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.

Golf with Southern California Claims

We had such a great time at the SCCA 59th Annual Golf Classic 60′s Beach Party, we wanted to share some of the moments with you!

Dunk an Alliance Rep

Dunk-An-Alliance-Rep was our game for the day and we had tons of fun!

It was so hot, everybody wanted to get in the tank, but Krystle was the winner…so to speak!

We weren’t the only ones having fun, though!

Not just another summer Friday! Thanks, SCCA! See you next time!

 

 

Is Air Stagnation Making the Air Quality Worse?

Air quality is the most talked subject through out the years because more and more individuals are aware of the negative impacts of bad indoor air quality. According to the World Health Organization, they estimate 3.7 million premature deaths per year are linked to poor air quality. It is an alarming statistic. It is a public health issues that is being death around the world. There are hundreds of organizations that help and educate people on the importance of air quality as well. Even though pollution levels have lowered throughout out the years, there are still pollutants that affect the air quality and health of thousands of people. A new study done by Stanford University suggests that air quality can become progressively worse because of air stagnation.

Air stagnation is defined as a phenomenon which occurs when an air mass remains over and area for a long period such as pollutants that cannot be cleared from the air. Some of those pollutants are gaseous like ozone and particulate like soot or dust. These pollutants can build up and can commonly be found in urban areas. Researchers from Stanford University are focusing on air stagnation to see how frequent and how long these pollutants are in the atmosphere. In addition, researchers are estimating that air air stagnation will cover 55% of the current global population. Researchers also predict that the duration of air stagnation can increase through out the years. Understanding how poor air quality can affect your health can give you an idea on how to improve the indoor air quality to have a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. Below is an infographic that talks about the pollution agents and diseases caused by poor air quality.

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*infographic provided by 

Air Duct Cleaning Scam Artists Arrested

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Sometimes it seems like “Another day, another air duct cleaning scam.” Stories crop up all the time. This week it is a couple of Southern California men posing as contractors to rip off elderly homeowners.

You can watch the story on KCAL-9 here.

The men gained access to the homes with flyers and phone calls and then when inside, would provide photographs of mold and other types of contamination, claiming they were taken inside the home during an inspection.

Sadly, these Los Angeles area seniors were duped and some ended up giving the con men as much as $100,000.

Homeowners do sometimes need the services these criminals claimed to provide: mold removal, air duct cleaning, pest control, and more. But when you choose a company to provide these services, choose wisely. Here are some tips for picking a reputable company:

  • Make sure the company is a member in good standing of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) and that they are certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning
  • Always check the license status at www.cslb.ca.gov or call 1-800-321-2752
  • Find out whether the company is in good standing with your local Better Business Bureau
  • Request a written quote
  • Pick a start date that works for you–don’t be rushed into anything
  • Before purchasing a coupon, ask if there are restrictions

If you are contacted by a contractor offering a company’s services, check them out or ask for help doing so. Having clean air ducts is important to your health and well-being, but take your time and choose your service provider wisely!

Ozone Depletion Can Cause Poor Indoor Air Quality Conditions

There are many events that affect the indoor air quality of our homes and also many events that can affect the air quality for everyone else who is outdoors. One of those events are wildfires. Wildfire season in California started early this year. One of the recent communities affected by the wildfires from southern California and surrounded areas is Butte County. The air quality in Butte County has been unhealthy for sensitive groups of people. Wildfires can worsen air quality because it can affect the ozone layer. Wildfires release harmful compounds in the air and can reach the ozone layer, causing ozone depletion and destroy oxygen producers. This means that the earth’s surface is hotter. In other words, wildfires can cause ozone pollution that can violate the state’s health standards.

There are several tools that you can use to understand the air quality around your area. We have talked about several innovative apps and the air quality index in previous blog posts. To add to that list and to understand how ozone depletion can cause poor air quality conditions you may use a tool by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator’s (NOAA’s) Weather Service Air Quality Forecast Guidance. Below is an example of the average ozone concentration in the state of California and several states around California. When one is exposed to high levels of ozone it will not only affect the environment but our health. To read more topics on air quality make sure to follow our social media sites where we let you know when we post a new blog post via Facebook and Twitter.

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6 Factors to Consider when Deciding How Often to Clean Your Air Ducts

A common and understandable question among homeowners is “How often should I be cleaning the air ducts in my house?” After all, everyone likes the idea of having clean air flowing through their home. But the question often comes up – just how often does an HVAC system need to be cleaned in order to ensure top quality air?

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Image by echiax via freeimages,com

The short answer is, “It depends.”

Fact is, not all homes are created equal, and not all living situations are the same. However, there are six factors that play a strong role in whether or not you will need to clean out your HVAC system on a regular basis.

1. Smokers in the Household

As if you didn’t need more reasons to avoid smoking, here is another one. Whether it’s cigarettes, cigars, or whatever else, smoking introduces a great amount of contaminants into your HVAC system. Those fragile puffs of formless matter that rise through the air from the tip of your cigarette will continue to rise and spread long after they have seemingly disappeared. They enter your HVAC system through the ducts and end up forming a thick coating of contaminants within the duct ways.

Another direct effect from smoking is the smoke dust. The byproducts of smoking a tobacco cigarette are smoke and ash, but there are many different chemicals within the smoke. Some of them, such as the tar and paraldehyde, are believed to attach onto dust indoors, causing the dust to become sticky. The result is that dust more easily gets lodged into your HVAC system.

2. Pets that Release Hair and Dander

When it comes to shedding, not all pets are created equal. Some hardly ever make a mess, but others require a lot of maintenance, and these are the breeds that create problems for your ventilation. Pomeranians, chows, malamutes, collies and golden retrievers are dog breeds that have a tendency to shed more. Cat breeds that are high-shed include Himalayans, Norwegian forests, Maine Coons and Ragdolls. So unless you are able to closely track every hair that falls from their bodies, you can bet that that dander and hair is getting into your air ducts.

3. Water Contamination or Damage to HVAC System

Moisture naturally ends up in HVAC systems, particularly when your air conditioning unit is run regularly. Moisture gathers within the dark confines of the air ducts and causes mold and mildew to grow. While that usually isn’t much reason to panic, large amounts of water can create large amounts of mold which will quickly turn into a serious issue that can affect your family’s health.

4. Recent Renovations or Remodeling 

The act of breaking down walls, stripping paint, tearing up carpet, or any other indoor home renovations will undoubtedly stir up an excessive amount of dust, even if the work is completed in a relatively short amount of time. Prolonged renovations become even more problematic as it relates to air quality. This is why it’s important to consider having your air ducts cleaned after any home remodeling or renovations take place.

5. Allergies 

People with allergies are naturally more sensitive than non-allergy sufferers to contaminants in the air, so air ducts in homes where people with allergies live will need extra attention and more frequent cleaning.

6. Prior Occupancy of a New Home 

You’ve just purchased a new home and you’re proud of your investment. You bought the home from a nice couple who decided to move elsewhere. You don’t know much about them, but they seemed nice and clean. No need to worry about your place, right? Actually, you should consider getting your ducts cleaned as a precautionary measure. Much like all other previously owned items, you can never tell if the previous owners really were clean, so it’s best to just be safe.

It’s impossible to give a cut-and-dried answer to the general question of how often people need to clean the air ducts in their home without knowing the specifics of your situation. The best move is to simply consult with a professional and let them help you decide if it is something you need or not.

If you are interested in air duct cleaning, click here to receive a free estimate.

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