Monthly Archives: February 2013

Silent Auction: Ronald McDonald House Dinner with Friends

RMDH DWF Invitation 2013

The Dinner with Friends is this Saturday! It’s hard to believe it is almost here! Do you have your tickets yet?

Click HERE for details and a link to buy tickets or make a donation!

We’ve been Tweeting all of the silent auction items today and thought you might like to give them a look. Don’t miss out on these fantastic opportunities to get while you give!

Urbane Café Catering – Gourmet Sandwich Platter

Sycuan Casino Golf Getaway – Enjoy a day of golf for 2 and lunch or dinner

Organic Spirits Basket from Greenbar Collective – made by hand with real ingredients

Rubios Catering – Rubio’s a-Go-Go Catering gift certificate

San Diego Air and Space Museum – 4 general admission tickets

2 Hornblower Seafarer’s Passes from Hornblower Cruise – Harbor Cruise or Weekday Whale Watching in San Diego

Aquarium of the Pacific Tickets for 2

Hero Nutritional Baskets – Vitamins Basket and Yummi Bears Basket

San Diego State University Football Tickets – You and 3 friends can cheer the Aztecs on to victory in person at the SDSU vs. Eastern Illinois game on 8/31/13

4 Disneyland Resort® 1-Day park Hopper Tickets – Visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure both on the same day!

Sea World San Diego – 4 single-day admission tickets to this hot San Diego vacation destination

San Diego Junior Theatre – 4 tickets to any show in the 2012-13 season

PRP Wine International – Host a wine tasting in your home

Alvarado Skin Care Basket – A collection of products from their Epicurean line

Inspired Skin Studio – Gift certificate for $100 good toward any service

Stan Lawrence Portrait Art – Signature Coronado Family Beach Session and $350 towards purchase.

Stan Lawrence Portrait Art – Signature Black & White Portrait Study Session and $350 towards purchase

Signed Warren Moon Football – Warren Moon is a former NFL quarterback and Football Hall of Famer who played for the Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and Kansas City Chiefs.

Pop-Up Picnic – Tapas-style meal and dessert for Two

Lightning Brewery Gift Basket – Lightning is dedicated to exploring and perfecting the classic craft beer styles that master brewers have been calibrating for centuries.

Narrative Images Family Photo Shoot – recently voted among the best photographers in San Diego by the 10 News A-list

Master Sports Youth Program Gift Certificate – 1 Academy Class or Camp

Gymboree – Gift bag and Gymboree gift certificate for a free month of classes and unlimited open play!

Katherine Eve Photography – Mini Photo Session for up to five people

Cinnabar Accupuncture Clinic & Spa – 60 Minute Acupuncture, Massage, Endermologie or Facial

Bernardo Winery Gift Basket

Apple TV – Access the best content right on your widescreen TV or play content from your iOS devices on your TV using AirPlay

Padres Tickets – 4 tickets to Padres vs. Dodgers on April 10th

Best Buy – $100 Gift Card

Hyde Edwards Salon & Spa – Gift Card for $200 Cut and Color with Leah Hurtado

Alex Hurtado Photography – 2 hour photo shoot with Alex Hurtado

Lakers Tickets – Two complimentary tickets to Lakers vs. Kings, March 17th

East County Family YMCA – 6 month family membership or 1 week of Day Camp

The Cupcakery – Custom cake for 25 for your next celebration

I’m sure you are tempted by one or more of those! I certainly am!

You don’t have much time left to buy tickets for this amazing event, hosted by our own Carlos Sanguinetti and Matt Teeter! And if you cannot attend, you can still make a donation to support the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego!

Good luck!

VIDEO: Diptheria in the Air


Photo by Sanofi Pasteur via Flickr Creative Commons

to be thought that the vaccinations children received in early childhood would last a lifetime (except for the Tetanus we should all get every 10 years), but with Diptheria and Whooping Cough cases on the rise, the Centers for Disease Control is recommending another booster during the early teens.

Nobody likes shots, least of all 11 year olds, and that shot is particularly painful, but it does prevent cases of potentially deadly childhood diseases. Here is a very informative video about Diptheria and Indoor Air from the Indoor Air Quality Association, of which we are a proud member.

The bacterium that causes Diptheria is present in our environment and prevention can be helped by keeping air ducts clean and bacteria free. AirTek has years of experience in cleaning and decontamination of ventilation and duct systems in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as well as office buildings, homes and other structures. If you need air duct cleaning services in California, please contact us!

Any opinion about childhood vaccinations expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AirTek or Alliance Environmental Group.

UPDATE: Legionnaires’ in PA Veterans Hospital

CNN did an update on this story the other night and we thought our readers would be interested. As of now, there have been 21 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease at the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s University Drive Hospital and 5 deaths.

Legionnaires’ Disease is completely preventable with proper maintenance of water and ventilation systems. That these hospital administrators ignored the presence of a deadly bacterium is absolutely tragic.

Our original article from November, 2012 follows the video from CNN:

The Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s University Drive Hospital is the scene of the latest outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the US. Unfortunately it won’t be the last.

Five cases have been reported so far at the former home of Legionnaires’ researchers Victor Yu and Janet Stout, the researchers who originally connected Legionella with water systems in 1982. Thankfully, so far no one has died in this outbreak.

In updates over the holiday weekend, it was revealed that the copper-silver ionization system put in place by Yu and Stout in 1993 was known to have not been properly maintained in recent months. Allegedly a consultant had advised that levels be adjusted in June, but the maintenance itself was not performed until October, putting patients and healthcare workers at risk for much of the summer and fall of this year.

Legionella bacteria are everywhere and spread through water systems, infecting victims through water vapor from pools, hot tubs, showers and fountains. If these water systems are not properly maintained, not only can legionella spread, it WILL. And it can be deadly. Facilities which house large numbers of people are always at risk because of the size and complexity of their water systems. It is essential that hospitals, hotels, cruise ships and other large facilities be vigilant about preventing the growth of legionella bacteria at all times. AirTek provides the cleaning and maintenance services required to prevent spread of this deadly bacteria. Contact us if we can help you keep your facility clean and safe.

Wendy Stackhouse has been the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services, since October of 2011. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!

Ronald McDonald House Dinner with Friends Less Than 2 Weeks Away!

Alliance sponsors Ronald McDonald House of SD

One of our very favorite events is coming up on Saturday, March 2nd–the Ronald McDonald House Dinner with Friends!

Our own Carlos Sanguinetti and Matt Teeter do a wonderful job putting on this amazing fundraising event and you still have time to buy tickets and/or make a donation!

If you want to know what this event is like, here is a slideshow of last year’s Dinner with Friends:

You can learn more about the Dinner with Friends on the Alliance Environmental Group Facebook Page, where you can also buy tickets!

Don’t miss this fabulous event in support of this wonderful organization!

Technology Improving Air Quality Data Gathering

Heart made of butterflies

Image by nellart via stock.xchng

One important factor in improving air quality is knowing your baseline: where you are starting from. Otherwise it’s impossible to tell if you are getting better. Some technological developments are helping the Environmental Protection Agency, research scientists and even ordinary citizens to know the air quality wherever they are so that they can make informed decisions about what they can do to improve it. Here are some things that are going on today:


California’s Central Valley has some of the worst air pollution in the nation and the National Aeronotical and Space Administration has sent two research planes to Kern County to improve air pollution monitoring.

The problem in Kern County is two-fold: geography and agriculture. Dairy farms produce ammonia which creates aerosols. These aerosols “confuse” the satellites monitoring the air quality, which cannot tell the difference “between pollution located high in the atmosphere and that found at the surface, where people live.”

The other problem in Kern County is the geography. The area is shaped like a bathtub with a lid, which traps the unhealthy air produced by the farms in the valley.

The NASA planes can fly lower than the satellites can see, monitoring where the pollution is rather than the cleaner air above.

The air quality where you live

Mobile app developers have created the AirNow app for both iOS and Android smartphones so that people can access the Air Quality Index for their location anytime, day or night. Click here to go to the AirNow website, where you can download either of these helpful apps.

You can help

Researchers and developers at The University of Southern California have developed an app which monitors your air quality and sends the data you collect back to the University. The information is gathered via a photo taken with your smartphone camera which measures visibility. Read more about the Visibility app here.

If you are a regular reader of our blogs, you will know that we are always interested in improving your air quality, especially indoors. In today’s well-sealed homes and office buildings, air quality can become a challenge. Make sure your air ducts and ventilation systems are cleaned and decontaminated regularly, bring in some potted plants and check your cleaning supplies for products which contain volatile organic compounds. And when you can…open the windows!

Happy Valentine’s Day from AirTek!

AirTek’s Newest Equipment

World News

Photo by jayofboy via stock.xchng

AirTek has invested in new, state-of-the-art equipment to better service its clients with microbial and insect and contamination concerns.

Our latest acquisition is a standalone vehicle capable of treating up to 2,000-square feet at a time–the equivalent of four apartments–and will enable Alliance to run the equipment independent of the building. This truck not only transports the equipment to the jobsite but also includes an on-board generator capable of powering the equipment used.

“Most of the equipment was utilized in the Southern California market, but client needs in San Francisco, where the buildings are older and the logistics of working within the city can be challenging, required us to expand our equipment and services to more efficiently and effectively meet client demands.” said Joseph McLean, Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Environmental.

Alliance initially invested in a significant number of direct-fired heaters as well as a hydronic heating trailer (seen in this blog), which successfully apply heat, move air and monitor and record temperatures on projects which can require constant heat over multiple days. And now, with more than seven years of experience in thermal remediation and 12 trained technicians, Alliance can consistently utilize a variety of equipment to best serve the needs of its clients throughout California.

Alliance currently has equipment stationed in San Diego, Azusa, Moorpark and Santa Clara. In Southern California the equipment includes 30 direct-fired heaters, a 500,000 btu makeup heater, a 1.2 million BTU Hydronic heater, 10 – 24,000 btu electric heaters, 30 -15,000 btu electric heaters, and 5 trucks with 8 trained heat technicians. In Northern California we have 14 direct-fired heaters, 8 – 24,000 btu electric heaters, 6 – 15,000 btu electric heaters, 3 trucks and 4 trained technicians.

If you need thermal remediation to treat pests or structural contamination or perform structural drying, contact AirTek and our trained technicians and their state-of-the-art equipment will be there to help!

Candles and Your Indoor Air


Photo by GlynnAnn via stock.xchng

Smells are evocative and a great way to trigger feelings of relaxation and happiness through association. Cinnamon can bring back warm holiday memories, floral scents can bring spring energy. Even the scent of your childhood bubble bath can make you smile.

But these experiences can come with a price: volatile organic compounds in your indoor air.

We should probably be asking candle manufacturers to list their ingredients as we do the makers of food and cleaning products. After all, we are ingesting these chemicals one way or another. Here is a list of some of the toxic ingredients that can be found in candles:

  • Paraffin–a waste product from refined petroleum, paraffin gives off carcinogenic chemicals when burned as well as soot similar to that found in diesel exhaust.
  • Lead–although banned in the US for use in candle wicks in 2003, lead can still be found in the wicks of scented candles made in China. There isn’t even a ban in place in Canada.
  • Acetone
  • Trichlorofluoromethane
  • Carbon Disulfide
  • 2-Butanone
  • Trichloroethane
  • Trichloroethene
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Tetrachloroethene
  • Chlorobenzene
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Styrene
  • Xylene
  • Phenol
  • Cresol
  • Cyclopentene

And you thought it was just beeswax!

There are healthier alternatives to candles made with these types of ingredients, beeswax being the safest. If you want your home to have those lovely evocative smells, consider essential oil rings or potpourri. But stay away from the vanilla candles from the 99 Cents store–they are not worth the risk!

Great thanks to for their list of toxins found in candles.

Wendy Stackhouse has been the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services, since October of 2011. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!

Lead Contamination After a Disaster

We’ve been reading a lot about the problems that the victims of Superstorm Sandy are still having because of damage to their homes and other buildings, especially mold from water damage, but mold is not the only thing that can be a challenge after a flood.

We were recently called in to remove some lead that had been exposed in an apartment because of water damage from a flood upstairs and our own Krystle Pacay got us some great pictures!

Alliance Van

Lead paint removal, to be done safely, takes preparation and isolation to prevent any lead dust contaminating other parts of the residence or going home with the cleanup crew.

Isolating lead

Then the lead paint removal team can move in and start the project:

Ready to begin

You can see here that there was a lot to clean up:

lead contaminated flooring

The team from Alliance Environmental Group removed the lead paint and damaged building materials and disposed of it all properly, without danger to themselves, the apartment residents or Krystle!

We expect our teams to send us even more great process photos of future projects. Thanks, Krystle! See you next time!

Van door

Wendy Stackhouse has been the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services, since October of 2011. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!