Duct Cleaning

The purpose of air ducts is to help both deliver and remove air.  This is the system that operates within your walls and ceilings, and allows air from the air conditioner and heating system to flow freely through the house.  Over the years, the air ducts can easily get clogged or filled with all kinds of irritant and allergens.  A good duct cleaning can help get rid of these things and make a huge difference in the indoor air quality of your home.  This process can also be a savior to people who suffer from allergies.  Some examples of what lurk inside the air ducts include dust, pollen, mites, animal or pet hair, and even things like cockroaches!  A duct cleaning service can help to get rid of these pests and help to keep the circulation of air flowing freely throughout the house.

Generally speaking, duct cleaning is a fairly inexpensive process, but larger homes may require someone with more experience and will most likely cost more.  There are some ways that you as a homeowner can tell whether or not a duct cleaning is in order.  The first and easiest way to tell is by examining your air vents fairly closely.  If you see things like mold growth, it is probably past time for a good duct cleaning.  Other telltale signs include heavy amounts of dust accumulating on the furniture fairly quickly.  In other words, if you find that you have to dust the wooden coffee table more than once per week and the dust is fairly thick, the odds are that it is coming from the air ducts.  By getting a duct cleaning, you can eliminate the millions of microscopic allergens, irritants, and dirt that are floating through the air, and can breathe much easier.  It can be a real lifesaver for people with allergies.

Indoor Air Pollution

Take a whiff of an old building that’s been tightly boarded up for a while and there’s no doubt that air pollution isn’t just a problem associated with the great outdoors.

Musty aromas from damp walls and floors, unventilated rooms, and years of accumulated dust are sure signs of indoor air pollution.  There’s likely to be a lot of work in store to get the place smelling fresh enough to occupy again.

Indoor air pollution isn’t limited to the old and decrepit structures, though.  In fact, measured levels of indoor air pollution can be much greater in a newly constructed building.

Many people, especially new homeowners, are rather proud of that “new home smell” that permeates a new building.  That smell is a blend of fresh paint, new carpets, and lots of solvents, sealers, and glues that hold the place together.

All those new things, and the materials used in construction, release a tremendous amount of fumes that contribute to the indoor air pollution in new homes and buildings.  Sometimes these fresh, new aromas are strong enough to be considered toxic and can cause health problems.

One of the leading causes of indoor air pollution in a new building is the carpeting.  The combination of dyes, flame- and stain-resistant treatments, and floor glue needed to keep it in place can be so strong sensitive people cannot occupy the building for weeks, until the fumes have dissipated to safer levels.

Fresh paint is another source of indoor air pollution.  It often looks great but it, too, may need a few weeks for the fumes to go away if an intended occupant of the building is particularly affected by them.

Air flowing through new ventilation systems, the lingering dust of sheetrock installation, and other construction debris too small to see can leave indoor air pollution levels so high that new occupants may experience headaches and minor respiratory distress for a while after moving in.

Granted, the aromas of indoor air pollution detected in a newly constructed building are considered more desirable, less offensive, than those found in lonely old buildings that have been neglected but the pollution is there nevertheless.

In either situation, a little tidying up and fresh air is likely to go a long way in reducing the level of indoor air pollution so these buildings, new or old, can be pleasantly enjoyed by even the most sensitive occupants.

Air Pollution Control

It’s almost impossible to read a newspaper or watch a television news broadcast these days without learning of some outcry for stronger air pollution control measures.  We don’t always pay significant attention to the concerns addressed by the people calling for cleaner air.

In fact, most of us can look out the windows and see blue skies most of the time.  It’s difficult to imagine we have a need for stronger air pollution control measures.

We’re really lucky.

In 1952, an incident that came to be known as the “Killer Fog” descended over London.  It was a thick, smelly cloud of air pollution that settled over the entire city.

London’s Killer Fog of air pollution was so thick buses couldn’t run properly.  The bus drivers couldn’t see the road through the fog.  People carrying lanterns had to walk in front of the buses, lighting the way for mass transit.

It wasn’t just an inconvenience for bus drivers and commuters, either.  This horrendous cloud of air pollution is called the Killer Fog for a reason.

The fog wasn’t confined to the city’s roadways.  It permeated the city’s buildings, filling bedrooms and boardrooms with toxic air.  Nurseries and hospitals, too.

More than 3,000 people died in that one cloud of poisoned air.  That was before London’s air pollution control measures were established.

Before the United States adopted the Clean Air Act of 1963, there were few, if any, air pollution control regulations here, either.

Some of the older residents of Donora, Pennsylvania, probably remember what the air was like before the US enforced air pollution control measures.

In 1948, a cloud of heavy, poisonous air pollution settled over the town of 14,000.  It stayed for five days.

Once it finally drifted on, 20 people had been killed by the poisonous air and 6,000 of the town’s residents had become ill.

Today, most of the industrialized nations of the world have adopted air pollution control standards that are pretty strictly enforced.  Incidents like London’s Killer Fog and the deadly cloud of poisoned air that settled over Donora rarely happen any more.

Unfortunately, the global population is growing rapidly and the air pollution each one of our lives generates adds up.

Lucky for us, there are many more people paying attention to those newsmakers calling for stronger air pollution control measures around the globe.  Their concerns are not exaggerated.

Air Pollution

The term air pollution, in its most simple sense, signifies dirty air.  That dirty air can come from a vast number of natural and man-made sources.

Most of us are familiar with some of the biggest air pollution offenders – car exhausts, factory emissions, the burning of fossil fuels.  These sources of dirty air can seem a little beyond the control of the average person.

Fortunately, most industrialized nations around the globe have adopted air pollution control measures that have resulted in better air quality standards.

Other sources of air pollution are entirely beyond our ability to prevent.  Dust storms, volcanic eruptions, radon gas from the soil, and smoke and toxic fumes from naturally occurring wildfires are pollution sources we can do our best to avoid but we cannot prevent them personally.

When comparing our individual daily activities to sources of pollution that are as big as a volcano or an oil refinery that sprawls for miles, it seems we are pretty innocent of contribution.  That the little things we do to dirty the air don’t really add up to a problem.

When we think one person really can’t do much harm, we need to remember just how many of us are out there.  There are almost seven billion of us around the world, doing just a little bit every day to contribute to the problem of air pollution.

It’s likely that the daily activities of any one of us isn’t going to do too much damage.  It’s when the entire population does just a little bit each day, each person, that the collective activities generate an overwhelming amount of air pollution.

What are some of the things we do that, collectively, contributes dramatically to the air pollution problem?

Most of us would rather drive our own car to work instead of carpooling, taking public transportation where it’s available, or walking or riding a bicycle.

We burn wood and fossil fuels to heat our indoor environments.  Heat from the sun, wind, and water don’t pollute the air.  We could incorporate more of these energy sources into our everyday lives.

In many places, especially the US, we rely on a staggering number of toxic chemicals to “clean” our indoor environments.  We use detergents for our dishes, clothing, and our homes.  Then we perfume the air so it will smell fresh and natural.

We use similar chemicals to clean and groom our bodies – soaps, deodorants, aerosol sprays of all kinds.  Their use and their manufacture all add up to air pollution.

We don’t buy locally or seasonally too much either.  That winter-harvested apple from New Zealand on the summertime dessert plate in New Hampshire traveled a tremendous distance, generating air pollution every single nautical mile of the way.

With a little patience, a New Hampshire apple could be eaten in just a few short months, with only a fraction of the air pollution contribution.

Air pollution is a big problem and it often seems one person can’t do enough to make a difference.  This may be true, but when we work collectively to maintain clean, breathable, air, we all benefit.

Indoor Air Quality Testing

The quality of air that you breathe can play a vital role in the condition of your health because it has been found that the air that you breathe, when less than clean can cause you to suffer a number of health problems. This is certainly reason to worry when you consider that indoors air is six to ten times more polluted than what you would breathe in the outdoors.

Affects You At Work

The air that you breathe will radically affect your work, your ability to concentrate and also perform your daily chores and it will also have a long lasting effect on your health. What you need is indoor air quality testing that can show you the way to improve the quality of air in your home or office. The importance of indoor air quality testing cannot be overstated and it will help determine how healthy is the surroundings in which you live, which given the fact that almost ninety percent of your time is spent indoors is something you can ill afford not to have done.

Indoor air quality testing can find out the presence of mold that may otherwise is invisible to the human eye and also requires having to fill out an indoor environmental health questionnaire, and also having a complete visual inspection of your property. In addition, it includes testing for moisture, use of thermal imaging, screening for toxic gas as well as combustible gas, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide testing, as well as checking temperature and also relative humidity levels throughout the home or office.

Other things that are checked when having indoor air quality testing include screening for radioactive building material, microwave leak testing, air ion count, aerosolized dust particulate screening, lead testing, magnetic field testing, electric field testing, radon testing and formaldehyde tests after which you should get a written test which will include findings as well as recommendations of how to improve quality of air in the office or home.

Air Quality Testing

Having strong healthy lungs is very important to live a long and healthy life but there are many people that are exposed daily to different types of dangerous pollutants in the air. There are numerous factories, warehouses and many other places that are forced to have air quality testing done to help protect the long term health of their employees. These places are monitored by different agencies such as OSHA, who come and do these tests such as air quality testing and noise testing usually once a year and if they find numerous violations they will end up fining the company and eventually shutting them down if they keep failing tests and have blatant disregard for their employee’s health. Air quality testing is something that is always a good thing to have done even if you have a small company and it can also be a great idea to test the air quality in your home every six months or so.

There are many things that can affect the air quality in your home such as different types of molds, carbon monoxide, and other gases. There are many air quality testing kits that you can purchase on your own so you can perform your own tests in your home, office, or shop. Performing do it yourself air quality testing is essential if you or someone else in your home has many allergies and these tests can also help to detect possible problems that could be effecting everyone in your home, such as the aforementioned molds. It is also possible to hire a professional and the tests they can perform are a lot more reliable than the air quality testing kits you can find on your own, but this is also a lot more expensive so usually you would be fine doing your own tests and that will help detect the most common air pollutants.

Air Quality Test

In an age where environmental issues and concerns raise more hysteria, rather than good sense, the most prudent approach should be one of caution. If you ask yourself the question of whether your home needs an air quality test, most often that not, the basis for answering this is usually subjective rather than objective.

You may have your fears and suspicions but unless you have gone through the trouble of having an air quality test done on your own home or if certain medical conditions among members of your family have been diagnosed as mold related, then you wouldn’t really know. But should you feel that having your home tested would contribute to your peace of mind and if cost is not an issue, then by all means get an air quality test done.

Experts however say that it’s a different matter when you raise the issue within the context of a workplace or your child’s school. The matter of public or private buildings of course may bring legal questions that could turn out to be more than one has bargained for. A sensible way to approach this concern would be to gather everyone concerned for an initial assessment of the situation with a credited industry expert on hand to guide the discussions.

The industry expert will most likely tell you that there are actually no air quality standards for indoor environments such as schools and homes. Instead, there are guidelines which are simply based on proper ventilation.

The industry expert will also tell you that unless there are scientific parameters backing a suspicion for contamination, an air quality test will simply bring insignificant results. Most of the time, what can be discovered in places such as schools is background or external exposure that is in no way harmful to health at any level.

It is only when there is a definite suspicion for a certain contaminant that an air quality test can be optimally useful; it will not only confirm the presence of that particular contaminant, but will have significant results of other components it has compared the contaminant with as well.

Air Quality

Good health depends upon a number of different measures, one of which is the air we breathe.  We can’t live without it and we can’t live with it if it is so dirty it makes us sick.

Pollution control standards are based on the cleanliness of the air we breathe, the air quality of the atmosphere.  In the United States, the Air Quality Index (AQI) has been defined as a standardized measure for the cleanliness of the air.

The Air Quality Index was established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is based on a multi-level assessment of air quality.  The cleaner the air, the healthier it is, of course.

The EPA’s Air Quality Index is based on a scale that runs from zero to 500, with the lower number of particulates measured in the air, the cleaner and healthier the air.

Air quality is measured by units of ppm (particulate parts per million).  Pollutants measured are ozone and other gases and toxic substances, except pollen, that make the air hazardous to breathe.

When air quality measurements reveal a pollution rate of 0 to 50 ppm, the EPA considers this good.  Moderate air quality measures at 51 to 100 ppm and 101 to 150 ppm is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.  The scale climbs through the unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous ranges.

Canada and the United Kingdom also have air quality indices in place.  Their standards call for much higher levels of air cleanliness than those currently set by the US EPA.

The general assumption is that Canada’s air quality standards are based on protecting people’s health while US air quality standards protect industry.

In Canada, an air quality measure of more than 101 ppm is considered very poor, their most dangerous rating level, whereas in the US it is merely considered unhealthy to certain people.

An EPA proposal from June 2007 suggests a tightening of air quality standards for the US.  Scientific advisors to the EPA call for a substantial reduction in the accepted standards of air quality based on the current system.

The newly proposed air quality rating system would place the designation of unhealthy to the one that is currently considered merely moderate.

Many of the nation’s lawmakers and general population welcome this improved standard in air quality.

Air Quality Control

Air pollution is absolutely a problem for all of us, and the average adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air every day, while children breathe even more air per pound of body weight and are also much more susceptible to air pollution. People who have been exposed to high enough levels of certain air pollutants are actually at risk of experiencing such symptoms as burning of the eyes, an irritated throat, and breathing difficulties.

There are really few issues in the world more important than air quality control, especially at this point in time when pollution in general is at an all-time high. It is actually quite frightening how polluted and dangerous the air in most areas is, and this is exactly why you should be aware of your options in terms of air quality control companies, because you should at least take the proper steps and precautions towards maintaining a healthy air quality level in your home.

Your Options

There are literally hundreds of thousands of different air quality control companies around the world, but just a few in particular that really stand out. One of these is the Office of Air and Radiation, or OAR, which develops national programs, technical policies, and various regulations for the controlling of air pollution and radiation exposure.

They deal with a variety of air quality control issues, including acid rain, air quality index, climate change, haze and visibility, indoor air quality, ozone depletion, radiation, smog, particles, toxic air pollutants, and vehicles and engines.

They actually offer a Radiation Protection Program, which involves a variety of things, and namely has helped the company to become the lead federal agency for responding to internal emergencies involving radioactive materials, such as the accident at Chernobyl. They also provide guidance and training to various other local and state agencies in preparing for emergencies at U.S. nuclear plants and transportation accidents.

The team here undertakes several key activities in order to assess risk, including: monitoring the environment for above-normal background levels of radiation, using data from studies of effects from exposing human cells to different kinds and amounts of radiation and from exposure of people to radiation, and developing mathematical models to estimate the effects of potential exposures from existing exposure data.

There are many other fantastic air quality control companies out there as well but without a doubt they are one of the very best, and definitely one of the first to consider if you ever have any issues with air quality in your own home.

Duct Cleaning Service

Before the long, cold days of winter approach, it is a good idea to have the heating ducts of a building inspected and cleaned, if necessary, by a duct cleaning service. As the temperature and humidity changes throughout the year, the heating and cooling ducts in any type of building will attract varying amounts of dust, bacteria, mold, and a range of other allergens. In most cases, these materials will not cause any harm or discomfort to an individual, other than the occasional offensive odor. Those with breathing difficulties or allergies, however, will greatly benefit from the periodic removal of these irritants from the duct system.

A qualified duct cleaning service will be able to take a look at the condition of the system, and decide whether an extensive cleaning will be necessary. Often, minor deposits will not warrant a full cleaning, unless the substance is one of the more dangerous types of mold, or another harmful material, such as the droppings of common pests. When significant amounts of these irritating materials have accumulated, however, it is good practice to have the entire heating and cooling system professionally cleaned. This ensures that the air coming into the building is of the highest quality, and it will also help the system maintain peak efficiency, in terms of performance.

There are several tools that the duct cleaning service will use to remove deposits that have built up within the system. A series of special brushes physically dislodge any substances that are stuck to the interior surfaces of the ducts. Then, a vacuum system with special filters is used to remove the loose particles from the system. Finally, special cleaning solutions are used to disinfect bacterial buildups and to kill any mold that has grown inside the ducts. Once the duct cleaning service is completed, it will likely be a few years before a full cleaning will be needed again.