Are dirty vents costing you money?

dirtyvents

Even though the weather is just starting to get warm, it’s never too early to make sure your central air conditioning is running at peak efficiency. The middle of a heat wave is not the time for discovering a problem with your vents.

One of the most common problems found in HVAC systems is obstructions in the ductwork. If a duct is blocked, some rooms won’t heat or cool the way they’re supposed to. Because the rooms can’t reach the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat, your HVAC system will be working constantly to keep up.  This can cause temperature fluctuations between rooms, poor air quality and an increase in your energy bill.

Here are some of the usual causes of an obstructed HVAC system:

Blocked Vents

Dust and dirt can clog vents blocking the flow of air into the room. Make sure your vents are clean both inside and out. Clear out any debris regularly. If dust is constantly accumulating from the inside it might be time for an air duct cleaning.

 

Dirty Air Filters

Air filters should be changed regularly in order to maintain energy efficiency and good indoor air quality. If your air filters are dirty and clogged, they can impede airflow and reduce the air quality in your home. If you find yourself sneezing a lot inside, check your air filter.

 

Closed Zone Dampers

HVAC systems utilize dampers in the ductwork to control the way air flows in your home. Make sure all of the dampers in your home are completely open. Sometimes dampers can get stuck closed or can become loose and close on their own. This will completely obstruct the air in that particular duct and could affect the airflow in your entire house. If all of them are open and you’re still not feeling any air coming through, you may have another obstruction farther in the duct.

 

Physical Obstructions in the Ducts

Another common source of ductwork obstructions are physical objects inside your ducts. Dust, dirt, pieces of old air filters, and ductwork insulation that has come off are especially common culprits. You may also find debris from construction or remodeling projects, such as wood chips or insulation. Vermin or insects may find their way into your ducts and leave behind debris. You should get an air duct cleaning any time you need to hire an exterminator to clean up what was left behind.

 

Keeping your air ducts clean will improve your health and save you money. If you need to schedule an air duct cleaning, call Moldbusters.

 

Air Duct Cleaning After a Roach Infestation

cockroach

You got rid of the cockroaches, do you need an air duct cleaning to get rid of what they left behind?

If you recently had a cockroach infestation, you might have gotten rid of all of the bugs, but what they left behind can be dangerous to your health.

Cockroaches are one of the most common household pests across the United States. They are the ultimate survivors, able to squeeze into impossibly small cracks and reproduce at a rapid pace. While cockroaches are generally considered gross, cockroaches can actually pose a significant health risk to your family as well. Cockroaches are associated with a wide variety of different allergens that can cause reactions from skin irritation to asthma and allergy flare-ups—these insects are even associated with a higher risk of the asthma development in children.

 

About Cockroach Allergens

Cockroach allergens pose such a severe threat because they can affect indoor air quality without your knowledge—airborne cockroach allergens often come from insect droppings or dead insects trapped in the vents of your home, impacting your family’s health even if you have never seen a live insect in your living spaces. There are several sources of cockroach allergens  including the insects’ exoskeletons, saliva and droppings. Depending on the type and severity of the allergy, those suffering from cockroach allergies may present symptoms that include skin rashes, mouth, nose and eye irritation, congestion, difficulty breathing, and even the onset of an asthma attack. Furthermore, numerous studies have linked consistent exposure to airborne cockroach allergens with a higher risk for the development of childhood asthma.

If you discover a cockroach infestation in your home, first call an exterminator, then call a qualified and certified air duct cleaning specialist like Moldbusters to get rid of the contaminants those nasty pests left behind.

Improving Indoor Air Quality at Work

pic-5-reasons

​ Did you know air quality of the indoor environment can profoundly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants?

Indoor air quality is essential to a happy and healthy workplace so what should you know about indoor air quality? This blog should help answer your questions.

Like with most things, when everything is running smoothly, nobody really notices. The same goes for indoor air quality, when the air quality is good it isn’t something people take notice of, but it’s easy to detect when there is a problem. When the air contains dust and objectionable odors, chemical contaminants, dampness or mold that is when you have problems with air quality. When there is poor ventilation, temperature and humidity control, you have a problem with air quality. If you have issues with chemicals, fumes or ordors, you have a problem with air quality

The Importance of Ventilation

Poor air quality may develop when not enough fresh air is introduced to reduce contaminant concentrations. An HVAC system must not only control contaminants, it must also provide a comfortable environment. The perception of still or stale air, odors, draftiness or errant temperature and humidity levels are common complaints.

Proper ventilation health studies have shown that communicable diseases like the common cold, influenza and tuberculosis spread more efficiently in poorly ventilated buildings. Proper air filtration is also important.

Issues Associated with Poor Indoor Air Quality

Problems with air quality can cause health symptoms. Some health-related complaints may be due to allergic reactions. Some health-related complaints associated with poor air quality mimic those of the flu or a cold: headaches, sinus problems, congestion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat.

What Can Be Done About Poor Air Quality?

The first step into figuring out how to deal with your air quality problem is to find out if you actually have an issue. Air quality testing by a licensed, trained company can help determine what your building’s issues are and how best to take care of it.

Air quality testing will also help determine if you need air duct cleaning, mold removal or other services to help fix indoor air quality problems.

Indoor air quality concerns are a fact of life for building owners, business owners, managers, and occupants. When a building is managed with an eye for preventing air quality problems this greatly reduces the likelihood of chronic discomfort and will likely increase building occupants’ productivity.

The Importance of Air Quality Testing.

moldallergy

Why is air quality testing important? Our mold experts let you know when to get your home or commercial building tested for mold.

Are you constantly feeling unwell? Are others in your family or office getting sick more often?  It’s estimated that indoor

air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins may be contributing to illnesses.  Outdoor pollution such as smog and

smoke takes most of the blame for health problems, but many people are unaware that the air they are breathing is quite

possibly more toxic than the air outside.  Indoor toxins like mold could be making you or your loved ones sick

All mold needs to grow is a dark, moist environment.  The most common types of mold that are found indoors include

Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Toxic black mold, stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold,

which grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper,

dust, and lint and can grow with even the slightest of water damage.

Exposure to mold and mold components is well known to trigger inflammation, allergies and asthma, oxidative stress,

and immune dysfunction in both human and animal studies.  Mold spores, fungal fragments, and mycotoxins can be

measured in the indoor environments of moldy buildings and in humans who are exposed to these environments.  Most

of the time, we are exposed to molds, like stachybotrys, through the skin contact, through ingestion, and by inhalation.

It’s estimated that as many as 25% of buildings in the US have had some sort of water damage.

 

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to mold or a water damaged building?

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache, light sensitivity
  • Poor memory, difficulty with word finding
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Morning stiffness, joint pain
  • Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
  • Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or chronic cough
  • Appetite swings, body temperature regulation
  • Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
  • Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
  • Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth
  • Static shocks
  • Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

 

If you, your family members, co-workers or employees are experiencing these symptoms it might be a good idea to get

air quality testing by a licensed mold testing company like Moldbusters.

6 Sneaky Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home

behind refrigerator

Listen to a mold remediation specialist, mold can grow almost anywhere damp and dark.

When we think of mold problems, we immediately think of damp basements and black gross mold growing on drywall, but mold is insidious and can grow in places where you least expect it.

To get rid of mold, think like a fungus and search out these six moist places where mold likes to grow.

 

  1. Chimneys

Brick crevices collect water, dirt, and other organic debris. Rusted chimney caps and faulty flashing let in rain and snow, encouraging mold to grow.

Your best bet is to replace rusted caps and fix flashing. Call a licensed mold removal specialist to remove the mold in your chimneys. To prevent mold, get your chimney cleaned by professional chimney sweep at least once a year.

 

 

  1. Refrigerator Drip Pans

The spaces behind and under your fridge rarely see the light of day, which make them perfect breeding grounds for mold.

To avoid the problem: Make sure all water lines and drip pans are clean and not leaking as even a small leak can lead to a huge mold problem. When you do your spring cleaning, take the extra time to check and clean behind and underneath your refrigerator.

 

  1. Front-Loading Washing Machines

The gasket around the door on front-loading washing machines often stays wet because the door is usually closed when not in use. Add some lint to the moisture, and mold happily munches and multiplies.

To help stop the gunk: Wipe the gasket and glass dry before you shut the door. If you spot mold, run a hot water wash with some chlorine bleach (no clothes), which will kill the fungi.

Check behind and underneath your washer and dryer to make sure there are no leaks or source of moisture. Clean out vents and lint traps to prevent mold havens as well as fire hazards.

 

 

  1. Window Sashes and Seals

Condensation from windows provides the moisture mold loves, and the dirt and dust that collect provide the perfect place for the mold to settle.

to fix it: After heavy rains, open windows and wipe moisture from the bottoms of sashes and window sills. Replace any broken seals, and if you notice any water has leaked into the wood and walls, call a professional to see if the problem has caused mold.

 

  1. Dishes

Why mold grows there: When you stack dishes that are a little wet and a little cruddy, mold has the perfect environment to grow — especially party platters and dishes you only use for special occasions. Damp dishes go into the wood cabinets where the mold multiplies creating little villages and cities of spores in your cabinets.

To stop it: Run moldy dishes through the dishwasher, and wipe cabinets with a vinegar-soaked rag. Completely dry dishes before you store them.

 

  1. Air Conditioners

Air conditioning units trap dust and pollen (a good meal for mold) and grab moisture from the air. If you don’t run your AC unit at least every 24 hours in warm weather, humidity in your house climbs and mold may grow in AC ducts and drain pans, and on coils.

Drip pans and drainage hoses on window units can leak causing mold to grow into the window sill and dry wall.

To stop the mold:

If mold grows in your central air conditioning unit, you’ll have to hire a mold remediation pro to clean out the system. If mold shows up in a window AC unit, remove the front plate, clean the blower with a HEPA filter vacuum, and flush out the coils and clean the drain pan with a 1:1 solution of bleach and water.

Of course, prevention is the best remedy. Keep drainage hoses away from the walls and make sure they aren’t leaking into the window. Run your AC for at least 10 minutes every day to keep air circulating when it’s hot and humid outside, and keep the humidity in your home below 55%.

5 Signs that your Air Ducts Need to be Cleaned

ductcleaning

It’s spring cleaning season. While you scour every inch of your house don’t forget to clean your vents. The EPA suggests that you clean your vents on an as needed basis, but what does that mean? Here are five signs that you need an air duct cleaning. Make certain that you hire a professional with the experience and the training for this type of service. If a service technician fails to follow proper cleaning protocol, it can cause indoor air problems and possibly damage your ductwork.

 

Visible Mold Growth

Mold free air is vital for your family’s health and the comfort of your home. If there is visible mold growth in any part of your home, your vents may also be affected. Mold in your ducts can lead to serious breathing and other health related problems. If you notice mold in your ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system, you probably need your ducts cleaned by a professional.

 

Signs of Rodent or Insect Infestation

Do you see any signs of shells or husks from insects, small scratches or droppings along the side of your ducts? If you do, then chances are you have an insect or rodent infestation. Insect and pest leavings can cause serious adverse health effects in those with weakened immune systems. Once the exterminator is gone get those ducts cleaned as soon as possible to remove harmful pest leavings.

 

Excessive Dirt and Debris

Overtime, ducts become clogged with dirt and debris. Clogged ducts can affect the overall efficiency of airflow and release these pollutants into the air of your home through your supply registers.  If you are suffering from allergies or just want to lower your heating and cooling bills, a vent cleaning can help you out.

 

Carbon Monoxide

If you use a fuel burning stove, furnace or fireplace, you’re more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. To help combat this hazard, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends homeowners to have their ducts inspected, cleaned and/or repaired prior to each heating season.

 

Air Duct Inspection Reveals Need for Duct Cleaning

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventative maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run. It is logical to expect your ducts to get dirty over a certain period of time. Get them cleaned when needed as preventative maintenance to ensure the efficiency of your HVAC system.

 

Duct cleaning is a process that involves cleaning the various components of your heating and cooling system including your registers, grilles, heat exchangers, heating and cooling coils, ducts and drip pans.

Are Long Island Homes in Need of Air Duct Cleaning?

Air Duct Cleaning Long Island

Feeling stuffy? Can’t seem to get rid of that cold or tired, run down feeling? Did you ever think it could be the air you’re breathing? There is nothing like good, clean fresh air, but even if you live in a place with great air quality outside, the air quality inside your home can be putting your health and your family’s health at risk.

Most heating and central air conditioning systems on Long Island use vents to move the hot an cold air around your home, and because they are hidden in floors, ceilings and behind walls most people don’t give a second thought about air duct cleaning.

According to the national Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dirt, dust and allergens in its air ducts each year. That’s a big problem, considering that 40,000 dust mites can thrive in only one ounce of dust that may contain a host of unhealthy bacteria, fungi and mold. The EPA estimates indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Even worse, the contaminated air circulates throughout your house every time the heating or cooling system kicks on.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.

When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

You should contact a licensed and insured air duct cleaning company for the job to make sure that the job is done properly.

Duct Cleaning Services

ductcleaning

How clean is the air inside your home? Even in the cleanest of homes, if heating/air conditioning vents are not clean you could be putting your family at risk.

 

Should I Have My Ducts Cleaned?

Here are some reasons for why you should have your air ducts cleaned.

Renovation: If your home has been remodeled – especially if there was asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, or significant dust – your ductwork may need to be cleaned. Ducts should be sealed off during home renovations; but if they weren’t, dangerous dust and debris may become lodged inside the ductwork.

Contaminants: If noticeable debris, pet hair, odors, or other contaminants are being released into the room through the ducts after the registers have been cleaned and vacuumed; then the ducts may need to be cleaned.

Insect/Animal Infestation:  If there’s evidence of animal infestation or nesting in your ducts or HVAC system, have the animals removed then clean the ductwork and HVAC unit.

Mold: If there is visible mold growth inside the ductwork, the ducts and HVAC system should be cleaned.

Illness: If someone in your family is suffering from an unexplained allergy-related illness, and you’ve taken every other possible step to decontaminate your home, you may want to consider having your ducts cleaned to see if the HVAC system was the culprit.

Air Quality Testing

Symptoms-of-Indoor-Air-Pollution

You take care to make sure the food you eat is free from chemicals and contaminants, why are we more blasé about the air we breathe?  There are a number of contaminants that can potentially make you or your family ill or worse.  Even if you keep a spotless house, airborn toxins can still be present in your home.

 

  1. Combustion/CO

CO is colorless and odorless, so the best way to detect it is by installing CO alarms near bedrooms and fuel-burning appliances. Those appliances should also be inspected at least once a year by a qualified technician, as should chimneys, flues and air-handling systems.

CO causes a number of symptoms from headaches and nausea to confusion and unconsciousness — and kills about 500 people in the U.S. per year. Airborne particulates can lodge in the lungs, potentially damaging tissue and even working their way into the bloodstream.

Always make sure the areas around stoves and heaters are well ventilated and always keep your CO monitors in working order.

 

  1. Asbestos

Most modern homes and offices now use alternative materials, but older buildings may still contain asbestos. Even then, the fibers only become airborne when they’re disturbed, so the most practical solution is often to simply leave asbestos alone. That’s not always an option, though — an aging home may need repairs in its asbestos-lined attic, for example, or squirrels may have kicked up the fibers while looking for a place to spend the winter.

Given the risks involved, DIY asbestos remediation is rarely a good idea. Even taking your own samples for testing isn’t recommended. If you suspect a material contains asbestos, look for signs of damage without touching it, then contact a professional inspector to learn more.  NY State law requires a licensed Asbestos Remediation contractor to perform asbestos removal.

 

  1. Mold and Mildew

The best way to fight mold is to fight moisture. Keep the relative humidity indoors below 60 percent, and use a dehumidifier or fan to dry out the air if needed.  Mold and mildew grow in dark damp places, and more often than not by the time you see mold on a wall, there is so much more behind it. Health effects vary by mold type and personal sensitivity; symptoms may include nasal stuffiness, wheezing and skin irritation. Studies have also linked indoor mold exposure to asthma development in children.

If you suspect there may be mold in your home,  contact a licensed professional to test your home for mold.

 

  1. Dust, Dander and Droppings

Many buildings are plagued by rodents, dust mites and cockroaches, two very different arthropods that both leave a trail of allergenic feces and body parts. Fumes from rodent urine and droppings can also cause breathing problems, as can pet dander and airborne proteins from cat saliva.

These contaminants often trigger allergic reactions and asthma, and symptoms can grow worse with chronic exposure. Children, elderly people and people with other breathing issues are especially at risk from biological agents in confined areas, the EPA warns.

Regular sightings of roaches, rats or their droppings point to an infestation, in which case pest control is likely the best way to clear the air. Dust mites aren’t visible to the naked eye, but we can see piles of their namesake food — and cleaning up dust may also alleviate allergies from pet dander. Beyond good housekeeping, ventilation can help keep unavoidable allergens from reaching high concentrations.

After you get rid of pests, you should do a thorough air duct cleaning to make sure the remnants of those critters are not lingering in the air long after they are gone.

Sick Building Syndrome

Young woman using tissue

When proper cleaning  and maintenance is neglected, it will likely lead to the increase of  biological contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, pollen, and mold. These contaminants  can introduce a variety of ailments into your workplace. This contamination is often referred to as “Sick Building Syndrome”. Some of the potential symptoms include, but are not limited to, chest tightness, muscle aches, coughing, fever, chills, and numerous allergic reactions such as upper respiratory congestion and mucous membrane irritation.

 

Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome

Symptoms Related to Building Related Illness:

 

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Concentration Difficulties
  • Irritation of Eye, Nose & Throat
  • Fever
  • Muscle Aches
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Tightness in the chest

If you’re still not sure whether you suffer from Sick Building Syndrome, scheduling an appointment with a physician can rule out other illnesses and conditions that may be to blame for your symptoms. When communicating symptoms to your doctor, it is important to factor in all of the symptoms that have occurred within the last few months. Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome often occur at different times, so it is common for them to be dismissed as unrelated unless observed over a number of months.

What can I do about Sick Building Syndrome?

If you think that your home may be a carrier of Sick Building Syndrome, then take action. Something as simple as an air duct cleaning can improve the quality of your enviornment making for happier and healthier workers.