Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dirty Air Ducts can be a Fire Hazard

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Dirty air ducts can be a fire hazard. A commercial building located in Orange County unfortunately had a fire happen in their location. Yesterday there was an explosion in the city of La Habra. Unfortunately there were employees that were injured in this incident. Many thought that the explosion was caused by chemicals or other hazardous components. However, once it was investigated, the fire began and the explosion sparked from the air conditioning ducts.Any residue, dust and other components can spark a fire.

Over time, all the dust, dirt and other materials that build up can cause an ignition. Possible lint might have also build up over time and lint is also a very dangerous material if exposed to heat. As a result, not only does it cause property damage but other can critically get hurt people. It is important for companies to maintain and perform a regular routine of cleaning the air ducts. Hiring a professional to inspect and clean the air ducts is important to prevent any fire hazard.As a member of the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association, and in accordance with the National Fire Prevention Association, AirTek keeps your commercial facility in compliance with national health and safety standards. Keeping your employee and customer areas safe from fire hazards is our top priority.Contact us so that we may be of assistance and help you and your employees be in a safe environment.

Supreme Court Victory for Air Quality

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It’s very windy here in Southern California today–and hot. During fire season, we get a lot of smoke and particles coming from fires far away, but there are some places that receive other region’s air pollution every day. There will soon be a remedy for that thanks to the Supreme Court.

Reuters reports:

“By a 6-2 vote, the court said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acted reasonably in requiring 28 states to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can lead to soot and smog.”

In a 6-2 vote–Justices Scalia and Thomas dissenting–the Court ruled to limit emissions from power plants which “make it harder for downwind states to comply with the Federal air quality standards or national ambient air quality standards.”

At AirTek, we are happy that high-emissions states will not be able to pollute the air of their downwind neighbors. Of course, in California, we get our air from out over the Pacific, but we definitely feel for our easterly neighbors. Although it is hard to control air quality when it is damaged by the actions of others, we feel powerless. But we are not! There are many things we can do to improve both our indoor and outdoor environments:

  • Change your filters
  • Leave shoes outside
  • Use fans
  • Cook on back burner
  • Open the garage doors–We all know to open the garage before starting the car, but how about leaving the door open after you get home? There is still pollution coming from your car for a few minutes after you turn it off. Let it escape outside rather than leach into your home from the garage.

And our favorite:

  • Clean your ducts–Find a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (like AirTek) and set up a regular maintenance schedule. Your home is filled with pollutants from scented candles and air fresheners, household cleaning products, furniture and flooring, paint and varnish, car exhaust and cooking.

Which states are affected by the ruling? Check out our map!

Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality in Offices

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(Image Source:hhrobertson.com)

The beginning of Spring has been the season where more and more individuals have been trying to improve their indoor air quality. Although we might spend the majority of our time at home, more than half of the population stay indoor but in their workplace. Many work in an office environment and spend most of their mornings and afternoons in an office. If you work in an indoor environment most of the day, you want to be comfortable. We have talked about tips on how to reduce air pollution in office environments, and today we want to address how as a team, employers can resolve air quality problems.Air quality should be one of the main priorities for building managers. However, the building manager and those who work in the environment can work as a team. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given a list of how you can resolve air quality problems:

  • HVAC system operation and maintenance: Operate the ventilation system in a manner consistent with its design. Perform maintenance and inspections on a regular basis, as prescribed by the manufacturer.
  • Record keeping: Maintain records of all HVAC system problems, as well as routine maintenance and inspection activities. Document the nature of complaints concerning the indoor air environment, as well as steps taken to remedy each complaint. These records may be useful in solving future problems.
  • Pollution control: Identify pollution sources. Implement source removal or special ventilation techniques including restrictions on smoking).
  • Occupant activities: Eliminate practices which may restrict air movement (e.g., furniture placement relative to air vents).
  • Building maintenance activities: Increase ventilation rates during periods of increased pollution, e.g., during painting, renovation, and pesticides use; schedule use of pollutant sources to minimize the impact on indoor air quality.
  • Ventilation standards and codes: Keep abreast of revisions to ventilation standards and building codes affected by those standards.
  • Energy conservation: Reexamine energy conservation practices with regard to indoor air quality considerations, employee health, and productivity costs

The health of employees and the comfort of employees should be the top priority for companies. Keeping that in mind can reduce lesser sick days, productivity costs, and energy costs. If you need any indoor air solutions, contact us. AIRTEK provides commercial air duct cleaning and indoor air quality services for many industries.

Mold Inspectors Can Learn From Radon Professionals

Can Mold inspectors learn some methods from Radon Professionals? They can!

Mold and Radon are two different components but they can affect the air quality and your health if it is not addressed quickly. Poor air quality is responsible for many illness. Radon is also the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. A high elevation of mold found in your home can also affect your health. Certain mold spores are known carcinogens and others can lead to respiratory disease, allergic reactions, and other health issues. There are certain ways to inspect and test mold. There is also ways to monitor and test for radon in an environment.

I found it interesting that although there are different ways of measuring and testing mold and radon, those who inspect for mold, can use some methods that radon professional use. The Indoor Air Quality Association made a Tech Tip video on how mold inspectors can learn different protocols that radon professional use to improve the quality of mold inspection. Watch the video and let us know what you think about this video. If there is mold in your environment, our sister company Alliance Environmental Group Inc’s environmental division specializes in mold removal. Click here to learn more information on the service.

UPDATE: Odor Pollution? Sriracha Sauce in Irwindale

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Sriracha costume

We last wrote about the issue of odor pollution from the Sriracha factory in Irwindale last Halloween, but there have been developments in this story in the past week.

We are all in favor of US made hot sauce–after all, it won’t have any lead in it, like some imported hot sauces can–but is this factory affecting the quality of life in Irwindale, CA too much?

The City of Irwindale has received some complaints from residents about odors issuing from the Sriracha factory on Azusa Canyon Road claiming that the smell is a public nuisance, causing eye and throat irritation and headaches.

The factory has been in production for about 2 years and the carbon filters installed at that time seem to have been adequate for the 10% production capacity at which it was working then. But now that the factory has ramped up production to 100%, they may be ineffective. New filters were installed last week and although the residents have requested that the factory stop production, the owners want to keep making hot sauce and test to see if the new filters are doing the job. So far, a judge has denied the request for a restraining order and production continues.

Since our original article was published, the owner of the factory expressed a willingness to move the factory and invited some potential buyers and a US Congressional Representative to tour the factory.

“Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Los Angeles) visited the hot sauce factory Tuesday and spoke with Tran about potentially relocating to the San Fernando Valley. Cardenas is one of dozens of politicians nationwide who have publicly invited Sriracha to locate within their jurisdiction. Offers have poured in from Alabama, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Arizona, New Mexico and West Virginia.” Los Angeles Times

Being a hot sauce wimp myself, I have no opinion on the deliciousness of Sriracha, but my son does not feel the same way.  We certainly understand how an everpresent noxious odor can affect everything including productivity and even student performance in school. The factory employs 200 workers and brings a successful industry to wherever it is located. Keep your eyes open for more updates on this redolent story!

HVAC Maintenance: Keep the Coils Clean

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(Source Image:littletonair.com)

Keep the Coils Clean!

Their are different reasons why it is important to have your coils clean.The benefits of having the coils clean and sanitized is because the system will be energy efficient, the system performance can increase, and the life cycle of the system can last longer. Maintenance is key when trying to improve your HVAC system. There are two different types of coils that need cleaning:

1. Condenser coils – Condenser coils transfer heat into a space. Refrigerant vapor is forced into the coil under pressure, condensing the refrigerant into a liquid, which results in the rejection of heat across the heat exchange surface.

2. Evaporator coils – Evaporator coils do the opposite to condenser coils. Liquid refrigerant is pumped into a low pressure coil, causing the refrigerant to evaporate into a vapor, absorbing heat across the heat exchange surface in the process.

The fact is that the air you breathe comes from the coils. Imagine the coils being extremely dirty and seeing them dirty, you would want to keep them clean all the time. Know what you are breathing. Any dirt that comes from the outside or inside acts as a blanket and keeps any heat from transferring in the coils efficiently. In addition, mildew can collect in the coils and then it becomes a more serious problem because the air will circulate inside your environment. The best way to determine if your coils need some cleaning is to contact a professional and they will check your system.

SLIDESHOW: 2nd Annual Golf Tournament

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We have a ton of great photos from yesterday’s Golf Tournament in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure so we made them into a little slideshow! Enjoy!

We are very proud to report that we raised over twice as much money as last year! Thanks so much to our sponsors, our participants and especially our awesome team who ran such an amazing event! You rock!!

Let’s do it again next year!

Smart IAQ Sensor Technology

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Technology and new gadgets have been very popular in the Indoor Air Quality Industry. Since indoor air quality has been a great concern more and more individuals are building and inventing new smart IAQ sensor technology that consumers can use to detect how their air quality is indoors. Recently, the European Commission (EU) funded a project called IAQSense. The EU states, “The project aims to develop new nanotechnology-based sensor systems that will precisely monitor the composition of the air in terms of both chemical and bio contaminants.” This unique system in the future will eventually be mass produced.

This system will be designed to have sensors that will can be placed in a home, office or vehicle and detect the air quality in your present environment.The project aims to characterize, aim and improve indoor air quality in an innovative way. However, the project will be completed in two more years and it will be a great gadget to see because they will try to go mobile as well. It is interesting to see technology evolve. I think this will be a great gadget that consumers can get a sense of how the environment is around them. It will promote the importance of having a healthy indoor air environment. This might be an addition to what professionals already use to detect, measure and monitor indoor air quality. Do you think the IAQ industry will be interested in having this gadget with them, especially if it goes mobile? Follow our social media sites via Facebook and Twitter to read more about indoor air quality and environmental topics. To learn more information on Indoor Air Quality and your health, the info-graphic below illustrates information on IAQ.

 

Indoor Air Quality and Your Health

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Bacteria in Ventilation Systems

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Cleanliness in the air duct system should be the top priority for a homeowner because you do not want to be breathing in any components that may form in the system. Dust and mold can be present and you may not realize it. Another component that can also be found in the ventilation system that you may not know or even see is bacteria. Yes bacteria can be found in the ventilation system when it is dry but primarily when bacteria is form when water is present in the air ducts or drip bans then this type of bacteria that is form can become a problem. According to an article by Indoor Environment Connections, when the bacteria is form it not only becomes a pathogen but also can be a endotoxins that can cause respiratory and ocular irritation, and can exacerbate asthma. The article also talks about how the bacteria might cause aerosolization. In addition the article also these actions are caused by three actions:

  • Drips impacting wet surfaces
  • Sharp changes in airflow direction that lead to impactions on wet surfaces (which would also cause splashing)
  • Any sharp movements of the ductwork

The bacteria colonies that can be form in your ventilation system can contaminate your air system and must be not only cleaned but disinfected. Whether the ventilation system in your home or commercial property needs maintenance we recommend a professional assist you in cleaning your air duct system. At AirTek, we have the experience to handle the complex system requirements and regulations that are unique to large facilities. Replenishing your environment with clean air is our top priority.

 

Source:ieconnections.com

Air Quality on Earth Day

earthdayEarth Day is next Tuesday, April 22nd!

US Senator Gaylord Nelson organized the first Earth Day in 1970–yes, Earth Day has been with us for over 4 decades! The very first Earth Day celebration drew 20 million participants and Earth Day is now recognized by the United Nations as International Mother Earth Day.

According to Party Earth, “today Earth Day is celebrated by over one billion people in nearly 200 countries around the globe and one of the best places to celebrate this year’s Earth Day is Los Angeles.”

We agree!

Check out their calendar of Earth Day Events in the Los Angeles area.

The Indoor Air Quality Association released a video yesterday about Earth Day and Air Quality that we thought you would be interested in:

“EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times–and occasionally more than 100 times–higher than outdoor levels.”

We are used to thinking of the Great Outdoors on Earth Day–planting trees, riding our bikes, picking up litter–but the Great Indoors is important, too. After all, we spend most of our time indoors, whether it be at school, at home, or at work.

So let’s join together and celebrate our planet, indoors and out!

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