Posts Tagged ‘indoor air pollution’

Dirty air ducts and allergies: Nothing to sneeze at

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

allergy air duct cleaningEyes are itchy and watery? Can't walk outside without constant sneezing? Popping allergy pills like Pez? Aaa-choo. Yep, it's allergy season. In fact, it’s estimated that more than 35 million Americans have allergies—and that number continues to climb. But while allergy sufferers battle their symptoms with antihistamines and immunizations, they may be overlooking a practically invisible culprit lurking indoors: allergens. According to the American Academy of Allergy & Asthma Immunology, over half of all homes contain at least six detectable allergens such as dust mites, pet dander and molds. Not coincidentally, a recent study by the EPA suggests that people are more likely to get sick from pollution inside the home or office than outdoors. As spring (what many consider the worst allergy season) approaches, air duct cleaning is a common-sense option to consider. Air duct cleaning is the removal of dirt from the surfaces of the duct system in your home or business, with the goal of minimizing the levels of allergy-aggravating particles in the air. The EPA advises that if you or someone in your household or work environment is experiencing signs of allergy, consult a doctor, of course. In addition, consider air duct cleaning if:
  • The surface of your ducts (or other components of your heating and cooling system) have a substantial amount of visible mold on them.
  • You suspect rodents, insects or other vermin are infecting your ducts.
  • Your ducts are clogged with dust and debris.
  • Dust or debris is being released into your home through your registers.
Yes, point #2 mentioned vermin...and as unpleasant as this thought may be, it’s true that much of the dust found in ducts is composed of the hair, droppings and skeletons of mice, cockroaches and other creepy creatures. Cockroaches are common in urban areas, and rodents in cold regions often sneak inside seeking warmth. Even fastidious housekeepers are shocked at what the pros can find in their ducts! Speaking of professional air duct cleaners, here are a few tips on selecting them. First, make sure they are legitimate and can accurately provide the services they offer. Check their credentials and ask for references. Improper or careless use of a vacuum collection system, for example, can actually release more allergens into your space and cause costly damage to your ducts or HVAC system. Finally, ask if chemical biocides or sealants will be used, as these methods are only appropriate under specific circumstances. Spring cleaning is in full force. So do your homework now to determine whether your air ducts could use a good cleaning and locate a trusted specialist to do the job right. Your family, friends or coworkers will breathe a sigh of relief this allergy season! LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Photo by brookenovak. Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  


 

4 Simple Steps to Avoid Mold Contamination

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

mold cleanupNot to sound trite, but here’s the easiest method of mold removal known to man: Keep it from growing in the first place. How do you do that?

Monitor moisture and keep your home dry

Of course, that means making sure naturally moist areas in your home — such as your basement and bathrooms and storage areas — are properly ventilated or dehumidified, or at the very least aren’t retaining consistent moisture. Moisture and oxygen are the only things that those ubiquitous mold spores need to grow. And if they find them, they will grow. "Stop the moisture intrusion that helped the mold to grow in the first place," says James Gryder, cleaning and mitigation supervisor at LDR Construction Services, Inc., Rockford, Ill. "All homes have mold spores present, it is just a fact of life. The issue is if there is enough moisture present for the mold that is present to start growing." So staying on top problem moisture spots in your home will save a lot of mold cleanup later. But wait – what if you already have mold? Then what? Well, there are a couple of mold abatement steps you can take on your own. First, if you find mold, the key is proper containment and air filtration. The goal is to avoid cross-contaminating other areas of your home with mold spores. After just two days of wetness, there is mold present whether you see it or not. The Centers for Disease Control recommends removing mold-contaminated items from your home if those items have been wet for more than two days to let them dry. Containing the problem may also mean removing damaged drywall, trim, wood products or other items. Then, if you have the means, wet-vacuum the contaminated area if there is enough water present to justify it. Otherwise, you can dry-vac the area with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Air) filter. That will help to ensure that mold spores are contained. Those are big "if’s." So if you lack the proper equipment, you may need to call a professional mold remediation company, such as LDR Cleaning and Restoration, to contain and mitigate your mold problem so that other areas of your home don’t get contaminated, as well.  Service providers like LDR use water meters and other equipment that homeowners are unlikely to have, which allow them to diagnose and fix problems more quickly. "That is why calling a professional, like LDR, who will take the needed steps to make sure the issue is handled property through containment and the use of air filtration devices, is the best route to go," Gryder says. And if preventing mold damage to your home isn’t enough to convince you to avoid mold problems, or call in professional help when problems do occur, then preventing health problems might. "An unmitigated mold problem can be a real health issue to children, people with compromised immune systems, and even what we would term healthy people," Gryder says. "If there is moisture present, and the mold is able to grow unmitigated, it will just continue to get worse and worse. Eventually, the spores may find their way into the HVAC system and contaminate that, or they can get inhaled cause respirator problems." And those are problems nobody wants. So remember:
  1. Monitor moisture
  2. Contain the mold problem
  3. Remove mold damaged items
  4. Call in professional help for your mold abatement issues
You won’t be sorry you took the necessary steps. Image courtesy of Photokanok / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  


 

Indoor Mold Removal: the Health Risks, Identification and Remediation

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

mold removalWhen you think of indoor mold, what typically comes to mind? That neglected drawer in the fridge—you know the one, where you stash the broccoli your kids despise? Truth is, indoor molds are common and come in many varieties, yet are often overlooked. As the source of health problems including allergies, asthma attacks and worse, mold removal performed by a professional may become necessary.

What sorts of health problems are caused by indoor mold?

When mold cells are breathed in and invade the respiratory tract, the body’s immune system tries to destroy the mold much like it would fight a flu virus. The result could be a runny nose, headaches, scratchy throat and sneezing, or allergic rhinitis. The lung disease asthma, in which the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs can partially close, can also be aggravated by indoor mold. More than half of asthmatics have respiratory allergies, and inhaling mold can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive cases. Respiratory infection, in which live mold occupies the tissues of the respiratory tract or lungs, is especially dangerous for those with weakened immune systems. Finally, ingesting or inhaling large doses of certain molds can result in poisoning caused by toxins in the mold cells.

What are the most common indoor molds?

Generally speaking, there are three categories of mold: allergenic, known to cause allergic reactions; pathogenic, of concern to those with weak immune systems; and toxigenic—a danger to all. Folks sometimes try to categorize mold by its color, but this doesn’t always work, as both harmless and harmful molds exist in each color group. Two recognizable molds that pose health problems are:
  1. Green Molds (Aspergillus/Penicillium) - With over 185 types, this fungus is linked to allergies as well as a serious infection called Aspergillosis found in the lungs, ears, eyes, nose, sinuses, and even the brain. Aspergillosis is caused by inhaling the spores of green mold. And green mold, like all molds, is the result of exposure to moisture.
  2. Black Molds (Stachybotrys) – Perhaps the most dreaded of molds, black mold is slimy to the touch and grows rapidly in wet wallpaper, drywall, carpet, ceiling tiles and elsewhere. Not all black mold is toxic. Professional testing using protective clothing and equipment is needed to be sure. Black mold removal should be done by professional remediation if results are positive.

What does the mold removal process involve?

According to the EPA, “the key to mold control is moisture control.” Mold spores won’t grow if moisture isn’t present, so if there is a moisture problem in your home or office, you must clean up the mold and fix the water issue or the mold will return. Mold remediation is the process of cleanup and removal of mold from an indoor environment. Step one is a visual examination to determine if mold is present, what species it is and what level of remediation will be necessary. The assessment often involves moving furniture, lifting or removing carpets, checking behind wallpaper and even opening up walls…much to the property owner’s dismay. In some cases, especially when occupants of the home or business are experiencing symptoms of illness, sampling of the mold spores may be performed by experts to answer further questions. When cleaning the mold with bleach, it is important to wear a respirator and protective clothing. Better yet, play it safe and leave the job to the experts who may use any number of high-tech mold removal methods and equipment in the remediation process, including:
  • Moisture meter
  • Humidity gauge
  • HEPA filtered vacuum
  • Dry ice blasting
  • Borescope (to view potential mold problems inside walls without damaging them)
  • Themographic camera
…and more. To learn more about mold remediation, talk to your local disaster cleaning and restoration professionals. If you suspect that mold is affecting the health of those in your home or office space, please don’t wait—mold problems should be addressed within 24 to 48 hours. Sources: Department of Health and Human Services of North Carolina; Centers for Disease Control; Environmental Protection Agency; and Trask Research, Inc. (a bio-chemistry company that develops mold testing and cleaning solutions). LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of moomsabuy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  


 

How Air Duct Cleaning can Improve Indoor Air Quality

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

dust allergyWith everyone focused on avoiding the flu (and smartly so) this season, it’s easy to forget that there are those who suffer from sneezing, wheezing, coughing, headaches, nausea, and more at any given time of year. In fact, it’s now estimated that at least 35 million Americans have allergies—and that number continues to climb. But while allergy sufferers battle their symptoms with antihistamines and immunizations, they may be overlooking a practically invisible culprit lurking indoors: allergens. According to the American Academy of Allergy & Asthma Immunology, over half of all homes contain at least six detectable allergens such as dust mites, pet dander and molds. Not coincidentally, a recent study by the EPA suggests that people are more likely to get sick from pollution inside the home or office than outdoors. As spring (what many consider the worst allergy season) approaches, air duct cleaning is a common-sense option to consider. Air duct cleaning is the removal of dirt and dust from the surfaces of the duct system in your home or business, with the goal of minimizing the levels of allergy-aggravating particles in the air, thus improving indoor air quality. The EPA advises that if you or someone in your household or work environment is experiencing signs of allergy, consult a doctor, of course. In addition, consider air duct cleaning if:
  • The surface of your air ducts (or other components of your heating and cooling system) have a substantial amount of visible mold on them.
  • You suspect rodents, insects or other vermin are infecting your ducts.
  • Your ducts are clogged with dust and debris.
  • Dust or debris is being released into your home through your registers.
Yes, point #2 mentioned vermin...and as unpleasant as this thought may be, it’s true that much of the dust found in ducts is composed of the hair, droppings and skeletons of mice, cockroaches and other creepy creatures. Cockroaches are common in urban areas, and rodents in cold regions often sneak inside seeking warmth. Even fastidious housekeepers are shocked at what the pros can find in their ducts! Speaking of professional air duct cleaners, here are a few tips on selecting them. First, make sure they are legitimate and can accurately provide the services they offer. Check their credentials and ask for references. Improper or careless use of a vacuum collection system, for example, can actually release more allergens into your space and cause costly damage to your ducts or HVAC system. Finally, ask if chemical biocides or sealants will be used, as these methods are only appropriate under specific circumstances. Spring will be here before you know it. So do your homework now to determine whether your air ducts could use a good cleaning and locate a trusted specialist to do the job right. Your family, friends or coworkers will breathe a sigh of relief this allergy season! LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit www.ldr4service.com or call 1-888-874-7066. photo credit: Earl - What I Saw 2.0 via photopin cc Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  


 

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