Monthly Archives: January 2015

air duct cleaning

How Often Does Ductwork Need To Be Cleaned?

The air you breathe makes a difference in your quality of life. Unfortunately, the indoor air quality (IAQ) of many homes and apartments is suffering due to the airtight nature of today’s energy efficient construction. Contaminants such as dust, dander, pollen and chemical residue from everyday cleaning products are being trapped in your living spaces, sucked into your ducts and circulated throughout your home. Worse still, these contaminants are building up inside your ductwork, ensuring your long-term exposure.

Duct cleaning removes unwanted contaminants from your home, enhances IAQ and can help lengthen the lifespan of your heating and cooling systems. But it’s not something that should be done every month or even every year. In fact, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) says that the frequency of duct cleaning may vary depending on the conditions of your home. With that in mind, here are five factors that will affect how often you may want to consider duct cleaning.

New Home or Remodel

It may sound counterintuitive to recommend duct cleaning in a new home, but new ducts can house a number of unwanted contaminants. Heating and cooling systems are often used during the latter stages of construction, introducing a wide variety of contaminants into your ductwork before you even ever step foot in your home. These contaminants can vary depending on the type of work that was done, the chemicals used in during the construction process, and the season in which the construction took place. The same holds true for household remodeling projects.

Mold and Mildew

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mold and mildew can grow on any organic substance, as long as oxygen and moisture are present. The nearly constant flow of oxygen and moisture through your HVAC system makes your ductwork an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew. While a do-it-yourself visual inspection may turn up results on occasion, it’s much safer to call in a professional if you suspect a problem with mold and mildew in your ductwork. If your concerns turn out to be valid, duct cleaning may be the best course of action.

Insects or Rodents

Ducts aren’t just an ideal breeding ground for mold. Insects and rodents also enjoy the cozy confines of ductwork, and they bring their own unique brand of damage. They build nests that block airflow, and often shred flexible ducts in the process. What’s worse is they leave behind waste products that end up in the air you breathe. If you’re experiencing a problem with insects or rodents in your ductwork, have the pests professionally removed, and follow up with a certified duct cleaning service.

Living with Pets

We all love our pets, but it’s hard to deny their effect on the cleanliness of our homes. Depending on the number and types of pets you have, their bathroom habits and natural shedding tendencies, varying levels of unwanted contaminants are being introduced into your indoor air – and your ductwork. If you’ve ever had a Himalayan cat, for example, you’re probably familiar with the sight of fur rolling through your home like tumbleweed. This fur is hard enough to pick up from the floor with a vacuum, so imagine how difficult it is to remove from your ductwork. Luckily, professional duct cleaning provides a solution.

Asthma and Allergy Sufferers

If someone in your home suffers from asthma or allergies, you probably understand the importance of air quality more than most. While routine cleaning and the removal of irritants from the home can help alleviate asthma and allergy symptoms, there will always be leftover residue in your ductwork. Duct cleaning removes these contaminants and prevents them from spreading through the air in your home.

If you suspect the ductwork in your home or apartment is in need of cleaning, contact us today to get a free estimate. With over 25 years of industry experience, our NADCA-certified technicians are qualified to help you determine the best course of action.

clogged dryer vent

How To Prevent a Clogged Dryer Vent

If you’ve noticed that your clothes dryer is not quite working like it used to, it could be due to a clogged dryer vent. When a dryer vent becomes clogged, it will often take much longer to dry clothes and the machine itself can become very hot to the touch.

When lint and other materials get backed up in the vents, it can prevent exhaust gases from escaping the dryer, which creates a very serious fire hazard. In fact, it has been estimated that some 15,000 fires are caused annually by issues related to clothing dryers.

So, if you’ve noticed any issues with your dryer lately it should be a priority to have it checked out.

Signs of a Clogged Dryer Vent

Here are just a few of the most common signs that your dryer’s exhaust vent is clogged and needs to be cleaned:

  • Constant overheating of the dryer.
  • Your clothes are extremely hot when they come out of the machine.
  • Unpleasant odors come out of the dryer once the cycle is complete.
  • Entire loads of clothing are still not dry after multiple cycles.
  • A large quantity of lint is consistently found in the lint trap or around the dryer.
  • The dryer vent hood flap is not working properly.

What To Do if Your Dryer Vents are Clogged

If you suspect your dryer needs some attention, it’s best to call a certified professional to take a look and get a free estimate on the work. Depending on the make and model of your dryer, different tools and approaches may be needed to repair the problem effectively.

By contacting a seasoned expert, you can rest assured that the job will be completed safely and properly. Attempting to clean a clogged dryer vent yourself is not typically advised because the incorrect disassembly and reassembling of various dryer parts may create more problems than before the repairs even started.

An experienced technician will also be able to point out additional areas of concern, if there are any, regarding your washer and dryer connections.

Preventing Clogged Dryer Vents

There are a several things you can do to prevent a clogged dryer vent:

  1. Operating a dryer for more than 40 minutes per load of laundry is not advisable. It’s a good idea to allow your dryer to have time to cool off between drying sessions.
  2. Avoid using too many dryer sheets.
  3. For larger items like comforters and blankets, dry them outside on a laundry line.

A clogged dryer vent can both inconvenient and extremely dangerous, but it also wastes your hard earned money. A faulty or clogged dryer may work for a while, but the longer the clog goes unresolved the more money you’ll be spending on utilities.

If you are having to run multiple cycles to dry one load of laundry, you may find yourself spending twice the amount of money on electricity to get only half the job done.

Don’t let a clogged dryer vent waste your time and money, or create unnecessary fire hazards in your home. Reach out today to get a free estimate on work and let one of our certified and experienced technicians handle the problem once and for all.

radon levels

Lowering The Radon Levels In Your Home

We are exposed everyday to different pollutants when we are outdoors. Radon can be found around our homes and testing the area can avoid many problems. If radon is found it is important to lower the radon levels.

January is “Radon Action Month,” and we wanted to share why it is so important to test your home for radon.

Henry Slack, EPA Indoor Air Coordinator wrote an article about radon and how it can affect your health. Testing your home for radon is the only way to know if there is radon in your home. Testing is inexpensive and easy. Radon reduction systems do work and are not costly.

Important Facts About Radon

  • You cannot see, taste, or smell radon.
  • Radon is the #1 cause of Lung Cancer for non-smokers.
  • Elevated radon is found 1 in 15 homes nationally.
  • Radon kills 21,000 people a year in the U.S.
  • The only way to know if a home has high levels is to test it.

You can fix a radon problem and can reduce radon levels in a home by 99%. Radon not only affects the indoor air quality around a home but can also affect your health. We recently blogged and shared tips on how to test your area for radon. These tips were provided by the EPA.

Start the year by protecting your home and your family and test your environment for radon. Radon is a health hazard with a simple solution.

If you need assistance in improving your indoor air quality, AirTek provides commercial and residential air duct cleaning and indoor air quality services. You may contact your local AirTek Office for additional information on the services we provide.

Does Your Building Have the Flu? Sick Building Syndrome

Have you ever had headaches, but only at work? Or felt like you were coming down with something day after day, but it turned out to be nothing by the time you got home? You might have been suffering from Sick Building Syndrome: a real medical condition.

Difficult to diagnose and sometimes assumed to be psychological, biological and chemical contaminants and even gases in a building can cause severe health problems that go away after a short time away from the location: Sick Building Syndrome.

Health Problems that are signs of possible Sick Building Syndrome

  • Headache
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose or throat
  • Itchy skin
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Acute odor sensitivity

It is very difficult to identify the actual contaminant causing Sick Building Syndrome symptoms and some of these same symptoms could be put down to stress, allergies or job dissatisfaction. However, if enough people who spend time in one building complain of the same kind of symptoms, the indoor air in the building may be at fault.

What are the causes of Sick Building Syndrome?

  1. Inadequate Ventilation–Ventilation requirements were lowered during the energy crisis of the 1970’s to very low rates to save energy by keeping heated and air conditioned air recirculating. These levels were found to be inadequate, however, and today’s recommendation is 3 times higher and higher still for buildings which have a lot of air pollution due to their use. Unfortunately, many buildings constructed in the late 20th century still have the lower ventilation rates.
  2. Indoor Contaminants–Indoor air pollution can come from many materials and products used in building interiors: carpets, upholstery, adhesives, pressed wood, copiers, cleaning products, paints and pesticides are only a partial list. The chemicals given off in particles or VOC’s are a pretty dangerous bunch including formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
  3. Outdoor Contaminants–Garages and high vehicular traffic can cause a high level of combustion exhaust to enter a building through vents and windows. High levels of outdoor contaminants get trapped indoors when there is not enough ventilation.
  4. Biological Contaminants–Mold, pollen, viruses and bacteria can accumulate in a ventilation system and cause allergic reactions and disease. Biological contamination can cause symptoms like: fever, coughing, muscle aches, irritation of mucous membranes, chest tightness, chills and upper respiratory congestion. Legionnaire’s Disease can be deadly and comes from bacteria which grow in ventilation systems.

What can you do about Sick Building Syndrome?

  • Building owners should make sure that their buildings are ventilated according to local building codes.
  • Ventilation systems should be cleaned regularly and tested to make sure they are functioning well.
  • Air filters should be replaced on schedule and smoking moved outdoors.
  • Any stained carpeting or ceiling tile should be replaced.
  • Any visible mold is a sign of much more that cannot be seen. Any signs of mold must be investigated and remediated right away.

If you suspect your building is “sick,” call in professionals to test your indoor air. Clean your ventilation systems including ducts and vents, and replace all air filters and start a maintenance schedule. You want your tenants or employees to be happy, healthy and productive. Don’t let your building make them sick!

AirTek hopes that all of the places where you spend your time, at home, at work, at play, are healthy and well-maintained!

AirTek air duct cleaning

3 Signs of a Great Air Duct Cleaning Company

Homeowners across the nation are becoming more and more concerned with improving indoor air quality and one of the best steps to take in creating a healthier indoor living environment is to have your home’s air ducts thoroughly cleaned.

Although a number of companies may offer this service, it is important to trust in only the most qualified air duct cleaners to get the job done right. Here are three attributes that top-notch air duct cleaning companies have in common:

1. They’re Staffed with Experienced, Certified Professionals

Air duct cleaning should always be performed by experts with years of hands-on experience in the field. Since ventilation systems can harbor a dangerous variety of contaminants, including dust mites, bacteria, mold, fungi and volatile organic compounds, strict guidelines have been put in place for air duct cleaners to follow.

It is essential to ensure the air duct cleaning company you hire conforms to the NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaning Association) regulations and standards at all times. If less experienced air duct cleaners do not complete the job properly, or leave some dislodged dust in the ventilation system, the air in your home may become less healthy than it was it begin with.

2. They Have Outstanding Customer Reviews

Air duct cleaners with few or no bad reviews will likely be the top company to hire. It may also be best to avoid hiring air duct cleaners with little or no customer reviews as this could be an indication that their experience is limited.

It is also a good idea to check a company’s website before hiring and look for awards or accolades that they may have acquired over the years. Air duct cleaners that have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau should be at the top of your list of choices as well.

3. They Use Top Quality Equipment

A combination of portable vacuums, pneumatic devices and hand tools are used by air duct cleaners when they’re on the job. The special vacuums used should come equipped with HEPA filters to properly collect and dispose of all unwanted materials found in your air ducts.

Pneumatic devices use compressed air to agitate dust and grime buildup in the ventilation system to help dislodge debris from the lining of your ventilation system prior to vacuuming. Tools like blowguns or air skippers are used to help deliver pollutants and dust to the vacuum along with more simple tools like hand-held brushes. Depending on the type of ventilation system you have, different techniques will be used.

For instance, duct work lined with fiberglass should be cleaned with extreme care to prevent causing damage to the fragile material. Air duct cleaning companies that do not have the right equipment to perform the job according to NADCA standards should not be permitted to clean air ducts as it may reduce indoor air quality and potentially cause illness to loved ones or pets in your home.

If you have any questions about which equipment should be used for your home, please don’t hesitate to request a free estimate from one of our certified and licensed technicians.

Over the last 25 years, we’ve completed more than 25,000 air duct cleaning jobs and continue to provide outstanding customer service to every single client. Protect the health and well-being of your family by hiring the best air duct cleaners in the business.

hvac system

Diagnosing An HVAC System With A Universal Tool

Evaluating a HVAC system if it is in a good working condition can be a tedious process. There are several components that must be checked to successfully diagnose an HVAC system.

New technology is always presented for the industry to used and there might be a system that can be used universally to diagnose a system that can correct situations faster. Just like the automotive industry, in order for this system to develop into the industry, standarized commmunication protocols must be done.

There Are Several Advantages and Disadvantages Towards a Universal Diagnostic HVAC System:


  • Technicians may be more reliant on the tool and miss other problems not picked by the tool.
  • Service technicians may think they do not need any training because they can rely on the new tool.
  • Cost of the tool.
  • Training time in order to train technicians to use this tool.
  • If the system does not work properly, the outcome may hinder the brand name and reputation of company.


  • Trained technicians and contractors can identify and correct situations faster.
  • Spend more time and money in other areas of their company (branding, marketing, improving customer service)
  • The HVAC system Industry will stay up to date with all technology to better assist their clients.
  • System works properly contractors can monitor the system and determine what is wrong.
  • Overall, if the system is successful the system can be used with a variety of systems.

It is an idea that can happen in the future and a lot of work must be done in order to create a universal tool that can be used to diagnose an HVAC system. A system that will work accurately and provide correct results that can help professionals, companies and customers.

If you need assistance in improving the indoor air quality, AirTek provides commercial and residential air duct cleaning and indoor air quality services. You may contact your local AirTek Office for additional information on the services we provide.

Air Pollution and Health: We Are All Sensitive

We think of air pollution and health as primarily an issue for those with respiratory ailments or sensitivities. “Poor Air Quality” = “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” but what if everyone were a member of a sensitive group?

Air Pollution and Health in Women

Although not every woman is a mother or plans to be one, recent studies have shown that exposure to air pollution from car exhaust and smokestacks to pregnant women raises the risk of giving birth to an autistic child.

“Researchers at Harvard University have found that pregnant women breathing pollution from car exhaust or smokestacks have twice the risk of giving birth to a child who falls on the autism spectrum. Exposure to particles during the third trimester seems to be the main culprit. ‘We found an association that was specific to pregnancy and especially to the third trimester, identifying a window, which might shed a light on processes that are happening that can lead to autism,” said Marc Weisskopf, the report’s senior author and associate professor of environmental and occupational epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.'” NBC News via Seacliff Environmental Blog

Air Pollution and Health in Men

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and men are the most common victims.

“A significant body of research has shown that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, can impact heart disease. Particles are emitted year-round in exhaust from motor vehicles and smoke from power plants, industries, and forest fires. PM also develops from chemical reactions in sunlight from vapor and gaseous pollutants.” Environmental Protection Agency

Statistics also show that heart attacks are more likely to be fatal on days when ozone levels are higher than usual.

Air Pollution and Health in the Elderly

Forget where you put your car keys? It may not be the dreaded Alzheimers, but it may be air pollution. A study has shown that exposure to air pollution–especially particulate matter–by the elderly may “accelerate cognitive decline in older adults.” I don’t know about you, but I’d like to keep my wits about me as long as possible.

Air pollution is known to affect school performance in kids and cause healthy adults to miss more work days. We are all affected. Make sure the air you are breathing at home is as healthy as possible and try to reduce the emissions you add to the outside air from your car and your energy use. Everyone will be better off!

indoor environment

Creating a Healthy Indoor Environment in Schools Nationwide

The well being of children in schools has been top priority for school districts. In addition to many health programs in schools, school health based centers in California are going to educate staff and parents on the importance of creating a healthy indoor environment.

In order to reduce asthma attacks at schools, staff and families will learn about asthma treatments. Mold, dust, chemical cleaning products and smoke can trigger asthma attacks in children’s and adults.

A new federal grant will help nurses and doctors who are involved in schools to learn how to better monitor the indoor air quality. Knowing where the problems are and knowing what is causing poor indoor air quality will benefit schools.

How will the California School Health Based Alliance Help Create A Healthy Indoor Environment In Schools?

  • Environmental Intervention Guide to help prevent asthma triggers at schools and in homes.
  • Training at state conferences will take places. California health based centers will train other school based health centers nationwide.
  • Help schools create a health and asthma management plan for schools and parents.

This is an important step that schools nationwide will take to improve the well being of students and help improve the indoor air quality in schools. It is important to create a healthy indoor environment in schools so that children can have a comfortable and healthy environment to learn.

If your school needs assistance in improving the indoor air quality, AirTek provides commercial and residential air duct cleaning and indoor air quality services. You may contact your local AirTek Office for additional information on the services we provide.


AirTek air duct cleaning.jpg

5 Factors to Consider when Hiring an HVAC Contractor for Your Hotel

The hotel industry is all about service. If your guests are happy with the service they get, they’ll write positive reviews about you online, return as a guest in the future, and will have no qualms recommending your hotel to family, friends and colleagues.

Hence, customer satisfaction is one of the most vital elements to control for in the hospitality industry. One of the best ways to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction (and reduce customer complaints) is by maintaining your hotel to exacting standards.

Did you know one of the biggest complaints the American hotel industry faces is the inability for guests to control the cooling and heating in their individual rooms? An article published on states this fact based on the survey conducted by the renowned market research firm, J.D. Power and Associates.

If a room is too hot or too cold, a guest can be left feeling uncomfortable and will most likely choose to not return to your hotel. That’s exactly why HVAC maintenance should always be a priority, with regular HVAC duct cleaning planned out in your normal calendar schedule.

Here are five factors to consider when choosing an HVAC contractor to service your property. By ensuring your service provider meets these standards, you will be able to trust that the cooling and heating systems across your property are operating optimally and that you are creating a comfortable environment for your guests.

1. Licensing and Certification

Any HVAC contractor you partner with should be a state licensed contractor. This gives you the peace of mind to know that the contractor has the knowledge and expertise to carry out HVAC duct cleaning and other maintenance within the law and while upholding the highest safety standards. Also, it is an indication that the contractor has the necessary knowledge about different makes and models of equipment and will be in possession of the right equipment and tools to undertake the job successfully.

2. Experience

HVAC systems used in commercial premises are very different from the ones used in residential properties. This is why the contractor should be experienced in commercial HVAC repair, maintenance and replacement. Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions when requesting a quote. You should be looking to find out the contractor’s industry experience, the number of years the company has been in business, the number of jobs completed, and the exact certifications, licenses and insurance they hold. Once you get this information, you can call up some of their past and current clients to get a referral and find out whether the hotel was satisfied with the services they received.

3. ASCS Certified Technicians

Indoor air quality is often a major problem in commercial and residential properties. When you opt for HVAC duct cleaning, not only will you ensure the HVAC system works efficiently, you also will be maintaining high indoor air quality. Check with your HVAC contractor to see if their technicians have earned the ASCS (Air Systems Cleaning Specialist) certification from the NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaning Association). NADCA has extremely stringent standards pertaining to training, ethical behavior, cleaning procedures and equipment and getting the ASCS certification requires thorough education and understanding on the part of the technicians. Only the best technicians will earn this certification.

4. NADCA Certified Ventilation Inspector

According to NADCA standards, HVAC duct cleaning as well as HVAC system cleaning is a must. If the duct and the HVAC system are not cleaned, it will re-contaminate the entire system and negate the benefits of any other type of cleaning. The HVAC contractor should conduct a thorough inspection of the HVAC system before performing the maintenance. This will let you know if there is a problem with the system that would prevent effective cleaning and maintenance. This step is mandatory as per the NADCA’s Cleaning and Restoration (ACR) of HVAC systems standards. However, this inspection should only be completed by a NADCA-certified ventilation inspector.

5. Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

It’s always a good idea to find out about the HVAC contractor by checking with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). A reliable and trustworthy contractor will be in good standing with the BBB and will also have a high rating with the organization.

Consider these five factors when you’re looking to hire a HVAC contractor for your hotel. With the right HVAC duct cleaning and maintenance measures, your guests will never have a reason to complain about the Goldilocks effect – rooms being too hot or too cold!

radon action month

January is National Radon Action Month

January is National Radon Action Month and it is the time to test your home for radon. Radon is considered a health hazard and can affect your indoor air quality and your health.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers in America.

You cannot see radon or smell it but it can be present in your environment. Testing  your home for radon can eliminate the risk of exposing yourself and others to radon.

Radon Testing Tips Recommended by the EPA:

  • Take a short term test. If your results is a 4pCi/L or higher take a follow up test.
  •  Follow up with either a long-term test or a second short term test
  • If followed up with a long term test, fix your home. A qualified radon service professional can fix your home.  

Start the year by protecting your home and your family and test your environment for radon. Radon is a health hazard with a simple solution.

If you need assistance in improving your indoor air quality, AirTek provides commercial and residential air duct cleaning and indoor air quality services. You may contact your local AirTek Office for additional information on the services we provide.

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