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Air Quality Information

If you answer "Yes" to any of the following questions, your home may suffer from: "Indoor Air Pollution".

          - Do you have an air circulating system that utilizes a standard fiberglass filter?
          - Do you have pets?
          - Are there smokers in the house?
          - Does anyone in your house suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems?
          - Do you regularly clean excessive dust accumulations from your household furniture?
          - Do you experience headaches, nausea, burning sensations in the nose, throat or eyes when inside
            the home?
          - Do you have "dust trails" or discoloring coming out of your air duct registers?

Dirt, dust, mold, pollen, and animal dander are recirculated through our air ducts every time we turn on our heat or air conditioner. Combine this with moisture and you have an ideal breeding ground for fungi, germs, and household mold. Studies have confirmed that some diseases, including salmonella, strep, and legionnaires disease are spread by contaminated air ducts.

Common sources of airborne contaminants include

Indoor contaminants. These include chemicals used in the construction or renovation of buildings (e.g., glues, off-gassing from carpets, emissions from particle board, cleaning compounds). In addition, appliances that burn gas can produce particulates and carbon monoxide. Incomplete combustion and poor ventilation of these appliances (cook stoves, gas furnaces, gas boilers, and gas water heaters) can contribute to indoor contaminants. Gas cook tops should be used with fans that send exhaust outside. Gas-fired heating appliances should be sealed and power-vented systems installed to remove products of incomplete combustion. Wood-burning stoves can also create particulates and must be vented outside.

Outdoor contaminants. Outdoor particulates can be drawn inside when the heating or cooling system draws air into a home. Particulates and allergens found in outdoor air can be asthma triggers. Filtering incoming air for HVAC systems effectively filters particulates. Experts recommend using filters with a MERV 6-8, but higher MERV levels trap smaller particles and generally are more appropriate for those with allergies or where the indoor environment has a high concentration of mold spores, dust particles, or other allergens.

Two types of ventilation can help control harmful air contaminants and humidity: spot ventilation and dilution ventilation. Spot ventilation draws air from a particular location (e.g., bathroom, kitchen) and exhausts it to the outside. Dilution ventilation addresses low-level contamination throughout the home.

Spot Ventilation. Exterior exhaust fans should be installed in all bathrooms and kitchens. These fans remove humidity and carbon monoxide. The most effective fans are quiet and durable. Use fans that operate at one sone or less and exhaust to the outdoors. Fans equipped with timers or de-humidistat controls are useful to ensure the fans run for a sufficient period of time. A good rule of thumb is to run a bathroom fan for about 45 minutes after a shower.

Dilution Ventilation. Dilution ventilation addresses the entire living space. Air changes (exchanging indoor air with outdoor air) and air cleaning help determine the effectiveness of dilution. Air changes result from a combination of natural ventilation (infiltration; leakage; windows) and mechanical (controlled) ventilation. Air cleaning occurs when particulates are filtered and when air is dehumidified to remove moisture. The goal is to provide sufficient changes in clean air to ensure a healthy environment. There are several types of heating and cooling systems with filtration that can be installed to accomplish this. The references below provide links to helpful technical resources. A common element necessary in all systems is duct sealing, particularly on the return side (side drawing in the air). The Air Conditioning Contractors Association (ACCA) provides guidance on duct sealing in its Manual D: Duct Design (see references below).

Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution, in homes as well as commercial buildings, is being recognized as a serious health problem. Researchers have discovered the air pollution inside your home can be much worse than the air pollution outside your home. Most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, whether it be at home, at work, or in a car traveling.

Sources of Indoor Pollution

The sources of indoor air pollution include outside contaminated air, moisture or standing water, heating and air conditioning equipment, personal care products, smoking, cooking, house cleaning products, chemicals released from building products like paneling or carpet, and remodeling a home.

"Blow and Go" Companies

These are the companies that have put a black mark on legitimate professional duct cleaners like Sears, Duct Masters and a few others. "Blow and Go" stands for just that ... The technician (90% of the time they are not certified) will enter your home and leave within or close to one hour. Companies that are "Blow and Go" are mostly contractors from a larger companies. If you should happen to choose another company besides Duct Masters, ask them if they are sub-contracted. Most of the time they will not tell you the truth so you will need to use your own judgment when they arrive. Look at their uniform (if they even have one), company truck (some even use cars or minivan, which should be a red flag) Look to see if any paper work they have, besides invoices, are from the company you called. Your best bet is to go with a large company that offers NO CONTRACTORS and stay away from low price duct cleaners trying to lure you in.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are living, spider-like microscopic insects that can travel through the air and are too small to be seen. They feed off dead skin cells from humans and animals as well as mold spores, and are almost everywhere. Dust mites, like other biological contaminants, contribute to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and may be a major cause of days lost from work and school because they can cause you to sneeze, trigger allergic reactions, rashes, watery eyes, coughing, dizziness, lethargy, breathing difficulties, and digestive problems. Exposure to dust mites, animal dander, cat saliva and mold causes about 200,000 emergency-room visits a year for asthma patients.

Where are Dust Mites found?

Dust mites are found everywhere there are humans or animals, warm temperatures, and humidity levels above 60%. Mites have been reported worldwide, including the continental United States and Hawaii, southern Canada, most of Europe including the Scandinavian countries, Russia, Asia, the Middle East, parts of Australia, South America, and Africa. At least 13 species of dust mites have been found in house dust. Six of these are commonly found throughout the world.

Home renovations

This is one of the biggest reasons to have your ducts cleaned. No matter what type of renovations you do this year drywall, sanding, etc you need to get your ducts cleaned. Most contractors work with the cooling system running or even sweep excess dirt into the air returns. There are also cases of workers leaving their lunch bags, food and drinks behind in the air return (this mostly occurs in new home construction) During renovations the duct system will not only suffer but your entire system will been contaminated. Duct Masters are experts and specialize in complex cleaning like renovations.