Monthly Archives: August 2013

Formaldehyde Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality

There are so many compounds that do not help the indoor air quality become purified enough for us to breathe while at home or at work. One organic chemical that affects the air inside our homes and buildings is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is produced industrially for use as a preservative, disinfectant and for other materials for buildings. Outside, formaldehyde helps form smog and ground level ozone. Now imagine that is outside, formaldehyde can do the same but indoors and impact your health. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and the State of California and the World Health Organization classify it in California. This substance since it is a carcinogen it can produce cancer. Other forms that can affect your health is irritation in the eyes, nose, and respiratory problems. In addition, Formaldehyde can also trigger asthma symptoms. Below is a video on Formaldehyde being a danger to your indoor air quality.

 

 

 

*Resource:healthybuilding.net

Carbon Monoxide May Travel Through Drywall

Garage door

Image by Mattox via stock.xchng

We’ve all heard about not sitting in the garage with the door closed and the engine running. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill. In fact, carbon monoxide kills about 500 people accidentally every year in the US and causes cognitive impairment in 18-35% of those who suffer carbon monoxide poisoning and survive.

Carbon monoxide alarms have been required by law in homes in 25 states, but 10 of those states exempt homes without attached garages or fuel-burning appliances, in the belief that only homes with those features are really in danger from carbon monoxide, but that may not be the case.

In a study reported in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers found that carbon monoxide may be able to move from one unit of multi-family housing to another without using ventilation systems, stairwells or halls–it must be moving through the walls.

At AirTek, we support monitoring of indoor air quality and hope we are helping our readers become more aware of what may be in the air they are breathing, even at home. Carbon monoxide can and does kill without giving any warning of its own. Does your home share a wall with someone else’s garage? Do the people in the unit below you have a fuel-burning appliance? Or a fireplace? Do you live in a state that requires carbon monoxide detectors? And if so, do you have one?

We hope that you would never take any chances with carbon monoxide yourself, but since you may not be able to control those close by, we hope that you are being thoughtful about the risks that exist of carbon monoxide poisoning and its potentially tragic consequences.

The PROS of Maintaining Your Indoor Air Quality

We have learned different ways of improving the indoor air quality and have read some shocking statistics about the cons of indoor air quality in small businesses and in any commercial building. However being aware of the health affects is important for your business and your employees. Below is a list provided by Green Environmental on the PROS of great indoor air quality.

  • Increased life expectancy – Reductions in air pollution can produce rapid improvements in public health. Research has shown that improving air quality by reducing current U.S. EPA particle concentration standards would result in a reduction in the risk of death.
  • Increased occupant / worker health, comfort and productivity
  • Improved indoor air quality can reduce symptoms of SBS by 20 to 50%, asthma by 8 to 25%, and respiratory illnesses by 26 to 75%.
  • Occupants of green buildings report themselves to be more comfortable and satisfied with indoor air quality than occupants of non-green buildings.
  • Research by Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory suggests that higher indoor air quality itself can boost worker productivity by as much as 5%.
  • Increased Property Values – Rental properties, condominiums, homes and commercial buildings can gain a marketing advantage if they are known to offer a healthy and pleasant indoor environment.
  • Increased ventilation rates: when the rate of outdoor air supply is increased, the indoor air concentrations of many pollutants emitted from sources inside the building are diminished.
  • Lower levels of humidity also diminishes mold to grow in walls or inside any HVAC system.

Overall, the pros of maintaining any HVAC system can increase property value, increase ventilation and decrease the sick days for employees.The list above are just a few of the ways of why it is important to maintain the indoor air quality in any business or commercial property in excellent condition. If you want to maintain or improve the indoor air quality, your HVAC system is the perfect place to start. At AIRTEK we are leading providers of duct cleaning services. VIsit our website and like our Facebook Community Page to learn how the pros of maintaining your indoor air quality.

 

Our 200th Post: Sales and Marketing Conference 2013

La Quinta Resort entrance

Every year we hold a two-day sales and marketing conference where we talk about strategies, marketing campaigns, budgets, and new business for the coming year and, of course, networking. This year it was held at the La Quinta Resort in the desert and we thought you might like a glimpse behind the curtain at AirTek!

La Quinta is a beautiful location, perfectly designed for both productive meetings and re-energizing a team and we had a great time there last week. Here are a couple of photos:

During the conference

Getting started

We are very proud of our sales and marketing teams–they do great work every day!

With help from Susana Escamilla, who writes here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we have reached a milestone: 200 blog posts! We hope that you find our articles informative!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, 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!

Different Sources Contaminate The Indoor Air You Breathe

There are many factors that contribute to bad indoor air quality. We’ve blogged about ways to improve the indoor air quality in enclosed areas. Poor indoor air quality in commercial buildings results in employees calling sick, having allergy symptoms and not being productive. In order to know if the air inside buildings are in good condition and have no health risk factors, California has Indoor Air regulations that need to be followed. However, before any indoor air is tested commercial property owners need to know the many sources that causes contamination inside the air they breathe. At AIRTEK we are concerned about the well being of the air you breathe inside. As we see below in the graph, one of the areas that can contaminate the indoor air is the HVAC system. AIRTEK is a leading provider of commercial industrial HVAC system cleaning. In order to decrease air contamination inside a building ventilation is the proper way to restore clean air inside a building. If you are concerned about the air your employees are breathing visit our WEBSITE and like our Facebook Community Page to learn more about improving indoor air quality.

*Below is a graph provided by green environmental.

HVAC System

General Household

Building Remodeling

Emissions from nearby sources

Dust or dirt in ductwork or other components Smoking, cooking, and cleaning; carbon monoxide Microbiologicals released from demolition or remodeling activities Vehicle and factory exhaust
Microbiological growth in condenser drain pans, humidifiers, ductwork, coils Volatile organic compounds from use of paint, caulk, adhesives, and other products Crawl space dust and debris released from demolition or remodeling activities Dumpster odors
Improper venting Microbial growth from soiled or water damaged areas Contaminated HVAC systems, molded coils and ductwork Fires

Containment Barriers Reduce Infection Risks

*(photo source: Google Images)

Dust is a topic that many in the industry are talking about. More and more individuals are being cautious about indoor air pollution. Working in and around any healthcare environment increases the possibility of the air to be contaminated quickly. When there are healthcare facilities being under construction or renovation, during that process there can be dirt, contaminants and particles that can pollute the air. The air is no longer healthy and the air can facilitate to other parts of the healthcare facility and cause symptoms of eye irritation and irritation on the throat and lungs. In a location such as a healthcare facility, the control of containing any particles present in the air is severe because there might be patients who might be allergic to dust and cause a severe reaction. In addition, employees and staff working at any healthcare facility can also have allergic reactions for they also can be exposed. The well being of the patient and employees are important during any renovation.

In order for the area to be protected containment barriers are used. You might have seen them in several renovation projects or in buildings. The use of containment barriers will allow your employers and the environment around them to be safe. Containment barriers reduce airborne infection risks related to construction. An example of guidelines that need to be followed when a company is hired and contractor’s work together in a hospital can be read here. It is an extensive list of guidelines that need to be measured while working in any healthcare facility. At AIRTEK we understand the guidelines that need to be meant while doing any renovation or construction project in any health care facility. Our team works closely with facility management to develop control and safety strategies to ensure everyone is safe and protected. To learn more about the infectious control we provide visit our WEBSITE.

 

Customer Appreciation Day, August 2013

We took a food truck to some of our favorite customers this week! You might be next!

Here is a slideshow of the fun!

We will give you a heads-up when we are headed for your parking lot!

Indoor Air Quality in Nail Salons

Going into a salon do have your nails done sometimes feels nice but the time that is spent there breathing in all the strong chemicals is uncomfortable. In a previous blog, we talked about lead being in some makeup products such as a lipstick. Other small businesses like nail salons are taking the stand of improving their air quality. According to the Los Angeles Times, earlier last month the city of Santa Monica is launching a program to recognize salons that use healthier products and provide better indoor air quality.

The program aims to improve working conditions for roughly 120 nail technicians working at 30 licensed salons throughout the city. Nail salons will be recognized if they meet certain requirements, including avoiding polishes with the most toxic chemicals, ensuring their employees wear proper gloves and taking steps to improve ventilation. This is a great step for small salon businesses to care about the indoor air quality of their nails salons. The indoor air of nails salons can become saturated with chemicals that are being used. According to Achooallergy.com, “Products such as base coats, top coats and polish removers all contain some of the same chemicals found in an auto body shop.” Although there are several chemicals being distributed in the air in nail salons, The United States Environmental Protection Agency provides a check lists of proper handling of products and what materials to use while working in a nail salon. According to EPA, making changes in nail salon work practices can stop pollutants at the source and reduce air pollution.

To make a nail salon safer proper ventilation is key. Ventilation systems are often not maintained properly and reduce the levels of ventilation that were designed to provide. When ventilation is not sufficient, airborne chemicals build up.

It is important for small businesses like nail salons, to not share the same ventilation system with surrounding businesses to avoid spreading chemical vapors to neighboring businesses. Knowing the right steps to take to improve indoor air quality in any small business like nail salons is important for your future business. If you are a small business and concerned about your indoor air quality AIRTEK may be able to assist you. Visit our website for more information on air duct cleaning and like our Facebook Community Page or more tips on improving indoor air quality and other services AIRTEK provides.

 

*Click HERE for to see a graph of the potential health effects from chemical ingredients in nail salons.

(Photo Source: Google Images)

AirTek Updates: Lots of News!

We thought this week was a good time to let you know some of the exciting things going on with AirTek lately and some fun things coming up, as well.

Since we announced our Shoe Drive for Baby Carson in July, we have collected almost 40 pairs of shoes!

Shoe drive so far

Great effort, everyone! The best part is we thought that we only had until August 9th to collect shoes to help defray the cost of Baby Carson’s medical treatment for Kawasaki Disease, but the shoe drive has been extended and broadened to include all of our offices! If you have any shoes to donate (used, good condition, no holes) you can send them to us or drop them off anytime in the next few months! You can see our list of locations HERE and read more about Baby Carson’s story HERE.

Some members of our team recently attended an amazing session with the California Society for Healthcare Engineering to make sure we are all up-to-speed on new rules and regulations for healthcare facility maintenance–an important part of our service areas. We will be writing more on the blog about what we learned in upcoming posts.

It’s time already to start talking about this year’s Ronald McDonald House Dinner with Friends, an annual event put on by our own Carlos Sanguinetti and Matt Teeter in support of the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego. You can see a slideshow of last year’s dinner HERE. 2013’s dinner raised more than twice as much as the event in 2012 and Carlos and Matt are sure they can at least double the funds raised in 2014. Would you like to help?

Contact Matt Teeter at mjteets (at) gmail (dot) com if you have any items you would like to donate or any other goods or services that could help with the event!

AirTek is a growing and thriving place these days! Keep your eyes open for even more news in the near future!

Maintaining Air Quality in Ships and in Yachts

Summer is still not over and several individuals are still in vacation. Many are taking road trips, flying back to visit family, on a cruise ship or enjoying riding a yacht on the pacific ocean. In the blog we have blogged about air quality in buildings and in homes. Today we will blog about air quality in ships and in yachts. Being in a marine environment, microbial growth and odors can be present and in ducts. Mold, mildew and fungi can can grow and spread mycotoxins. Once mycotoxins spread they can cause multiple illness such as headaches, nausea and sinus problems. Just like buildings and homes, inspections are also performed in ships. The air quality that we breathe inside ships is also as important as the air quality in homes and at work. Even though we may breathe fresh air from the sea bacteria can still enter the ducts and affect the HVAC system.

The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention perform sanitation inspections on ships. One of the areas that are inspected is the ventilation system. The ventilation system in inspected for maintenance and cleaning air handling systems. In this case, cruise ships are scored on a 100 point scale. Any score below 85 is considered a failing score. Here is a TOOL that you can use to see how a cruise line is scored based on the inspection criteria that is used. Boats are sealed up tight and can sit in for days,weeks, months without any air movement. The moist environment of the ocean can create fungal and bacteria growth as well in yachts. If the ventilating system is used the air is being circulated in a small area are mold, mildew, bacteria is exposed to the guests aboard. Below is an illustration of the “SIck Yacht Syndrome” which is similar to the Sick Building Syndrome. AIRTEK can clean and handle every type of HVAC system. AIRTEK is one of the few duct cleaning companies that carry maritime insurance, allowing work to be performed on ships and other vessels. Visit our website for more information on this service.

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