VIDEO: Secondhand Smoke and Kids

The Indoor Air Quality Association published a new video recently about the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke, especially as it relates to children’s health.

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is commonly known as secondhand smoke and it is the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe as well as the smoke exhaled by a smoker.

Environmental tobacco smoke contains over 4000 different compounds and 40 known carcinogens. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that ETS causes between 150,000 and 300,000 respiratory tract infections every year in children under the age of 18 months and older children can have lower lung function.

Our blog was not yet live during November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month but we don’t want to neglect this important indoor air health issue just because we’re a little late. If you smoke, please take it outside. If you need help to quit smoking, check out these resources from SmokeFree.gov.

There are so many dangerous things out there we can’t avoid. Let’s all make an effort to avoid the ones that we can!

Happy Holidays!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes 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 Asbestos, Bed Bugs, Mold, Lead and other environmental issues, Like us at Alliance Environmental Group on Facebook!

BREAKING NEWS: Our office in Anaheim is Open!

LED Christmas Lights

We have so much going on at AirTek these days, I think it’s a good time for an update!

  • New Office

Although we have already been serving customers in Orange County, now we have an office in Anaheim to provide “locally-based expertise, easier accessibility and quicker response times to meet the needs of our customers,” says CEO Joe McLean.

We are very excited about the new office at 760 East Debra Lane in Anaheim and look forward to many years of helping our Orange County neighbors with commercial and residential air duct cleaning, kitchen stove hood cleaning, dryer vent cleaning and other indoor air challenges!

If you are in Orange County and need to consult with one of our experts, please contact us!

  • Toy Drive

You only have a one more day to participate with us in the We Care East LA Toy Drive for their Community Holiday Event on December 17th. We will be volunteering at the event on Saturday and are really looking forward to seeing all the smiling faces and knowing that we helped make many children’s holidays happier.

If you would like to help in this effort, please drop off a new, unwrapped toy at any of our offices and we will make sure that they get to these amazing kids!

  • Spare the Air

If you live in the Bay Area, served by our office in Santa Clara, you should know about Winter Spare the Air alerts. During an alert, you are not permitted to use fireplaces, wood stoves or outdoor fire pits. Unless a wood stove is your only source of heat you could get into trouble!

You will only be warned the first time, but if you are caught burning wood or wood pellets a second time the fine is a hefty $400 and goes up from there.

Soot pollution is a big problem in the winter months. Follow us on Twitter to get current Spare the Air alerts!

There is no alert today, December 15, 2011.

  • Have you switched to LED lights?

If you are concerned about your energy use and your carbon footprint—and aren’t we all!—today’s LED holiday lights use 90% less power and take a long, long time to burn out because they have no filament inside.

If you are putting lights on your real tree or your home, please consider making it a “green” Christmas by using LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs!

Everyone at AirTek wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes 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 Asbestos, Bed Bugs, Mold, Lead and other environmental issues, Like us at Alliance Environmental Group on Facebook!

VIDEO: Radon Gas!

 

I came across this video explaining the dangers of Radon gas from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Radon is an odorless, invisible gas that is given off by the decay of radioactive minerals found in the soil under a house or commercial building. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths (second to tobacco use).

Today is a good day to talk about Radon for two reasons:

  • Winter Weather—We generally seal up our homes as well as possible against the cold air and to keep in the heat. With less ventilation, Radon gas that enters your home gets trapped inside where it can continue to affect your lungs and your health.
  • Radon Awareness Month—January 2012 will be National Radon Awareness Month in the US and now is a great time to test your home so that you can get started with mitigation plans now and get the work done after the New Year.

http://youtu.be/JHLmQ5MB9r8

Improving the air in your home makes a great New Year’s resolution, but you have to know if you have a problem. A recent Harvard University study found that 100% of homes studied had at least one indoor air quality issue and most had more than one.

Radon gas is easy to test for and eliminate from your indoor environment, but awareness is key.

AirTek Indoor Air Solutions offers many services to help you improve the indoor air quality in your home or business, including: commercial and residential duct cleaning, kitchen exhaust hood cleaning, dryer vent cleaning and power washing. Contact our experts for advice on any indoor air issue you have at your residence or commercial property!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes 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 Asbestos, Bed Bugs, Mold, Lead and other environmental issues, Like us at Alliance Environmental Group on Facebook!

There’s More to Maintaining a Power Plant than You Might Think!

In fact, keeping the nuclear material — or whatever fuel supply — at the core of a power plant cool is absolutely essential and so maintenance of those huge cooling towers we see in photos and news stories is incredibly important.

Since the catastrophic nuclear power plant damage in Japan earlier this year from an earthquake and tsunami, power plants have been more in the news than usual.

The meltdown in Japan occurred mainly due to loss of power to the cooling systems at the plant.

Types of Cooling Towers

Open Cooling Towers – water in these towers comes into contact with the outside air and can pick up contaminants and pollutants.

Closed Loop Cooling Towers – the water in these towers does not come into contact with the outside air.

Forced Draft Cooling Towers – this type of tower has a fan at the top and other fans in the body of the tower to force air through the system.

Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers – connected to a chimney, fans keep air moving.

Factory Assembled Cooling Towers – these towers are shipped almost completely assembled. I’d like to see that truck!

Field Assembled Cooling Towers – these are shipped in their component parts and assembled on site.

All cooling towers need regular maintenance and cleaning.

The water used in cooling towers collects whatever contaminants that can be found in the outside air: dirt, pollen, bacteria, mold; and since power plants are often built near the ocean, they can also collect salt and algae. The frequency with which a cooling tower needs to be cleaned depends on the level of contaminants in the air where it is located.

Keeping in mind that cooling towers are pretty efficient at cleaning the air, they will still accumulate particles of contaminants in the basin which collects the water droplets left after going through the cooling system. How fast these particles accumulate determines how often the cooling tower must be cleaned.

Possible Effects of Improperly Maintained Cooling Towers

If a cooling tower is not cleaned on a proper schedule, the results can range from lower efficiency to environmental disaster.

  • A nuclear power plant’s cooling system already uses a tremendous amount of energy. If scale, salt or dust affect the “fill,” which provides the water droplets for cooling, it takes even more energy to run the cooling system.
  • Proper cleaning will keep a nuclear power plant cooling system running for more years, amortizing the tremendous cost of building and maintenance.
  • Legionnaire’s Disease is a real danger from unmaintained cooling towers. There is a 50% chance of any cooling tower containing these deadly bacteria, even if it is kept clean!

Methods of Cleaning Cooling Towers

There are a few main ways of cleaning nuclear plant cooling towers:

Draining

In this method, the basin which collects the water droplets is drained fully and the technician goes into the basin to shovel out or otherwise remove the deposit of bacteria, silt and mud that has collected there. The technician must wear protective garments and a full-face shield or respirator.

This method is wasteful of water, since all of the water in the basin is discarded and it has to be entirely refilled with hundreds of thousands of gallons.

Vacuuming

Using the vacuuming method means the technician can stay out of the basin itself and only involves draining about 25% of the water, which can be discarded or re-used. This method is less dangerous to the operator and less wasteful of water — an important and limited resource.

Scuba Diving

“Diving the tower” can be accomplished while the cooling tower is at work. Wearing a dry-suit — which is completely sealed and attached to tube for air and communications — divers use a vacuum to clean the tower basin, or inspect and even repair the tower while it is running!

In Conclusion

The San Onofre nuclear power plant here in Southern California does not have cooling towers. It uses ocean water to cool the nuclear fuel and a lot of it — plants with cooling towers use 5% of the water that ocean cooled plants use and that is a big savings in resources. The cost of building the cooling towers has been a consideration in the decision about whether to change the cooling system at San Onofre.

AirTek Indoor Air Solutions offers many commercial and residential services, including trained and certified cleaning of cooling towers. Please stop by our website at www.Air-Tek.net!

Our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group offers commercial and residential pest control, mold remediation, asbestos removal and many other services. Please stop by our website for assistance and blogs with tips on eliminating bed bugs and other pests, working and living with asbestos and other environmental services challenges.

If you have any questions for our experts, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment! If you ask an interesting question, we can answer it on the blog!

A big Thank You to the NADCA for helping with this article!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes 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 Asbestos, Bed Bugs, Mold, Lead and other environmental issues, Like us at Alliance Environmental Group on Facebook!

Join Us in Supporting Our Community

we care east LA

Join Us in Supporting Our Community!

At AirTek, we are committed to supporting the communities in which we work. One of our favorite organizations is We Care East L.A., which has been holding a community holiday event annually since 2001.

We Care East L.A. provides toys for children who might not otherwise receive any holiday gifts, as well as boxes of food to help families prepare nourishing meals during the holiday season.

In 2010, We Care East L.A. served over 2500 community members, but unfortunately had to turn away 400 more. And since last year the need has only grown. They are expecting twice as many people in need to come to their doors in 2011.

The We Care East L.A. holiday community event for 2011 will be held on Saturday, December 17th from 10am-2pm at 122 South Evergreen Avenue in Los Angeles. There will be free food, free toys for children and free groceries for families in need, but they can only serve everyone if we work together.

AirTek Indoor Air Solutions will be sponsoring the We Care East L.A. this year in support of their goal to serve every family in need. If you would like to join us, call Viviana Tello at We Care East L.A. at (323) 702-4372 or send her an email at wecareela@yahoo.com.

I would like to take a moment to be thankful for what I have. There are so many in our community who are hungry and need support.

Thank you.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes 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!

We are Expanding

We are Expanding!

officeAirTek Indoor Air Solutions is opening a new office!

In January 2012 we will be opening a new office in Anaheim, California.

Orange County will then be able to access our many services: Commercial Duct Cleaning; Residential Duct Cleaning; Kitchen Exhaust Hood Cleaning; Dryer Vent Cleaning; and Power Washing.

Our new office will be conveniently located near the 5, 57 and 22 Freeways at 760 East Debra Lane in Anaheim and will be staffed by some of our current salespeople, led by Branch Manager Jimmy Nguyen.

We will be having an open house in January so come back for the details and “Like” AirTek on Facebook to get our updates in your News Feed!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes 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!

Dryer Vent Fires

Dryer Vent Fire? That Could Never Happen to Me!

dryer vent fireDid you know that clogged dryer vents cause 81% of home fires every year?

“Dryer fires account for over 15,000 structure fires, 15 deaths and 400 injuries annually” (FEMA) Dryer fires in non-residential structures like hospitals, schools and stores cause even more loss and injury.

Most dryer fires happen in residences and are totally preventable!

How do vents get blocked?

Lint from laundry is the most common cause of a dryer vent blockage. However, there can also be problems with small bird or animal nests and bends in the venting system.

When do dryer fires happen?

Since people do laundry any time of the day or night, dryer fires can occur at any time as well. Most happen between 8am and 12 midnight, but fires peak between noon and 5pm and again after dinner.

What are the major causes of dryer fires?

Lint is the major fuel for a dryer fire. Lint needs to be removed from not only the lint trap in the dryer itself, but also from the vents and surrounding areas. “Failure to clean” is the official reason for 70% of dryer fires.

dryer vent fire

Other causes are mechanical or electrical failure and improper use of the dryer, for example, if it is too full or there are combustibles stored too close by.

How Can I Prevent a Dryer Fire from Occurring in My Home?

  • Keep combustibles away from the dryer area. These can be cardboard boxes, clothing and cleaning supplies.
  • Never put anything made of plastic, foam or rubber in the dryer. They ignite much more easily than natural fibers.
  • Vent the exhaust directly to the outside. Dryer vents cannot be longer than the equivalent of 25 feet and you have to add length for any bend in the vent. Bends are places where lint can build up and be difficult to clean out.
  • Do not use plastic ducts between the vent and the dryer. Many new homes do use these, but they are dangerous and can provide more fuel to a dryer vent fire.

FEMA recommends that you clean out your dryer ducts and vents every 2 years and whenever a heavy item like jeans seems to be taking an extra long time to dry. Inspecting more often is recommended if your vent goes more than 6 feet from the dryer to the outside or if your dryer is an older model without moisture sensors or high temperature safety limits.

They also recommend that you call in a professional inspector once a year if you are using a gas dryer, to make sure that the lines and connections are still doing their job well.

If your dryer vent system is long or complex and difficult to inspect and clean, you should call a professional to properly maintain your system. Clothes dryer fires are dangerous, damaging and completely preventable. If you need dryer vent maintenance and cleaning, please contact AirTek for information and assistance.

We don’t want a dryer fire to happen to YOU!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. She welcomes 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!

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