Monthly Archives: May 2012

40 Pounds of Dust? Yikes!

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, your home probably contains (and circulates) about 40 pounds of dust right now. Yuck!

What is that dust made of? Are you sure you want to know?

It depends on:

  • Where you live
  • Climate
  • How many people live in the home
  • What foods are cooked
  • Cleaning habits
  • Pets
  • Smoking

However, Time Magazine tells us that “nearly all household dust is a combination of:

  • shed bits of human skin
  • animal fur
  • decomposing insects
  • food debris
  • lint and organic fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabric
  • tracked-in soil
  • soot
  • particulate matter from smoking and cooking
  • lead
  • arsenic
  • DDT”

 

Everyday dusting and vacuuming can only so much to combat the dust that recirculates though your home five to seven times every day. In fact, many vacuum cleaners suck in the dust and spit it out again, really picking up only large particles on floors, leaving the dust to resettle everywhere only to be vacuumed up again later.

However, regular cleaning of your home’s ventilation system can reduce the amount of dust in your home significantly, improving your indoor air quality and your health. It is important to choose the right duct cleaning company and a member of the NADCA is a good place to start.

NADCA logo

The cleaners should not just vacuum out the ducts, but actually go in and clean all of the components of your whole system. AirTek is a member of the NADCA and is proud that our team of professionals includes:

  • Six NADCA Certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialists (ASCS)
  • One NADCA Certified Ventilation Inspector (CVI)

We also use video inspection technology both to aid in our cleaning projects and to show our customers their system before and after the cleaning process. With AirTek, you never have to wonder whether your ducts were really dirty or whether they are clean when we are finished–you will see for yourself!

If your home needs a thorough and professional cleaning of its HVAC system anywhere in California, contact AirTek. We are confident that you will be satisfied with the results for your health, your energy bills and your peace of mind.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Matt Kelly Earns Another Certification!

Congratulations!

Our own Matt Kelly of the San Diego office of AirTek and Alliance Environmental Group has earned a designation as a Certified Exhaust Cleaning Specialist (CECS). Congratulations, Matt!

Achieving this Certification is quite an accomplishment! Matt had to have over 1,000 hours of work experience and pass a comprehensive test on the guideines, code and standards from the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA). The IKECA is a trade association that develops the definitive standards for cleaning, inspecting and maintenance of commercial kitchen exhaust systems.

IKECA

Our CEO Joe McLean is proud of Matt for helping Alliance and AirTek find “ways to offer current and future clients the best service and most experienced professionals.” Joe is happy to have a team member in San Diego with such a prestigious designation to show our continuing commitment to being the best there is.

AirTek, and our Environmental Services Division, Alliance Environmental Group, comes with over 20 years of experience in improving indoor air quality for commercial and residential customers. If your company or facility needs air duct cleaning services, sanitization, infectious control, furnace and coil cleaning, electrostatic air filter maintenance or kitchen exhaust cleaning services anywhere in California, please contact us.

And we hope you had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on

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Twitter!

Happy Memorial Day

Have a very happy–and safe–Memorial Day! See you tomorrow!

Legionnaires Breaks Out in New Zealand

 

There has been another outbreak of Legionellosis or Legionnaires’ Disease, this time in Auckland, New Zealand.

Of course, we in the US are not in danger from this particular outbreak, but the reasons Legionnaires returns again and again do not change, no matter what the country.

Legionella pneumophila is an extremely common aquatic organism which thrives in temperatures between 77 and 113 degrees. Sounds like California, huh? Because it can be found anywhere, however, it can thrive and spread disease anywhere where it is wet, especially in water systems. Legionella needs to be inhaled, but water systems are great for turning water in to vapor, like in the shower, and making it possible to breathe in the organisms.

Legionella pneumophila

Large air conditioning systems are especially at risk. When air is cooled, condensation can cause water to build up in parts of the system and if it does not dry, legionella can easily breed and spread.

The New Zealand outbreak has been linked to limescale buildup, but since the cases are widespread in the Auckland area, there may be more than one source. Limescale can cause water to collect in the water system, leading to the growth of Legionella.

All large institutions must practice proper maintenance of their water and ventilation systems to prevent Legionnaires Disease. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that there are between 8000 and 18,000 cases of Legionnaires in the US every year, with a 10% fatality rate. In New Zealand this time, so far there have been 15 confirmed cases and one death. That is one death too many when this disease is preventable.

If your water or ventilation system needs cleaning and decontamination in California, AirTek can provide these services quickly and efficiently from our highly-trained professional teams. Contact us for help preventing Legionella pneumophila from being a headline in your city.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

5 Tips for Controlling Energy Costs in Office Buildings

 

A guest post from contributor Jim Gates!

Controlling energy costs in office buildings can be difficult due to the constant coming and going of employees and visitors to the building. There are a number of methods that can be used to reduce the amount of energy used in the office building and the methods chosen for each building should be based on the characteristics of that particular building to ensure maximum energy savings.

Here are five essential strategies for controlling the energy costs of an office building:

Turn off unnecessary lights–Turn off lights and equipment when not in use. Areas that are not being used can remain dark until needed unless keeping the area unlighted would pose a safety hazard in an emergency. Consider installing a master switch so that everything can be turned off easily at the end of the workday.

 

Cover windows wisely–Use window blinds to block direct sunlight in the warmer months to reduce cooling costs. The cost of the window blinds will be significantly less than the cost of the energy being used to cool the building, and they should last for many years before needing to be replaced. During the colder months, open blinds or remove window hangings during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat the building.

Unplug equipment not in use–Items that are known to drain energy as long as they are plugged in include coffee pots, radios, desktop printers, fans, and cell phone chargers. To make it easy to unplug multiple items at once, plug these devices into a power strip that can be turned off with one switch.

Maintain your HVAC system–Dirty ducts and air filters can increase the amount of energy needed for the HVAC system to work properly and can age expensive equipment. High quality air filters are able to trap more dust and dirt than cheap air filters, so it may be more cost effective to invest in a higher quality product that can be in use for a longer period of time. Clean ducts ensure high quality indoor air as well as making your ventilation system more energy efficient.

Upgrade to programmable thermostats–Replace manual thermostats with programmable thermostats. Some of these thermostats can be locked so that only authorized personnel will be able to change the programmed temperature.

Big Savings from Small Changes

Each of these actions to conserve energy in an office building takes a minimal amount of time or effort to put into effect. The energy savings that can be realized by taking these actions is well worth the effort involved.

Thanks, Jim!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Prenatal Smoking Raises Asthma Risk

 

Rates of asthma for adults and children go up every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control:

“The number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009. From 2001 through 2009 asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50% increase. Asthma was linked to 3,447 deaths (about 9 per day) in 2007.”

Children have the highest rate of asthma, over 9% and the statistics are much worse for low-income and minority kids.

We don’t know specifically why asthma rates are rising so steeply, but we do know that there are greater levels of environmental triggers both indoors and outdoors in the US today.

 

Outdoor triggers:

  • Particulate pollution
  • Ozone
  • Pollen
  • Diesel exhaust
Indoor triggers:
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Wood smoke
  • Cockroaches
  • Cats and dogs
  • Chemicals from cleaning products and building materials
Some of these triggers are difficult to avoid, but the smoke from tobacco products, that we have a choice about.
Of course, these are the triggers for asthma attacks in those who already have asthma. How can we help kids avoid getting asthma in the first place? Don’t smoke while pregnant! The risks are broader than just asthma: miscarriage, birth defects, low birth weight and other complications can come from smoking during pregnancy.
The new study, however, has linked prenatal smoking to asthma in children who are not exposed to secondhand smoke after they are born.
There are clearly many good reasons to quit smoking if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future. Keeping your child from being an asthma statistic is certainly one of them!
Smoking during pregnancy is linked to increased risks of miscarriage, low birth weight, certain birth defects and other pregnancy complications.
We hope that you will consider quitting smoking before your baby is adversely affected by this known carcinogen and asthma trigger!
Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

VIDEO: Mystery Odors

Bad Smell

The Indoor Air Quality Association released a new video last week about mystery odors in homes and other buildings.

Mystery and nuisance odors can be due to many factors including:

          • Mold
          • Off-gassing of building or decorating materials like paint or carpeting
          • Cleaning products
          • Tobacco smoke
          • Car exhaust
          • Factory processes
          • Outdoor air pollution getting indoors
          • Ventilation system contamination

…and others!  After all, they are mysterious!

An effective way of treating mystery odors in a building is by performing a structural pasteurization.  AirTek and our Environmental Services Division, Alliance Environmental Group, use ThermaPureHeat to target and kill organisms that cause mystery odors in older buildings and in new construction.  This special process:

  • Kills Mold
  • Kills Bacteria
  • Kills Viruses
  • Kills Insect Vectors
  • Reduces Odors
  • Reduces Volatile Organic Compounds emitted by materials, paint and cleaning products

If you have a mystery or nuisance odor in your building, we are here to help! Contact AirTek and one of our highly trained professional teams will take care of that annoying smell!

We would like to wish all moms, grandma’s, stepmoms and everyone who nurtures others a very happy belated Mother’s Day!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group.  We welcome your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental  on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! UPDATED

 

Now that the school year is romping to a close–and oh, yes, it is romping! I’ve never been at school this much volunteering even in kindergarten–it is officially time to acknowledge the amazing teachers who touch all of our lives so profoundly.

Thank you, teachers!

My family is lucky to have experienced a year with the 2012 National Teacher of the Year and we dearly hope that when our younger child gets to 7th grade, he will have Rebecca Mieliwocki as well, and the rest of terrific TNT team at Luther Burbank Middle School, Nicholas Lundy and Stephanie Enokian.  I’m sure Mrs. Mieliwocki would say that she couldn’t do it without the support of her colleagues, students and parents.  In fact, I’ve heard her say so!

Since we are celebrating educators, it is definitely time to talk about the teachers we have at AirTek.  Did you know that we offer a training course for insurance adjusters that has been certified by the Department of Insurance?

Training Course

Our amazing teachers, CEO Joe McLean, Bill Wood and Jeff McLean provide a 5 hour hands-on training course in our own onsite facility on dealing with asbestos, lead and mold issues.

Very soon we will be releasing a video with all the details about training opportunities available at AirTek for any insurance adjuster, whether from an insurance company or an independent adjuster.  Please contact us for more information!

And thanks, Joe, Bill and Jeff for helping insurance adjusters all over California continue their path of lifelong learning!

UPDATE: We just found out that our own Carlos Sanguinetti’s wife, Shana Sanguinetti, has been named Teacher of the Year for the San Diego Unified School District!  Yay, Shana!!  We are surrounded by amazing and creative teachers!  Make sure you thank a teacher today!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group.  We welcome your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental  on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

Another Award? Yep!

Seal of the City of San Diego

The City of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board has Alliance Environmental Group as a recipient of a 2012 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award!

We were nominated in the Architectural Rehabilitation category for work performed on the restoration of the David Louis and Susan E. Kretsinger House. The home was built in 1896.

The house was recently named a Historical Resource because it “contributes to the understanding of the citrus orchard economic development of South San Diego”resource is a special element of the San Diego’s citrus orchard agricultural industry” and “embodies the distinctive characteristics through the retention of character defining features of Queen Ann Free Classic and retains a good level of architectural integrity from its 1896 period of significance.” They particularly mentioned the roof gables, dormers, tower, porch, chimneys and widow’s walk.

The Queen Anne Free Classic style is characterized by an asymmetrical interior plan. It may have a “Palladian window in the front gable, a porch with classical columns, and a pediment over the front entry.” The Queen Anne Free Classic style can be thought of as a step between traditional Queen Anne and the Arts & Crafts style.

Award Home in San Diego

You can see the porch columns in the above photo. I wish I had a plan of the interior to see the asymmetry, but if I find one, I will post it!

Although we have been officially named as Award Winners, the awards have not yet been presented. The Awards ceremony will be held on May 24th and from May 14-25, we will have a display in the lobby of the City of San Diego Administration Building to showcase our contribution to the restoration project.

Congratulations, Matt Kelly and everyone in our San Diego office on this honor! We look forward to pictures from the Awards Ceremony!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group.  We welcome your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental  on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

AAA Awards Alliance Environmental Group!

AAA logo

We are proud to announce that our Environmental Services Division, Alliance Environmental Group, was recently given an award by the Automobile Association of America (AAA).

I sat down with Orange County Branch Manager Jimmy Nguyen to find out more.

Alliance Environmental Group was one of only four vendors recognized at the recent award ceremony for Outstanding/Legendary Service.  Two vendors came from the Los Angeles area and two from the San Diego area.

Usually the AAA awards are reserved for the auto side of AAA insurance and 30 automobile shops from LA to San Diego were also recognized for their outstanding customer service.

2012 also marks the first year that AAA included home owners insurance vendors in their awards. Corporate officers were there to present awards to both auto and home owners insurance vendors.

Fontana Speedway

The award ceremony was held at the Auto Club Fontana Speedway.  We were treated to a lovely buffet lunch and then the real fun began!  All of the recognized vendors were given the opportunity to drive high performance go carts on an actual race track!  Not the NASCAR track, but still!


Jimmy at Fontana Speedway

Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek would like to congratulate fellow award recipients Oakwood Construction (LA), ESN Restoration Services (San Diego), and Triskell Restoration (San Diego) for their Outstanding Service!

Onward and upward!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group.  We welcome your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental  on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

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