Little Things That Can Affect Dryer Safety

Most people tend to take their dryer for granted. They don’t realize that their dryer can pose a risk if they don’t use it properly. It’s why we emphasize the use of dryer safety tips when using your dryer at all times. The following are a few of the smaller things that you may have considered to be harmless that could actually affect dryer safety:

Using too many dryer sheets – Dryer sheets are meant to reduce the static-cling in the dryer. For the most part, they are safe to use – as long as you use the recommended number of dryer sheets. The problem is that some people will forget how many they’ve added or add too many out of pure negligence. The chemicals that dryer sheets contain are designed to soften fabric. Too many dryer sheets will result in too many of these chemicals leaving residue within the dryer, which can lead to a clog. Make sure you find the dryer sheets you’ve used after doing a load and throwing them away afterwards.

Not providing enough space – Don’t try to squeeze your dryer into a small space where it has no room. Dryers need space around it so that the air around it can circulate properly. Without the necessary space, your dryer could overheat and cause a fire.

Don’t use vinyl tubing – You should use vent duct tubing instead. Vinyl tubing does not meet current fire codes.

Drying the wrong things – Dryers are designed to dry fabric and nothing else. This means throwing wet toys, wigs or purses into your dryer is not a good idea; you could potentially damage it.

Be sure to keep these dryer safety tips in mind on your next laundry day, and don’t forget to call us at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning to keep your dryer vents safe and clear of lint!

Written by Daffy Ducts

Which Type of Air Purifier Should You Get?

If you’re at all concerned about indoor air quality, then you’ve likely thought of purchasing an air purifier. But shopping for the right one is no easy undertaking. There are a variety of makes and models on the market, some designed for a very specific purpose.

Here, we break down the differences between the five most common filters.

  • HEPA Filter

A High Efficiency Particulate Air filter (HEPA) is free-standing model with a cartridge that captures particles as air passes through it. If the aim is to reduce the amount of dust and dander floating around your home, it’ll do the job. Just be sure to do your research. The HEPA rating gets bandied about as a marketing ploy. Look for products labeled “True HEPA” to ensure you’re getting the best filtering technology. True HEPA filters meet standards set by the U.S. Dept. of Energy to captures 99.97% of particles as small 0.3 microns. Other terms you’ll come across include “HEPA-Like” “HEPA-Type.” There is no minimum standard set for these products.

  • Air Ionizer

Unlike the HEPA filter, an air ionizer does not capture airborne particles with a filter. Instead, it emits negatively charged particles which cling to positively charged particles, such as dust, allergens, bacteria and smoke. The neutralized particles then precipitate to the floor and furniture. If you don’t mind dusting, this could be the machine for you.

  • Electrostatic Filter

Similar to the air ionizer, an electrostatic filter charges particles to remove them from the air. Unlike the ionizer, an electrostatic filter traps the particles within the unit, sparing you from using the feather duster so much.

  • Activated Carbon Filter

Another odor-busting machine, an activated carbon filter tackles unpleasant aromas through chemical absorption. The unit contains a bed powdered charcoal which traps impurities, including those produced by common household chemicals and VOCs, leaving only fresh air behind.

  • UV Light

Typically affixed to your HVAC system, a lamp zaps passing air with germicidal UV rays, rendering contaminates inert. This is also a good defense against mold, which grows in dark, damp places, i.e. your ducts.

Bottom line: Depending on your needs, anyone of these filters could be a good supplemental purifier to your HVAC system’s filter. Still, the best way to maintain good indoor air quality is to have your ducts professionally cleaned. To schedule an appointment, call 978-681-5023.

Written by Fresh Aire Duct Cleaning

Ten Tips to Reduce Dust in the Home

Finding dust in your home is no fun, and it often seems that no matter how much you clean, it keeps coming back. Did you know that the average 6-room house collects 40 pounds of dust and allergens in their air ducts every year? While no amount of cleaning will completely remove the dust in your house, these ten tips are proven ways that will help.

1. Clean from top to bottom.  Clean the highest surfaces first and work your way down, so you capture any dust you missed.

2. Change your bedding once a week. Dust mites love to dwell in sheets, pillows and mattresses. Encasing your mattress and box spring in an allergen-proof cover, in conjunction with washing your bedding once a week, should be enough to keep bug-a-boos at bay.

3. Keep tidy closets. Garments stored in closets shed lots of fiber. So, unless you want a blast of dust confetti each time you open the closet door, it’s best to store things in garment bags, plastic containers and boxes.

4. Remove clutter from floors. Don’t ignore piles of clothing, toys, magazines, books or anything else on the floor. Cleaning around them won’t take care of the dust that has settled in or around them.

5. Say “no” to carpeting. It may look gorgeous, but carpeted floors are high-maintenance and magnets for dust mites. They should be vacuumed daily, but even that may not be enough for people with severe allergies. If you’re attached to your carpet, consider investing in a vacuum cleaner with a double-layered microfilter bag or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which prevents dust from being re-introduced into the air. Otherwise, stick to hardwood, vinyl, linoleum or tile flooring.

6. Mop the floors. A wet mop will collect the dust that you missed after sweeping. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be, so give it a go today!

7. Take it outside. Dust from area rugs and pillows should be beaten outdoors.

8. Duster do’s and don’ts. Feather dusters only aggravate existing dust and cause it to settle elsewhere around your home. Instead, use a damp cloth or moist towelette to wipe down surfaces.

9. Clean air ducts & vents to prevent dust. Dirty air vents can build up a dust, dirt and grime layer. Give it a good clean and this will improve ventilation.

10. Air purifiers. Reduce dust particles with an air purifier and store them close to windows. This will prevent airborne contaminants getting in and circulating the room.

Written by Mr. Duct Cleaning

How to Prepare Your Home for the Fall/Winter Seasons

  • Regular HVAC Maintenance

It is extremely important to maintain the core of your home. In order to support your HVAC system, you must change your air filter every month, as it acquires dust and dirt very quickly. If dirty, it should be replaced immediately; otherwise it should be replaced regularly every three months. To continue maintaining proper heating, you should vacuum your air vents to ensure accurate air flow and regulation throughout your home. A simple way to remember to check these aspects of your HVAC system is to set a day every month to do so.

  • Insulate for Best Performance

An additional way to prepare your home for the cooler months ahead is to insulate your home properly. The attic is where most of your home’s heat is stored and what protects it from escaping. Your HVAC system will work the most effectively with a properly insulated attic as it will run less, while continuously keeping the temperature you want to maintain.

  • Inspect Before Heating

With your HVAC system running all year long, you should have it checked annually. Before you start the process of heating your home, it is vital that you ensure that your HVAC system is in good condition from fall to winter. Setting a yearly HVAC maintenance appointment will allow you to ensure it is cleaned or detect any issues. If a serious issue is found or if your HVAC system is worn out, you might have to replace it. It is recommended to replace your HVAC system after 10 years, as it may have become outdated and less efficient. It is best to resolve this issue as soon as possible, so you are prepared to begin heating your home.

Taking the initial measures to prepare your home for the upcoming seasons are essential to ensure your home is properly heating and your HVAC system is running smoothly.

Written by Mr. Duct Cleaning

What is a HEPA Filter and Why it is So Important.

During the hot summer months, you often hear more about outdoor air quality – especially in areas that have higher levels of pollution and smog in the air. In their recent State of the Air 2014 report, the Heart and Lung Association found that 147.6 million Americans live in areas where particle pollution or smog are at levels that make breathing the outdoor air dangerous. When the air outside is dangerous, you need to focus on providing cleaner, healthier air quality inside your home. One of the most efficient ways of doing so is to use whole house HEPA filters.

  • What is a HEPA Filter?

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. Originally introduced and developed during WW2 as a “top secret” method to protect against biological, radiological, and chemical warfare, these filters are designed to filter the air you breathe to reduce the number of allergens and pollutants. There are two different categories for HEPA filters that determine their effectiveness at removing harmful pollutants:

True HEPA – True HEPA filters go through a testing and certification process to make sure that they provide a 99.97% filtering efficiency for removing pollutants and allergens in the air.

HEPA Type – HEPA type filters do not go through a testing process to prove their efficiency. These filters are typically cheaper than True HEPA filters, and only remove around 85-90% of the allergens that pass through them.

  • Why are HEPA Filters so Important?

Did you know that the air in your home is considered to be one of top five health risks in the environment by the Heart and Lung Association? Your indoor air is filled with dust, pet dander, molds, bacteria, cigarette smoke, dust mites, and other particles. These particles pose significant health risks, including:

  • Increased Allergies
  • Higher Risk of Asthma Attacks
  • Breathing Problems
  • Heart Disease
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Cancer

HEPA filters are designed to trap pollutants as small as .3 microns, which are considerably smaller than the particles that your nose and throat can actually filter. If these tiny pollutants are not filtered out of the air in your home, they end up deep in your lungs, where they can cause significant damage and health risks.

While proper cleaning can help to lessen the amount of these pollutants and the health risks associated with them, it cannot get rid of them completely. Additionally, the poor quality outdoor air also enters your home as well, which can make these issues even worse. This is why HEPA filters are so important.

Whole house HEPA filters remove the allergens and harmful particles in your home’s air, creating a much healthier indoor environment for you and your family. If you want to make sure that the air you breathe inside is as clean as possible, a whole house HEPA filtration system is the best option.

Original article written by Mr. Duct Cleaning

Is Cheaper Better?

With the cost of living continuously on the rise, the desire to get the best bang for your buck is stronger than ever. Some deals are simple like a BOGO coupon for your favorite product at the grocery store. Other deals promise to save you much more.

Budgeting for Air Duct Cleaning

With intentions of great savings and a checkmark next to your to-do list, it’s easy to jump at these bargains. Before diving in, it’s important to take a pause and ask yourself, “Is the deal going to save me money or will it cost me more in the long run?”

Even the best bargain hunters will tell you there are some instances where you can skimp, but other times it’s worth the investment. When it comes to taking care of your home cheaper isn’t always better, especially concerning your air duct system, the lungs of your home.

It’s common to find ads from air duct cleaning companies promoting “$99 whole house specials” while flipping through your latest coupon book. Beware of these low-ball prices as this is a popular tactic used by fraudulent air duct cleaning companies to get their foot in the door. Those prices hardly cover the cost of the service, let alone the equipment used, leaving you to unexpectedly pay more while the service is in progress.

These bait-and-switch companies are also known to only clean what can be seen by the naked eye, leaving behind the main build-up of dirt and contaminants found deep within the system. Often, companies like this try to sell you on unnecessary up-charges, exceeding the price listed in the ad.

Avoid having to repeat the process and ensure the job is done right the first time by hiring a NADCA-certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist. With advanced training and certification in HVAC system cleaning, you can be confident in knowing that you received top quality cleaning at a fair price.

Are Those Real?

When it comes time to hire a reputable air duct cleaner, one of the first things you’ll likely do is check company reviews. Good or bad, millions of people use reviews to make informed decisions. A favorable review or convincing testimonial may influence your decision to hire. On the other hand, a bad review could make it easier for you to write off a company.

Have you ever stopped to think, “What’s stopping a company from posting false reviews?” Not all company reviews are legit, and some may be the tactics of a scammer. Some disreputable businesses will pay a freelancer or even create fake profiles to positively review themselves. Others may go as far as writing negative reviews on the competitions’ profile in an attempt to discredit them.

How do you weed out the fake reviews and find trustworthy, reliable testimonials?

There are several ways to validate a real customer’s identity:

  • Real customers typically have a non-generic name and picture
  • Some sites will have a verified customer tag
  • Real customers have a presence on the site, such as friends or other connections. This would be specific to review sites such as Yelp
  • Despite fake reviews being against the law, they’re hard to regulate, so you’ll have to educate yourself on how to spot a fake review.

Signs of a fake review include:

  • Vague details and description
    • Someone who used a company’s services will have specific details about their experience. The review will be longer than a couple sentences and will likely mention results, how they found the company, and if they will (or will not) hire them again.
    • Pay special attention to the words of the review. Fake reviews will be short, sound generic, or use dramatic language. Real reviews are more moderate in praise.
  • Incorrect spelling or grammar
    • Because companies may hire freelancers to write reviews, a review that is full of errors can be a red flag. This could indicate that the reviewer was in a hurry, possibly because they were hired to write a lot of reviews, or the review was outsourced from another country. Correct spelling and grammar are signs of an honest review.
  • Reviews containing similar pictures or language
    • The odds of many reviewers saying the same thing about a service are small. When it comes to reviews you should expect to see a variety of testimonials. Multiple reviews using similar phrasing may be a sign of a scam.
    • The same goes for pictures. If multiple reviews have a similar profile photo, they’re probably fake.
  • Timing and number of reviews
    • Typically, it takes a while to accumulate reviews. Multiple reviews in a brief span of time (about 30 minutes) can be a red flag.

Hiring a NADCA member will help you weed out the scammers.

All air duct cleaning contractors must meet strict requirements to be a member of NADCA. These requirements were established to provide a higher level of assurance to consumers. Part of being a NADCA member means complying with NADCA’s code of ethics, which includes being honest and forthright with advertising.

Hiring a NADCA member to clean your air ducts will not only ensure the work is getting done by a legitimate company, and because NADCA members are certified, you can trust they have extensive knowledge in HVAC inspection, cleaning, and restoration methodologies.

When speaking to a contractor, make sure they can show proof of NADCA membership and certification. Luckily, NADCA makes it easy for consumers to find a legitimate air duct cleaner with the Find A NADCA Professional tool. Protect yourself from scammers by hiring your local NADCA-certified contractor.

Extend the Lifespan of Your Furnace

Did you know furnaces typically last around 15 years before they need to be replaced?  Heating systems need proper maintenance to reduce the risk of breaking down unexpectedly. With these tips for extending the life of your furnace, you can keep it running smoothly for as long as possible.

Change Air Filters Frequently

Most people do not change their air filters as often as needed. This can lead to poor indoor air quality inside your home and potentially damage your furnace.  When your filters are dirty, your furnace must work harder to maintain airflow and as a result, the lifespan of your system is shortened. Changing your air filter regularly is one of the easiest and least expensive things you can do to maintain your heating and cooling system.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

If your home has an outdated analog thermostat, consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat. Older thermostats don’t have the same precision of newer, advanced models, resulting in your furnace working harder to provide the temperature you want.

Keep Your Home Well Insulated Hot air lost through window

There are many places for heat to disappear, like the attic or windows, leading to a less comfortable home and a harder working furnace. Adding some insulation and sealing up any leaks in your air ducts can keep your home warm all season long. Addressing air leaks can be done by pursuing a home energy audit or by having a yearly air duct inspection.

Schedule an Annual Inspection

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your furnace until something major is wrong. An annual inspection could have caught that issue early on and saved you from costly repairs.

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Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Like cars, heating and cooling systems perform better with regular maintenance. When done correctly, air duct cleaning is very beneficial to the longevity of your air handling units. Despite using filters, your heating and cooling system still gets dirty through everyday use. This dirt is filled with contaminants and air pollutants that can harm your indoor air quality and cause your heating and cooling system to work harder, shortening the lifespan of your system.

There are several factors that can increase the need for regular air duct cleaning. The number of occupants in your house, whether you have pets, and if anyone in your house has allergies can all increase the frequency with which you should clean your air ducts. Reduce the need for potentially costly repairs by scheduling an air duct cleaning with your local NADCA-certified contractor.

Original article written by NADCA

Sick Building Syndrome

Does it ever seem like no matter how often you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer avoiding the illnesses circulating the office seems impossible. Sickness can strike from time to time but what about when you feel sick every time you are at work? The indoor air quality of the office might be the cause, one in four buildings can be classified as a “sick building” and the effects might be more serious that you think.

What is Sick Building Syndrome?

The EPA defines Sick Building Syndrome as “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.” Individuals may be healthy, but after spending time in a sick building they may experience certain side effects including:

  • lack of energy
  • irritated eyes
  • inability to concentrate
  • headaches
  • eye irritation

The symptoms and severity of Sick Building Syndrome may vary from person to person depending on their sensitivity to airborne allergens. Breathing polluted air may not immediately affect some, but it may cause respiratory diseases in the long run.

What are the causes of Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome can stem from causes such as inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants, or a buildup of allergens. Examples of these allergens are:

  • mold
  • mildew
  • pollen
  • dust mites

A buildup of these containments can occur in the air ducts of office buildings and, as air circulates through the ducts, the containments are blown around and distributed throughout the building. This causes the people within the building to be continuously exposed to the allergens and air pollutants.

What is the cost of Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome creates bigger issues than just giving employees a stuffy nose.  According to The American Lung Association, US adults miss about 14 million workdays per year because of asthma, which is an issue commonly triggered by poor indoor air quality

According to the EPA, almost $60 billion dollars are lost in productivity due to poor indoor air quality.

Sick Building Syndrome can affect workers ability to productively and efficiently do their jobs, which can add up to be a major loss for employers. Reducing sick building symptoms through properly maintained HVAC systems can lead to $10-$30 billion in productivity gains, better indoor air quality, and happier and healthier employees.  

Original article written by NADCA

What is Growing in Your Air Ducts?

Just because you can’t see mold doesn’t mean it’s not hidden behind wall or worse in your duct work. Mold thrives in dark, damp places, and can begin to grow within your ductwork undetected. If not removed quickly and carefully, this fast-growing fungus has the potential to take over your entire ductwork system.

So how harmful is mold? Not only can mold present serious health hazards, it can contaminate your ductwork and eventually break down the structure of your property. When mold levels begin to increase, those who are more sensitive to the fungus will experience greater effects. If left untreated, mold can present complications with both the respiratory and nervous system.

Our NADCA certified team has been providing quality duct cleaning services throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire since 2005. Contact our team of professionals today to have your ductwork inspected for mold.

  • Mold Symptoms

If ingested or inhaled, mold spores can cause a variety of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms for everyone in the home. Some symptoms of mold exposure include:

  • Rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic coughing and sneezing
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat
  • Reoccurring headaches

If you are exposed to mold for a longer period, health risks can be more dangerous. Mold poisoning can produce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect mold growth in your home, call our team right away to have your ductwork inspected. You can rely on the professionals at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning for prompt and careful mold removal.

Learn more about the dangers of mold growth from the Global Healing Center.

Preventing Mold Growth in Ductwork

Once the mold has been properly removed, you will want to prevent a future infestation. First, you should try to identify what caused the mold to grow the first time. High levels of moisture, warm temperatures, and limited lighting are factors that will make it easy for mold or mildew to spread. To prevent mold from growing in your home, we recommend you:

  • Reduce humidity levels. Elevated humidity levels will increase your risk of mold exposer. Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air or speak with your local HVAC dealer to find a less humid heating and cooling system for your home.
  • Prevent water leaks. Inspect all moisture-creating sources to be sure they are directed and vented outside your home or building. Remember, mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, so it’s important to identify and stop leaks quickly.
  • Schedule annual ductwork service. Regular maintenance will help you prevent future mold growth and increase energy efficiency. Schedule your duct sealing service today and we will send out our qualified professionals to inspect air flow and seal all ducts.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect mold growth in your home, call our team right away to have your ductwork inspected. You can rely on the professionals at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning for prompt and careful mold removal.

Original Article written by Atlantic Duct Cleaning