Facts About Your Air Ducts that Will Gross You Out

As a leader in air duct cleaning, the professional cleaning staff at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning isn’t surprised to see dirty air ducts on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many of our clients are shocked – it’s extremely unsettling for many people to see just how dirty your air ducts can become. Before you turn on your ventilation system today, read over these surprising air quality facts:

  • Did you know your indoor air quality is linked to your overall health?

Asthma patients, individuals suffering from seasonal allergies, children and the elderly are all susceptible to poor indoor air quality. Regular air duct cleaning can help everyone in your home by reducing the amount of bacteria, dirt, and mold in the air. Regular cleaning can alleviate asthma symptoms and aid in allergy prevention.

  • Poor indoor air quality can keep you sniffling and sneezing throughout the whole year.

If your ventilation or duct system hasn’t been professionally cleaned recently, it’s likely that your vents are harboring bacteria, dirt, and mold. Before you blame your workplace or child’s school for getting you sick, consider that your dirty vents and air filtration systems are likely the culprits.

  • Dirty vents could easily lead to pest problems.

Dirty and damaged vents could easily be harboring pests in your home without your knowledge. When you see a spider on a second or third floor, remember that ventilation and air duct systems are often to blame. If your system is dirty, you could be providing a haven for pests to invade your home.

  • Clean Your Air Ducts Today

We here at Aspen Air Duct Cleaning don’t want you to be frightened of your air ducts. If you’re unsure about what you might find in your air ducts or think you need air duct sealing, we’d be happy to take a look. Call us today at 978-681-5023 to schedule a professional cleaning appointment.

Written by Collin Creek Home

What to Expect During Duct and Dryer Vent Cleaning

Hiring a professional duct cleaning service is something that you should do on a regular basis. Your ducts can get very dusty and dirty over time, which can result in the air quality of your home diminishing. When a buildup of dust and dirt gets into your air, it can also result in issues for anyone that suffers from asthma, respiratory illness or even simple allergies. The following are some of the tasks that a professional duct cleaning service will perform:

They will open all of your access ports or doors in order to inspect and clean your entire duct system.

Before they begin cleaning your duct system, they will do a thorough inspection to make sure that there are no materials that contain asbestos present, such as register boots or insulation. If they find any materials that contain asbestos, a specially trained and equipped contractor will need to be hired in order to remove them.

Once the inspection is completed, they will use vacuum equipment in order to exhaust dust and debris particles out of the home. If the vacuum exhausts are within the house, then they will use HEPA (high efficiency particle air) vacuuming equipment.

They will make sure that your carpeting and furnishings are protected as they clean.

They will dislodge dust and other particles by performing well-controlled brushing and contact vacuum cleaning on the duct surfaces.

Any fiberglass duct boards and sheet metal ducts that are lined with fiberglass will be cleaned using soft-bristled brushes. They will most likely replace accessible flex ducts since this is more economical than cleaning them – although they can be cleaned with the use of soft-bristled brushes.

They will seal and re-insulate any holes that may have been made – on purpose or on accident – during the cleaning process in order to protect the duct work and make sure that it is airtight.

They will follow the NADCA’s standards for air duct cleaning as well as the NAIMA’s suggested practice for cleaning ducts with fiberglass lining.

Written by Daffy Ducts

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

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

Have You Changed Your Air Filter Recently?

If you have a forced air HVAC system in your home you might think that the filter is improving your air quality, however, your air filter might not be improving the air quality. Air quality researchers have established that all that stuff floating though your air is bad for your health. Particles in your air that are 2.5 micrometers or smaller are the worst for your health, they can penetrate deeper into your lungs and end up in your blood stream. The best way to fight these particles is to filter the air but most homes only rely on the filter inside their HVAC system to do the filtering. Below you will find the 5 reasons that the filter in your HVAC system might not be helping your indoor air quality.

  1. No Filter!

This one seems like a no brainer but if you don’t have a filter installed there is not much filtration happening. I know it seems strange, but it happens! Sometimes a filter will get removed because it is in a difficult spot to reach, like a crawlspace. Sometimes you take it out and mean to replace it, but it slips your mind. All kinds of things can happen that lead to your filter being missing; this is not only harming the air quality in your home, but all that dirt and debris is getting into your duck work, blower, coil, and heat exchanger. Once all that dirt is inside your system it then spreads it throughout your home and causes strain on your system.

2. Bypassing the Filter

It doesn’t matter how nice the filter is if you don’t install it correctly. An incorrectly installed filter can let the air pass right by instead of through and this means your air is not being cleaned.

3. Not Enough Runtime

This one is not something a lot of people think about; your system might not be on long enough to make a difference. Your filter can only clean the air while your system is running, if your system is off then no air is being pulled through the filter. The best thing you can do to combat this is make sure the system you have in your home is the correct size and focus on minimizing the stuff that would need filtered out. You can do this by adding a standalone filter to your home or by Aerosealing your ductwork.

4. Not Changing or Using the Wrong Filter

Each system has different requirements when it comes to how often you should change your filter but if you don’t change it at all not only is the air not being filtered your system now has to work even harder to pull in air causing stress. The same thing can be said if you use the wrong filter, a basic filter is mostly designed to keep out pet hair, spiders, or lost socks. If you truly want to filter your air you need to invest in a MERV rated filter and the higher the number, the more stuff you filter out.

5. Filter in the Wrong Place

This one might also seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised what we find when going to clean a HVAC system.

If you over come these obstacles, you should see an improvement in the air quality within your home.

Bailes, Allison. “Air Quality.” How Your House Works, 2012, pp. 99–105., doi:10.1002/9781118286074.ch5

Keeping up the Humidity

This time of year, it is common to wake up with a dry nose, or a scratchy throat. Later in the day you might even experience nosebleeds, chapped lips, dry skin, or an increase of acne. You might also notice an increase in static electricity, creaks in hardwood floors, or hardwood furniture starting to crack, these are all symptoms of the air becoming drier during the winter months. Which brings us to the question, what can I do about it?

                Warmer air holds more moisture than cold air and in winter that cold air seeps into your home.  While you can turn up your heat an make your home nice and toasty again just turning on the heat doesn’t bring moisture back into the air, for that you need a humidifier. Most people choose to use a portable humidifier but if you have an HVAC system you can install a whole home humidifier.

                A whole house humidifier should not be confused with a portable humidifier. A portable humidifier is a device that you plug into the wall and place in the middle of a room. These humidifiers can only control the humidity of one room at a time, and they require frequent maintenance like changing the water and keeping the device clean. A whole house humidifier, on the other hand, is installed directly in your heating system’s ductwork. When your furnace is cycling and heating air in your home, that air is also humidified by the whole house humidifier. This means that every room in your home can enjoy humidified air by using a single unit.

A whole house humidifier is installed in your ductwork near your furnace, either on the supply or return end. The unit is also connected directly to your home’s water supply. Inside of the humidifier is a either a humidifier pad, a rotating drum or a steaming system that is used to distribute water to your home’s air. While the humidifier is running, water continuously runs down the humidifier pad, is collected by the rotating drum or is misted into the device, depending on your model. When air from your ducts enters the humidifier, it is exposed to the water inside. The water evaporates into the air, which increases the moisture levels of the air that exits the humidifier on the other side. While your furnace is running, a portion of the air that it cycles is directed into the humidifier. That air goes through the humidifier and joins back up with the rest of your home’s airflow. As a result, all the air that’s delivered to your home has higher moisture levels, which effectively raises the humidity in every room.

Fortunately, whole house humidifiers require very little maintenance. If your model uses a humidifier pad or filter, the media typically needs to be replaced about once per year. If you have a steam humidifier, it simply needs to be cleaned annually. When having your whole home humidifier cleaned ensure you use a HVAC company familiar with whole home humidifiers, when improperly maintained they can lead to mold growth inside your duct work.