equipment meet national health and safety standards. If you are interested in air duct cleaning, click here to receive a free estimate.

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Good Ventilation and Air Quality

We are always looking for great videos about air quality and we recently came across this very informative video from NextGenHome. Ventilation is key to reducing the humidity that leads to mold bacterial contamination in today’s energy efficient homes:

With new homes being so well sealed to prevent the escape of heated or cooled air, it is even more important to think about the contaminants and allergy triggers that could stay inside. Your ventilation system is the key to great indoor air quality, minimal mold growth and a healthy environment in your new home.

How can you improve the ventilation in your home to get better indoor air quality?

Weather permitting, open the windows. Your indoor air can be more polluted than the outdoor air and you need to let the VOCs and other pollutants dissipate into the outdoor environment as often as you can.

Keep interior doors ajar rather than closed when running the air conditioning. We know you want to cool less area and save energy, but air needs to move to stay healthy.

Give the dog a bath–maybe even the cat. Pet dander is a big indoor air pollutant and also an allergy trigger for family and guests.

Change air filters in air conditioning systems and even in window units. When air filters are dirty, they cannot continue to work efficiently, leaving contaminants in the air instead of in the filter.

Clean your ducts on a regular schedule. Dirty ducts can breed bacteria and mold and harbor moisture. Having your ducts professionally cleaned will ensure that they are not providing a home for organisms that can damage your air quality and your health.

Run the fans in your kitchen and bathroom. Bathroom fans are an essential part of your ventilation system, helping wet surfaces to dry before mold can have a chance to grow. The air over your stove is full of pollutants from cooking–get them out of the house ASAP!

We spend a majority of our time indoors–make sure your indoor environment is as safe and healthy as possible!

 

Indoor Pollution: Carbon Monoxide in Garage

Smog and pollution is a world wide concern because so many individuals get sick from the air that we breathe when we are outdoors. However, the air indoors can be as bad as the outdoor air. There are a number of chemicals found in the home that pollutes the air inside your home, making the indoor air quality unhealthy. Examples of potential air pollutants that contaminate your home are asbestos, radon, lead dust, carbon monoxide, and mold.

In fact, carbon monoxide is a dangerous pollutant that causes carbon monoxide poisoning and be very dangerous. Sources of carbon monoxide can be found in the home. Accumulation of combustion gases can occur when a blocked chimney, rusted heat exchanger or broken chimney connector pipe prevents combustion gases from being exhausted from the home. Carbon Monoxide can also enter the home from an attached garage. You never want to leave a car running in a garage, even with the garage door open. This can be a source of indoor air pollution that we don’t really think of. The indoor air quality association has a quick tip about this issue. To learn more about indoor air quality services that can help your indoor environment healthy,

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10 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home

At times, as a homeowner, you may realize that the air you and your family is breathing while indoors isn’t quite as fresh as it should be. And while cleaning your home’s HVAC system is a necessary step towards getting clean air circulating through the house, we’ve put together a list of ten things you can do to help maintain that healthy indoor air quality, also known as IAQ.

Open Windows – The easiest way to circulate fresh air through your home is by simply opening up a few windows.

Regular Cleaning – No one likes to do chores around the house, but they are a necessary evil for maintaining visual cleanliness and for improving air quality. Dusting is a must, even when it doesn’t appear that there is any dust present. Vacuuming carpets and mopping floors is another important task, as well as remembering to give cleaning attention to the curtains, shutters, drapes, and other decorative items.

Reduce Humidity – Humidity in a home allows for the buildup of moisture, which can lead to mold and other air quality issues. The best way to combat this is by opening windows and running the air conditioner from time to time. Dehumidifiers also work well. Finally, just be careful about sources of steaming water. If you like hot showers try and make them slightly shorter and be sure to run the bathroom fan. When boiling water in the kitchen, remember to cover the pots, run the hood fan and open windows.

Chemical Reduction – There are many household cleansers and chemicals that do more harm than good. Whenever possible, use products with natural and safe active ingredients, such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon.

Pet Grooming – Pet dander and hair can be a major nuisance, particularly with animals that shed a lot. To keep indoor air quality at a good level, homeowners need to be proactive about pet care. Wash your pets regularly, brush away and dispose of loose fur, and be sure to sweep or clean all shedding on a regular basis. Another important step is to limit pets’ access around the house, such as keeping them out of bedrooms.

No Smoke – Beyond the long-term health hazards, smoking is also terrible for IAQ. Cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, etc., all taint indoor air. Smoking should be restricted to outdoors only. Mind you, this is not restricted to simply inhaled smoke. Burning incense, using a fireplace and even burning candles can contribute to indoor smoke issues.

Indoor Plants – Plants are not only lovely decorations, but they can also improve IAQ in wonderfully natural ways. Philodendrons, bamboos, English ivy, and spider plants are among the best at removing toxins from the air.

Air Purifiers – For use in both large areas and smaller rooms, air purifiers actively suck in contaminants and release clean air back into your house.

Test For and Eliminate Radon – Radon is an invisible, radioactive gas that results from the decay of radium. It is sometimes found below buildings, or sometimes even in building materials. It migrates to the lowest point in a given structure, so it is most commonly found on the ground floor or in the basement. Unlike other contaminants, radon can’t be evaluated with the naked eye. Fortunately, it can be easily tested for, and removal is often a simple process.

Odor Removal – It’s always wonderful to enter a home with a fresh, fragrant scent. It’s not only welcoming, but it can also eliminate other odors. However, be aware that not all scents are created equal. Many perfumes, diffusers, sprays and plug-ins release chemicals into the air – some of which actually increase humidity. Seek out essential oils, which give a pleasant smell without the worries related to using chemicals.

If you think that your home might need an improvement in air quality, please request a free quote and we’ll be in touch to answer any questions you might have.

Air Contamination In Your Indoor Environment

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Air contamination is a common problem because of what can be found in your air ducts. When it is time to do a regular clean up for air ducts you might think only dust has accumulated throughout time. Dust and Debris are common things that are found inside air ducts. However, there are certain contaminants that can be found in your air ducts. Do you know what’s hiding in your air ducts? The common contaminant found in air ducts are dust and debris and your home can accumulate about 40 pounds of dust a year. If you have pets in your home, pet dander can be found in your air duct. When moisture develops or there is a leakage mold can begin to grow in your air ducts and can become an allergic substance. Rats, Dust Mite feces, cockroaches also can be found in the air ducts and can also be considered allergic substances. When all these are in your ducts and your turn on your system, all of this becomes unhealthy air and blows out and you breathe in without realizing it. Since, we can’t see what’s inside our air ducts it can be a scary situation not knowing what can be in there if there has not been a regular check up on the air conditioning system.

Working with an expert is preferable because of the availability and specialized equipment that professional can use to clean the air ducts. Air duct cleaning services can remove these contaminants to improve not only the air quality but also improve and increase HVAC efficiency. You want to eliminate air contamination to have a healthy indoor environment. If you need assistance in indoor air quality issues you may contact a professional company like AirTek. AirTek has over 25 years of experience, and our technicians are certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association to ensure your air ducts, coils, vents and other equipment meet national health and safety standards. If you are interested in air duct cleaning, click here to receive a free estimate.

RIA vs. ThermaPure Lawsuit Ends a Win-Win

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As reported in the latest edition of Restoration & Remediation Magazine, the Restoration Industry Association’s patent lawsuit against ThermaPure Inc. has ended in a settlement described as a “win-win” by both sides.

ThermaPure Inc. holds at least 8 patents for technology relating to heat treatment services for many challenges: pest control, construction drying, decontamination, among others. Read about the many uses of ThermaPureHeat here.

The settlement protects members of the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) from patent infringement lawsuits as long as the internal temperature of a structure does not exceed 105°F. It does not protect contractors who are not members of the RIA at the time of the work, nor does it apply to treatment using temperatures higher than 105°.

“Restoration firms can embrace the ThermaPure® technology not only for its environmental benefits but also to expand their business opportunities. Now RIA members will not have to fear these patent infringement lawsuits, as long as the ambient air temperature inside a structure is not heated above 105°F during water damage recovery and other restoration services. The veil of legal uncertainty is lifted from the membership who can return their focus to running their companies.” Restoration & Remediation Magazine

At the Alliance Group of Companies, of which AirTek is a proud part, we use ThermaPureHeat to perform many of our services. Heat treatment is fast, safe, and avoids the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticides. Heat treatment is reliable and thorough, able to reach into walls and other places that other types of treatment cannot. Heat treatment does not require moving personal property, bagging of food, laundering of textiles or the expense of moving out of your home while chemicals dissipate.

We are proud to offer ThermaPureHeat treatment for:

Do you need help with one of the above services? Contact AirTek and we will happily tackle your environmental challenge!

Indoor Air Quality Industry News: IAQA and ASHRAE Join Forces

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The newest news in the indoor air quality industry is that the Indoor Air Quality Association joined the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to provide indoor air quality professional additional resources and combine those resources to improve indoor air quality in the built environment. According to the ASHRAE website, the society focuses on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability within the industry. Both of these organization decided to be a joint force to strengthen the programs and services they provide. The president of ASHRAE states, “The work of IAQ complements the work of ASHRAE in its standards, research, publications and educational offerings.”

This will give additional opportunities for indoor air quality professionals to receive better indoor air quality technical guidance and educations programs to know how to better our services. Both of these organizations are focusing on bringing programs that will help shape and improve air quality for homes and buildings around the world. IAQA has made great impact and will still remain it’s own brand and will continue to provide education, conferences, expositions, monthly webinars and funds for indoor air quality related research. The main objective for anyone working in the indoor air quality industry is to create a healthy and sustainable environment for homes and public buildings. To learn more about these organizations you may visit the ASHRAE website and the IAQA website and if you have any

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questions regarding indoor air quality services we may be of assistance.

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