Monthly Archives: May 2014

Part 3: New Technology for the HVAC Industry

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Image Source:www.roboticsdesign.qc.ca

Happy Friday!

New technology is being produced for the HVAC Industry and one of the new technologies are robot duct cleaners. Their are no regulations in the industry when it comes to proper cleaning and using robotic equipment might be the best way to get government regulations.On the second part of this topic we talked about how there are different robots that are made by different manufacturers but they were not designed well. An article addressing this same topic on DuctTales by Steven Scanlan states, “A quality design for a robot is one that resolves all the challenges the robot will face. With lower duct cleaning costs and reduced length through high efficiency equipment, governments will be far more regular and widespread duct cleaning.” When there are jobs that require cleaning the duct that are in high ceilings the best solution will be to use a robot. Many duct cleaners outside of the United States have used a robotic device called the ANATROLLER and have been very pleased. This robot can save working hours and have the flexibility to clean very small and large ducts while giving great visibility in the ducts with cameras.

In Canada and Europe where government regulation of proper cleaning is being enforced, these devices are being used more frequently. Robotics Design Inc. makes different robots to serve different jobs. For example, there is a robot that can be used for commercial and industrial ducts. Another robot that is best used for residential homes and another robot to access any job whether the duct is small or very large. Overall, using well designed robot mobile duct cleaners can show clients the highest quality of work and a company can show their concern for their health, because professional’s can be exposed to toxic substances in hazardous environments like hospitals or other buildings that produce hazardous products. You may read more about these mobile robots by visiting the Robotics Design Inc website.. What is your opinion about using mobile robot duct cleaners? Have you used this device and has it worked for you? Let us know what you think about these devices that can be used in the industry and whether it might help get government regulations in the states for proper duct cleaning.

Hotel Hot Tub Safety

jacuzziSummer travel season is here! One of the things my family looks for when we go out on the road is a place to stay that has a pool and/or a hot tub for relaxing after a long day sightseeing or driving long distances. But you never really know how well-maintained those facilities are and are often just hoping for the best. Hot tub safety is something we should all be thinking about when traveling.

Hotel hot tubs are especially questionable, since the temperatures can be perfect environments for bacteria growth.

According to Michele Hlavsa, CDC epidemiologist. and Charles Gerba, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Environmental Studies at the University of Arizona, you may want to stay out of that hot tub at your hotel.

What is in the hotel hot tub water?

Are you sure you want to know? There is about a tablespoon of feces in there. Also Pseudomonas aeruginosa, bacteria which cause what is called “hot tub rash.” This bacteria proliferates when disinfectant levels are too low. The biggest danger to be found in hotel hot tubs, however, is the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria which can cause Legionnaires’ Disease. The legionella bacteria are found in the water, but also in the steam, so even if you don’t go in, but sit on the side of the hotel hot tub, you could be picking up a nasty bug.

Why doesn’t the chlorine in the water kill the germs and bacteria? Isn’t that what it’s for?

If water temperatures were always correct and disinfectant levels always high enough, the dangers of hotel hot tubs would be less. Another factor, however, is the fact that we do not shower before entering the hot tub or the pool. We’ve all seen the signs, but no one knows why we should shower so we don’t often do it. But the sunscreen, sweat, bacteria, and cosmetics we bring into the hot tub make the disinfectant in the water very busy and sometimes unable to deal with the other contaminants.

What can we do to be safe in a hotel hot tub?

Do what the sign says, shower first.

Look before you leap–If the hot tub smells, tiles are not smooth, or the temperature is over 40 degrees Celsius, stay out.

Keep your mouth closed–Don’t get any hot tub water in your mouth. It’s just not clean enough for ingestion, even accidentally.

It’s very nice to find a hotel or motel has a hot tub–a great way to relax after a long day of travel. Just be careful so that your vacation isn’t ruined by a day in the bathroom or a trip to the ER.

Part 2: Robot Duct Cleaning and Government Regulations

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Image Source: Good Choice EST

Hope everyone had a great memorial day weekend. Today we wanted to expand the topic about government enforcement on NADCA duct cleaning standards. Last Friday, we talked about how duct cleaners have to take standards serious and follow guidelines provided by NADCA so that the government can acknowledge the industry and government regulations can exist on proper duct cleaning. You may read more about it by clicking here..The second part of this topic is equipment. There are different equipment that professionals use in order to clean ducts. Robots are slowly being adapted into the cleaning equipment in the industry.

Duct cleaners have the option to buy duct cleaning robots from different suppliers. However, duct cleaning robot manufacturers are unregulated and several do not like  Government regulations may be difficult to exist when duct cleaning done by robots may not clean proper and there have been complains about them. These are some cons on duct cleaning robots:

  • Break down quickly
  • Get stuck in the duct
  • May not clean the duct deeply enough (Cleaning of Ducts is extremely important in the healthcare industry)
  • Clients needs may not be met with the duct cleaning robots
  • Price Point
  • Flip Over and do not have the maneuverability needed

Poorly designed duct cleaning robots will prevent from any regulations placed by the government. If duct cleaning robots can not get the job done correctly the government will unlikely enforce cleaning standards. A well developed robot can be the best option that can ensure proper duct cleaning and be an investment for duct cleaners. Stay tune for the final part on this discussion. If you would like to read more about indoor air quality and about the HVAC Industry follow us on Facebook andTwitter.

Bad Air Quality Linked to Pregnancy Complications

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Poor air quality can affect us even before we are born, researchers are finding. Doctors are recommending expectant mothers not only think hard about what they eat and drink, but also about what they breathe.

In an interview with WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Dr. Christopher Innes (a local OB-GYN) recommends that “all expecting moms should check daily air quality reports and limit your time outdoors when pollutants are at high levels.”

He also cautions that mothers-to-be who already have breathing problems be extra careful.

How can bad air quality affect unborn babies?

“Small babies being born, early delivery, and sometimes even hypertension in moms which could necessitate early delivery…”

Some babies can even be born with asthma.

Dr. Innes recommends that expectant mothers change their air filters regularly. We agree, but would add that a good duct cleaning could make a big difference. Under normal circumstances, adults can spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. For pregnant women, with extra need for rest and nesting activities in the home, that number might be even greater.

If you are expecting a baby–Congratulations! You have a lot to think about to keep your baby safe–air quality is only one. But it is worth some thoughtful consideration!

Part 1: Government Enforcement on NADCA Duct Cleaning Standards

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In the HVAC Industry the ACR, is the NADCA Standard to improve the quality of service from a company. The NADCA ACR Standard and certification are referenced regularly so that HVAC Industry professionals are informed on important standards, guidelines and educational materials. From a consumer’s stand point, a consumer would want quality work performed from a professional company who follow these standards. However, there is no official enforcement of regulations for proper duct cleaning. In other words, there is no government enforcement of the NADCA duct cleaning standards. If government regulations existed, duct cleaning standards would ensure that certified contractors would perform and clean public and government buildings effectively. According to an article in DuctTales by Steven Scanlan there are several reasons why the government has not accepted regulating these standards within the industry. They are as followed:

  • Inspections- Difficult to enforce and can go unrecorded in many contracts.
  • Low Quality Imaging- Difficult for those who have been in the business longer determine. whether the ducts have been cleaned compared to a higher quality inspection.
  • Different equipment methods & Job Quality- Every company works differently and uses different equipment while doing duct cleaning jobs which make it difficult to ensure that government see proper cleaning methods.

In order for government regulations to take place, duct cleaners have to take the standards serious and follow the guidelines that are provided by NADCA.NADCA standards to rely on equipment standards and there are upcoming equipment that duct cleaners can start to use that may help clean the duct properly. We will discuss this topic next week. What are your thoughts about getting the government acceptance of NADCA Standards? Let us know what your thoughts are.

Preventing Dryer Vent Fires with Better Standards

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AirTek technicians are certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) to ensure air ducts, coils, vents and other equipment meet national health and safety standards.The NADCA published an article recently by another certified technician in Florida who is trying to improve the standards for dryer vents and dryer vent cleaning projects.

Mike Dexter has been frustrated by poor building standards in Florida, where construction decisions are made with more consideration to ocean views than safety. He has also seen fly-by-night duct cleaners do things like use leaf blowers to clean out dryer vents.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that “[a]n estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.” Leaf blowers can’t prevent those tragic losses.

How can you be sure that your duct cleaning company is using best practices to clean your ducts? Make sure their technicians are certified by the NADCA. Uncertified companies may seem cheaper, but the cost in property and possible injury of a dryer vent fire is so much greater. If an uncertified technician tells you your ducts are clean, you are still at risk for a fire in your home, but you won’t know it. You will think you have done everything you can to prevent a dryer vent fire.

If you are in California and need NADCA certified duct cleaning services, contact AirTek. Our highly trained professionals will use the latest and best technology and equipment to clean ducts thoroughly, ensuring the safety of you and your family.

Pollution Levels Are High in Anaheim

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Image Source:Smart Traveler

Southern California is known for beautiful sigh seeing places, but also known as having the worst traffic. Many commuters specifically travel through the I-5 Freeway near Anaheim. Recently, air quality monitors, detected the pollution high. One of the monitors that detected the high pollution levels is near Disneyland, on Ball Road exit. Personally, I use to live around that area knowing that not only I but so many who work around that area and live around that area were exposed to high nitrogen dioxide levels. The measurements taken in that area are 60% higher than the region as a whole!

The EPA collects these measurements and several monitors across the state have been put to measure pollutants. The South Coast Air Quality Management District states in their website, “NO2 is one of several routinely monitored “criteria” pollutants that the US EPA links to human health impacts, and also is a key ingredient in the production of the secondary criteria pollutant, Ozone.” Although, it is a great concern and also a concern for residents who live around busy roads and freeways, it is also a concern for schools.

The results of the monitors can give local city planning officials ways on implementing the results near traffic. More and more individuals are understanding the impact that pollution can have to a whole region. In the beginning of the year, cities across the country were required to install monitoring devices around major roads to monitor nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particle pollution. Air Pollution has dropped significantly than past years, but there is a lot of work for state and federal officials to determine what plans need to be done in order to reduce individuals who live around major traffic roads and freeways from being exposed to pollutants. To read more topics on air quality and indoor air quality visit AirTek Weekly

Wet Paint Smell: More Than Just Annoying

The odor of wet paint can be irritating, especially to those with allergies or asthma. The paint is “off-gassing,” which means it is releasing molecules of gases that were in the paint as it dries. But we learned this week that it can actually be more dangerous than that.

Researchers from Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies looked at over 2000 chemical plant workers in France who had worked with solvents used in paint, adhesives, degreasers and glues. They found that even if the exposure to the solvents had occurred decades before the study, it still could affect cognitive ability. Decades later.

In recent years, workers in chemical industries have been much better protected than those of years gone by, wearing respirators and in safer facilities, but when we paint our homes, we aren’t wearing safety equipment whenever we can smell the paint drying. Those molecules are there in our indoor environment, and not just from paint, but also varnish on your new dining room table and the adhesive holding down that new carpeting.

So, that said, here at AirTek we are always concerned about your indoor air quality and we hope you have used interior paint! In researching for this story, I read some posts about people using exterior paint indoors and the fumes basically never went away at all. They had to paint over the walls again with a sealant used by fire restoration folks to get rid of smoke smell.

Is it safe to be in the room when the paint smell is still present? Yes, but some people may have allergic reactions to it and people with asthma may find that it is a trigger. Even if you are not super-sensitive, it is an irritant and may keep you from sleeping well until it has dissipated.

How can you get rid of the new paint smell? Open the windows! Wide! And the doors! Air that room out–and good!

How long will it take? Unfortunately, left to its own devices, it is hard to predict as there are factors like: how smelly was it at the beginning (some paints smell more than others) and the humidity while you are waiting.

How can I speed up the process?

As a member of the Alliance Environmental Group of companies, AirTek can use ThermaPureHeat to get rid of new paint smell, and also other irritating odors that can come from mold, mildew, organic contaminants, new carpeting and building materials and even mystery odors!

Recently, we used ThermaPureHeat in a home in Moorpark that needed that new paint smell gone ASAP! We increased the interior temperature of the home for 3 days, 24/7, and got rid of the paint smell incredibly quickly.

How does it work?

We bring in our ThermaPureHeat trailer which is similar to a water heater. The trailer heats water and transfers it to hoses into the house. Inside the house we use heat exchangers and radiators with fans to disperse the heat throughout the building. We kept the system running for 72 hours and when we were done, no more smell!

It’s really amazing all the things that high temperatures can do to make our indoor environments cleaner, healthier and safer! Don’t sit there watching the paint dry, make it dry faster!

Air Duct Cleaning Scams Still Happening

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About a few years ago, Dateline did a story on air duct cleaning scams. The video went viral and more and more individuals were concern about companies who had previously done any air duct cleaning. Recently, I read a story about the same incident in Michigan. A homeowner had paid someone to do the job that was necessary to clean the air ducts and found that the ducts had cob webs, debris and dust. An HVAC professional from the Grand Rapids Community College, had confirmed that the job that was supposed to be done, was not properly cleaned. They contacted the company and no response from the owner.

Further research was done and the company had received an F rating from the Better Business Bureau for not resolving two of nine complaints. Ducts do not have to be cleaned monthly or regularly as recommended by the EPA, however, when ducts do need to be cleaned, companies should follow strict cleaning procedures. It is recommended to read reviews, to do your research and get recommendations from people you know. Below is a an example of a list of several tips we recommend to avoid being scammed from “air duct” cleaning companies:

  • Make sure the company is a member in good standing of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA).
  • Verify that the company is certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning.
  • Always check the license status at www.cslb.ca.gov or call 1-800-321-2752.
  • Inquire whether the company is in good standing with your local Better Business Bureau.
  • Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured

You may see the full list by visiting our FAQ Page. If you need assistance in indoor air quality services, like air duct cleaning, AirTek technicians are certified by the National Air Duct Cleaning Association and have over 25 years of experience in making homes safer, cleaner and better for your breathing.

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