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

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

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.

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

Air Loss in Your Home

Air duct leakage is a big deal and according to Green Building Advisor, on average your air ducts leak nearly 10% of your air supply, making your air duct one of the biggest wastes of energy in your home. How can you tell if your air ducts are leaking? Thankfully, there are tell-tale signs of air duct leakage, and ways to avoid the extra costs and dangers of air duct leakage in your home. Here are signs our experts encourage you to look for:

  • High Utility Bills

If you are often surprised by your monthly utility bill, your leaking air ducts could be to blame. When your air ducts leak, it forces your HVAC unit to work harder in order to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. This, in turn, causes energy deficiency within your home, and costs your wallet unnecessary fees for heating and cooling.

  • Varying Temperatures Throughout Your Home

Leaking ducts can cause conditioned air to escape to the attic or the outdoors and can inhibit air from reaching the right rooms in your home. If you feel weak airflow exiting the vents in certain rooms of your home, you can likely attribute it to leaking air ducts.

  • Poor Indoor Air Quality

Leaky ductwork can create high humidity in your home, which, in turn, can cause excess mold growth. When mold grows excessively in your home, you and your family are breathing in dangerous spores and aggravating those with allergies or asthma that live in or visit your house.

In addition to mold growth, leaky ducts can be the cause of back drafting. When your return ducts leak air, it depressurizes your home, and that can cause air to be pulled in from outside. When this happens, harmful gases and dirty air can circulate through your home, which could harm the health of your family.

  • Excessive Dust in Your Home

Duct leaks in unconditioned areas of your home, like the attic or crawl spaces, can pull in dust and distribute it to various rooms. If you find that you are always dusting, yet never see results, it could be due to a leak in your air ducts.

  • Duct Sealing Services in MA and NH

Are the rooms in your home uncomfortably cold or too warm? Do you have excess amounts of dust or mold growth? Are your utility bills unusually high? These could be signs of leaking air ducts. Stop wasting money on conditioned air that’s escaping your home and diminishing the quality of your indoor air. Save money, and allow your HVAC unit to work more efficiently, by scheduling professional duct sealing services now.

At Aspen Air Duct Cleaning, we have been a trusted industry leader since 2006, providing professional indoor environmental solutions that improve air quality in your residence or commercial property. We can improve your leaky air ducts with Aeroseal® duct sealing, an advanced technology that allows us to seal every leak from the inside out!

Are you ready to increase your indoor air quality and save on your utility bill? Learn more about Aeroseal® duct sealing and schedule an appointment now! Article written by Atlantic Duct Cleaning

Can Duct Cleaning Help You Conserve Energy?

Most homeowners want to find ways to reduce living expenses, especially regarding their utility bills. The good news is that there is no shortage of ways to reduce energy consumption and lower electric bills.

Having an airtight home can help to stop energy waste through leaks around windows, doors, pipes, and vents. Homeowners will also enjoy the benefit of maintaining a set interior temperature. Using a programmable thermostat to roll back the temperature during the time you’re out of the house could significantly cut the costs for heating and cooling your home.

However, you might not realize that your ducts also play a role in the overall energy efficiency of your home. Just as a good dryer vent cleaning can ensure that your appliance operates at peak efficiency, regular residential air duct cleaning can help you to conserve energy and reduce your costs, not to mention improving interior air quality. Here are just a few ways in which air duct cleaning makes your HVAC system more efficient.

Blocked Vents

Think about what happens when you fail to dust and vacuum your home. Over time, dust, dirt, dander, and other detritus begins to build up on surfaces. You can see visible particulates gathering on surfaces in as little as just a few days.

When was the last time you had a professional clean your ducts? Never, you say? Imagine all the dust that’s been building up in them over the months and years that you’ve lived in your home.

Servicing your furnace and AC unit regularly and replacing filters can go a long way toward maintaining clean ducts. However, filters can’t catch everything. In addition, failing to check your vents could mean families of rodents may have taken up residence over time, building nests and leaving messes.

These conditions can even cause health concerns. They can also have a negative impact on energy efficiency as you place higher demand on your system to push air through and meet your heating and cooling needs. Regular vent cleaning can eliminate such concerns and improve efficiency.

Leaks

Ductwork is built to last, but over time fittings can deteriorate, this breakdown can lead to spots where your air leaks into the walls and crawl spaces in your home instead of making it to your living spaces. This will cause you to crank up the air in order to maintain your desired temperature, wasting energy and air in the process.

Other Issues

When you hire professional technicians to clean your ducts regularly, they may notice issues like moisture or mold. These signs may indicate your ducts have inadequate insulation. With properly insulated ducts you can greatly reduce energy needs and lower utility bills in the process.

Written by Fresh Aire

What Is In Your Duct Work?

If you have duct work in your home, you have probably not given much thought to what is inside them. The average American home is about 35 years old, that is a lot of time for things to accumulate inside the duct work. While cleaning we often find small toys and food that has fallen down into the vents, here are some stories from fellow duct cleaners of the crazy things they have found.

                A few years ago, during a cleaning job, we found a box behind a register that contained $400 of Confederate money. We gave it to the homeowner, and she gave it to her children, who cashed it out. That $400 of Confederate money ended up being worth $100,000!

We got a call from a customer saying they had a mysterious odor in the home. Our technicians went into the home and they definitely smelled something very strong but couldn’t find anything obvious at the start. Finally, they took off the vent covers and found a dead skunk!

We were cleaning ductwork and in the basement of the establishment, there was a kitchen with a grill. Right above that was the bulkhead with an air duct blowing right over the grill, which we were cleaning. We took off the supply duct, shined a light in there and, low and behold, there was a giant, dead rat. In the course of cleaning, the gentleman befriended us and offered to make us lunch on the grill. We politely declined the offer.

We had posted a video of a cleaning job to our social media account and someone commented on it, “Wow, did you see the dollar bill get sucked in there?” The trunk line was really full of all kinds of junk, so I thought “Well, I’m not surprised that there was a dollar bill in that mess.” Later on, someone commented, “That wasn’t a dollar bill, that was a $100 bill!” I went into the truck and sifted through all the garbage to try to find it, but no luck.

We did a cleaning on an old rail car and found a pre-Civil War whiskey bottle stashed away in the ducts of the rail car. The bottle is now sitting in a museum somewhere.

All these stories and more can be found on NADCA’s website.

Give Your Home a Good Deep Clean

In the spring we start opening the blinds and the windows to let in all that fresh air and light but with that light streaming in you can now see the dust floating through the air in your home.  Having your air ducts cleaned can be like a breath of fresh air, cleaning out all that dust. Below are a few facts you should know when it comes time to have the ducts in your home cleaned.

Air ducts are going to get dirty.

Pet dander, dust, chemicals, and other contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system, where they can build up and possibly contribute to health problems. This is especially true for people with respiratory conditions, autoimmune disorders, or allergies.

Clean air ducts can save you money.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25% to 40% 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. A clean HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard, so it uses less energy.

There’s a wrong way to clean air ducts.

When you hire a professional cleaner, ask if they’re a member of NADCA, a trade association of the HVAC inspection, cleaning, and restoration industry. NADCA members have signed a Code of Ethics and invested time and resources into industry-related training and education. They also have general liability insurance.

Beware of air duct cleaning scams.

You should be aware that some non-NADCA companies use scare tactics and bait-and-switch methods to squeeze money out of their clients or don’t clean the HVAC system at all, let alone to the industry’s standards.

How to Tell You’re Getting A Professional Air Duct Cleaner:

Is the company able to show proof of NADCA membership and certification? Is the contractor willing to conduct a thorough inspection of the HVAC system prior to performing any work and disclose any problems discovered? Will the contractor clean the supply and return air ductwork, the air-stream side of the heat exchanger and the secondary heat exchanger? After cleaning, are access panels properly sealed; blower blades and compartment clean and free of oil, dust, and debris? Point a flashlight into the cooling coil. Does light shine through? It should if the coil is clean. Check to make sure the coil fins are straight and evenly spaced, and the coil drain pan is clean and draining properly. After cleaning, do the filters fit properly and are they the proper efficiency recommended by the manufacturer?

For the original article visit NADCA.

Clean Your Dryer Vent

Each year about 2,900 fires are caused by the dryer in your home, it is estimated to cause 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property damage. Failure to clean your dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires and the majority of these fires occur in the fall and winter months with the peak season being January. Here are some helpful tips on how to avoid becoming one of these homes.

  • Clothes dryer do’s
    • Installation
      • Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
      • Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
      • Read manufacturers’ instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that come with new dryers.
    • Cleaning
      • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
      • Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
      • Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
    • Maintenance
      • Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
      • Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.
      • Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
      • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
      • Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.
      • Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
      • Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
      • If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.
  • Clothes dryer don’ts
    • Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
    • Don’t overload the dryer.
    • Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
    • Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
    • Don’t dry any item for which manufacturers’ instructions state “dry away from heat.”
    • Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturers’ instructions allow).
    • Don’t dry items that have meet anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
    • Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.

Follow these helpful tips to help ensure you and your home stay safe.