Monthly Archives: April 2013

Selecting Paint: Color Isn’t the Only Thing to Think About

Sold sign

Image by svilen001 via stock.xchng

My best friend and her husband just put in a winning bid on their first home and, of course, they are very excited to start furniture shopping and choosing colorschemes.

But a new home–especially one built since technology gave us the ability to seal them up so effectively–can be a haven for indoor air pollution instead of a healthy living environment.

I’m sure my friends will want to paint. I know their daughter does! Any paint can be made into whatever color you choose, but you also need to think about what is IN that paint and how to deal with it when it is on the walls.

  • Choosing a low- or no-VOC paint these days is not difficult, but you have to be sure to look for it.
  • Make sure the area is well-ventilated while you are painting. Even healthier paints give off fumes.
  • If at all possible, leave windows open for a few days after painting to allow chemicals to off-gas and get outside.
  • Be sure that the fans and ducts in your new home are working and clean. They are a major part of keeping your house energy efficient AND healthy.

I can’t wait to start helping my friends with their move and we are going window shopping on Saturday. Now all I need is a measuring tape…
If you want to learn more about choosing healthier paint for your home, here is a very informative video from the Indoor Air Quality Association:

Have a great weekend and see you on Tuesday!

Golf Tournament Photos!

We are waiting for more pictures, but here are a few to whet your appetite!

Golf Tournament collageMore to come!

Alliance Acquires AMP Abatement

AMP Abatement logo

Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. is proud to announce today that it has acquired AMP Abatement, a local leader in asbestos and lead abatement.

“Alliance Environmental continues to experience record growth,” stated Joseph McLean, chief executive officer of Alliance Environmental.  “AMP Abatement  has a proven track record of high quality service and expertise in environmental services and we are excited to welcome them into our family.”

Based in San Diego, California, AMP Abatement has worked exclusively with adjusters and insurance carriers for their asbestos and lead abatement projects.  AMP Abatement will continue to retain its brand identity.

“We are excited to join the Alliance Environmental family,” said Andrew Grabhorn, President of AMP Abatement.  “We will now be able to offer a greater range of services and higher level of expertise to our existing and future customers.”

We know you will join us in welcoming AMP Abatement into the Alliance Environmental Group family!

Wood Dust in the News


Image by stocker via stock.xchng

We have written here on the AirTek blog before about the dangers of wood dust:

“Why is wood dust so dangerous?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, and cancer.

Is that bad enough?”

Last week, we learned of a wood recycling plant in the UK that may have been letting wood dust enter the environment, endangering the lives and health of people in the area, the risks possibly rivaling those of asbestos, a known carcinogen.

Thankfully, my husband seems to have recovered from his experience inhaling wood dust while working on our son’s Pinewood Derby car for Cub Scouts a couple of years ago, but I will be looking out for health issues in future years.

Recycling in general is a good thing and we all hope that there will be more uses for biomass that would otherwise go into landfills. Not letting any wood go to waste is also an admirable goal. But the possibility always exists that we could do more harm than good if we are not careful. We will be watching this story. Check back!

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!

Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget About Cooling Towers!

Drained sink

Image by Shune via stock.xchng

After spending last week Reth!inking Facility Management with the IFMA, we came across an interesting article in Smarter Facility Management and thought it would be a good time to jump on the bandwagon for cooling tower maintenance.

When you are switching over from heating to cooling (sometimes all on the same day, at least here in SoCal!), you need to make sure you have done some commonsense maintenance to prevent the spread of bacteria and other contaminants that can cause:

Here are a few things you should think about before turning that air conditioning on:

  • Did you drain the cooling tower for the winter? How about the piping and heat exchangers? If not, there is probably Legionella bacteria in there, since it is pretty much everywhere. It needs to be decontaminated and dry before you start it up or that bacteria will be circulated throughout your system, ready to make someone sick.
  • Even if you drained it, is it dry now? An inspection of your whole system is definitely in order on a regular schedule.
  • If you are using a submersible UV lamp to keep the water in your system contaminant-free, Smarter Facility Management recommends that you change the bulb every 12 months, as “they lose output over time.” It is important that it be working at an optimum level.

Water testing alone is not enough and no facility can afford to take a chance that potentially deadly Legionnaires’ Disease can break out because of lack of maintenance. The risks are just too great. AirTek offers services in Commercial Duct Cleaning and cooling tower maintenance that will put your mind at ease about your cooling system before any problems crop up. Contact AirTek for more information!

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!

Event of the Week: SDCAA Expo!

SDCAA Expo 2013

We were very busy last week: 3 days at Facility Fusion and then Derby Day at Santa Anita Racetrack! This week we will be in San Diego with the San Diego County Apartment Association at their 2013 Educational Conference and EXPO: The Best in the Wild, Wild West!

The San Diego Convention Center will be hosting over 2500 attendees and provide not only a tradeshow for Exhibitors like AirTek, but many educational offerings for Owner/Operators, Property Managers and Facility Maintenance pros.

Seminar topics will include the current economic forecast, hot topics in the rental housing industry, tenant screening trends, new and classic strategies for going green, workforce diversity and–my personal favorite–using social media!

A lighthearted addition to the program is the SDCAA’s annual Maintenance Mania Competition, which will help select the technician who will be sent to the National Maintenance Mania. Come and cheer on your favorite technician!

AirTek will join approximately 180 other companies exhibiting at this outstanding tradeshow opportunity. Keep an eye on our Facebook Page and our Twitter Feed for our booth number and photos from the Expo on Wednesday.

Hope you are having a great day!

New Study Shows Effectiveness of Steam Cleaning HVAC Systems

Black prings

Image by b heyer via stock.xchng

Dirt, bacteria and other contaminants in HVAC systems affect our environment in many ways.

First, they cause us to use more energy to run heaters and air conditioners. The more difficult it is for air to flow through the system, the more energy it takes to do so.

Second, they can cause particles like mold spores and soot that get into the system to circulate throughout, triggering allergy or even asthma attacks in sensitive people.

Third–and possibly most important–they can spread disease. The Legionella bacterium, for example, can be found everywhere and Legionnaries’ Disease is only prevented by keeping air and water systems clean and well-maintained. Luckily it can be prevented by these measures.

These accumulated contaminants restrict the air flow pathway and cause excess energy consumption, while contaminants like bacteria and mold (fungi) adversely impact human health by causing allergies and other infections or diseases.

The new study by the Continental Automated Buildings Association ( determined that steam cleaning of “clogged debris from on or within evaporator coils” was effective in reducing microbial and other contamination.

How did the study work?

“A dusty, rusty and clogged HVAC coil was treated with steam generated at 350ºC through a proprietary jet covering an area of 4’’ X 1” vertically at a time. Environmental bulk samples for microbiological (bacteria/fungi) evaluation were collected before and after steam sanitization from the front central face (fin) area of the coil. Light perforation and air flow tests of the coil were undertaken before and after the treatment.” TransWorldNews

The results were conclusive. Cleaning HVAC coils with steam is 99.99% effective in removing bacterial material and other debris including lint. Circulation was significantly improved as was performance of the system. Read the research paper here.

AirTek is proud to provide steam cleaning services for coils, ducts, and HVAC systems for both commercial and residential customers. Contact us to prevent the potential for lost work hour and health problems caused by poor indoor air quality!

Rethinking Facility Management with the IFMA

Facility Fusion

Starting today, we will be with the International Facility Management Association at an event called Facility Fusion: Reth!nk Facility Management.

Here is how the IFMA describes Facility Fusion:

“A vibrant new movement is taking place within the facility management profession. In recent years, trends like change management, sustainability and workplace strategy have been game-changers for FMs.

These ideas have transformed the way we do business and provided new opportunities for success—but it’s up to the facility professional to determine how we get there. It’s time to embrace change, become proactive instead of reactive, and define your own future.”

We are excited to be part of the proactive future of Facility Management and are looking forward to meeting and engaging with others who are excited, too!

Are you attending Facility Fusion 2013? Come by and say Hi! Tell us how it’s going for you on our Facebook Page or Tweet us about how you are Rethinking Facility Management. You can Tweet about the conference by using the hashtag #FF2013. We would love to talk to you! We will be posting pictures and telling our friends and followers how it’s going for us, too!

Hope you had a lovely weekend and no one played any pranks on you yesterday!