clean house

Preventing Fires with Combustible Dust Cleanings

We all know that outdoor air quality, particularly in the summer, is a health issue of concern. Hot, hazy days can lead to high levels of pollution and poor air quality, and affect our quality of life. It’s important to remember, however, that indoor air quality can also be a concern.

Indoor Air Pollution and Health

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality inside buildings and structures such as homes, offices, and businesses. It specifically relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce indoor health concerns. Poor air quality indoor is the cause of “sick building syndrome,” and it can lead to respiratory problems and even impaired thinking and learning.

Proper ventilation and filtration are vital for keeping indoor air quality high, as well as regular duct maintenance. Dirty air ducts can aggravate allergies and asthma, so it’s important that all buildings undergo regular cleaning. But aside from indoor air quality, there’s another important reason to follow regular maintenance, particularly in commercial buildings: some dust is highly combustible.

What is Combustible Dust?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air in certain conditions.” Essentially, the components of dust — plant pollen, human and animal hairs, textile fibers, paper fibers, minerals from outdoor soil, kitchen particles like flour, industrial materials, human skin cells and more – are flammable, and when they are present in large quantities, they can pose a fire risk.

Dust is primarily made of finely divided solid particles that, upon ignition, can explode when ignited. Unfortunately, most people aren’t even aware of the risk.

This often-overlooked potential hazard is more common than you may think, and yet combustible dust explosions, accompanied by fires, are often one of the most ignored risks in the workplace.

Safety agencies such as OSHA recommend that manufacturers study and understand the elements of their production processes and the particles these processes may be putting into the air, as well as ignition sources such as flames, sparks, hot machinery, stoves, welding arcs and more. It’s also important to engage a commercial combustible dust cleaning and control service that understands the importance of maintenance to prevent fires.

Contact Preferred Hood & Duct, Inc. For questions and more information, fill out our online form, or contact us directly at 860-613-1130.

 

cold winter air

Understanding Winter Air Quality Problems

There’s an incorrect idea out there that many have when thinking that cold air is safer because germs can’t thrive in freezing temperatures. This isn’t exactly true though.

In fact, cold winter air can be some of the lowest quality and dirty air and it even causes more pollution since most people aren’t thinking about air quality in the winter.

Types of Winter Air Pollution

Studies have shown that pollution rates are still high winter, especially here in the Northeast due in large part to the fact that sulfur, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants are being released into the air and then sitting stagnant toward the ground where cold air gets trapped by warm air (temperature inversion).

Then there’s indoor air pollution that can also result as people are spending more time indoors with doors and windows sealed and mold and dust just floating through the air. Not just that, but with the fireplace and heaters going full force, the space might be warm but contaminants are also getting into the air.

Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality

To help keep the quality of air in your home high, be sure to keep products with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to minimal or no use and that you are cleaning and dusting and washing your hands regularly during these months to stay as healthy as possible. You should also never start your car to warm it up in a garage (even with the door open) as CO2 can make it’s way into the home much too easily to risk it.

Another way to improve indoor air quality is to use an air purification system or to have your home’s air ducts cleaned professionally. During this process, agitation tools are used to loosen up dirt and debris accumulation and specialized air pressure tools and vacuum hoses are used to remove those particles.

Get ahead of this year’s blizzardy weather by having your home cleaned by a professional. Preferred HD services commercial and residential properties across Connecticut. Schedule a consultation today!

mopping the kitchen floor

Clean Air Tips for Radon Awareness Month

The month of January is Radon Action Month and is used as a time to bring awareness to a dangerous gas, that if exposed to in your home, can lead to lung cancer and even death.

In light of this important cause, we’re dedicating this blog post to some key information about Radon in the home as well as some tips for keeping the air indoors clean for occupants.

What is Radon?

The gas, which has no color or odor to it, can sneak its way into the home’s air from underground. The only way to know if it’s present in the home is to have it tested. You can call a professional or use a DIY kit from a hardware store.

If radon has in fact been detected in your home or basement it makes sense to call on a professional and have it remedied quickly.  This may involve sealing cracks in the foundation and walls and running gas-tight pipes from crawlspaces to the roof as a way to vent the gas coming from the soil safely away from your home.

Here are some other tips to help keep the air quality in your home high.

Clean Up

It’s not just something your mom told you as a kid to annoy. Keeping a clean space that’s mopped up and dusted can easily prevent dust, debris, and other particles from making their way into the air you and your family breath.

Ventilate

If you’re using chemicals to clean (try safer alternatives) then you should also be ventilating the spaces in your home. Circulate a fan to dry mopped floors quickly and be sure to open the windows for a few minutes a day to let in fresh air and to let whatever is trapped indoors out.

Remove Moisture

Speaking of speeding up the floor drying, don’t forget that moisture can be a key culprit of indoor air issues. Mold grows easily in constantly damp spaces like bathrooms or there is a drip present. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on crevices or vents and other places where mold spores could grow.

Call in the Professionals

Preferred Hood & Duct offers residential HVAC cleaning services that remove dust, mold, & allergens from the places homeowners can’t see. Get a breath of fresh air in your home with our NADCA-approved residential and commercial air duct cleaning, AC coil cleaning, kitchen exhaust cleaning, and more.

 

Contact us today!

clean air home

Keep Your Indoor Air Quality High with Regular HVAC Maintenance

In the summertime, when temperatures rise, outdoor air quality can often be poor thanks to pollution and smog. Air quality issues don’t disappear in the Connecticut winter cold, however: they simply move indoors, particularly if there are problems in your home’s heating and ventilation system. One of the problems is that indoor air pollutants are often invisible.

“Most of the things that cause problems are odorless,” says Dr. Nicholas BuSaba, associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. “So, in many cases, there’s nothing to alert you to the problem.”

Nothing except the symptoms these pollutants and allergens can trigger, such as respiratory problems (including asthma flare-ups), fatigue and sleepiness, nasal allergies or even digestive issues. The problem often resides in your heating and cooling system.

Importance of a Home’s HVAC System

Think of your heating and cooling system as the lungs of your home. The HVAC (or just heating, if you don’t have air conditioning) takes air in and “breathes” it out through the air ducts in your home. Unfortunately, these air ducts are ideal places for indoor pollutants to lurk.

It’s estimated that dirt and dust are recirculated throughout your home five to seven times a day, on average, depending on your heating system. Over time, this can cause a buildup of gunk in the ductwork. These dirty ducts can reduce the air quality inside your home, contributing to health issues, especially in people who already have respiratory conditions such as asthma, autoimmune disorders or allergies.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Keeping clean air in our homes is important for the health of the entire family. Dirty, dusty air ducts can aggravate allergies and asthma by blowing dust, pet hair and other allergens into living spaces. Cleaning the air ducts in your home removes dirt and dust, leading to better indoor air quality. It also helps to install filters in the HVAC system and ensure they are changed regularly. Electrostatic filters can help ensure that dust and other airborne irritants get trapped instead of being recirculated throughout your home. Dehumidifiers and air purifiers can also be installed to help improve indoor air quality.

Get Your Ducts Professionally Cleaned

Preferred Hood & Duct offers competitive rates on all residential air duct, dryer vent, and kitchen exhaust system cleaning. Visit our website to view our services or call 860-613-1130 to discuss how we can help keep your home a cleaner, healthier place, either with a new installation or routine cleaning and maintenance.

girl in school

Can Better Indoor Air Quality Help Students Focus?

Now that summer is over and cold weather is gripping Connecticut and many other parts of the country, children and adults are spending more time indoors. People often think that being outside in cold weather causes illness and consider a warm indoor environment a refuge. The reality, however, is that spending the majority of the day indoors can actually make people sick, which can affect all aspects of life.

What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality

During the winter, people understandably want to keep cold air out. The problem is that lack of ventilation can keep pollutants inside a building, where people breathe them in all day. The issue is particularly widespread in schools, which are often decades old and not ventilated as well as modern businesses.

Many types of pollutants are found in schools. Academic supplies, cleaning products with phthalates, mold, and allergens students carry to school on their clothes can affect the air quality inside the building. Outdoor air pollution can also make its way into schools. If buses idle outside in the morning and afternoon, the exhaust can affect the air quality around and inside the school. Without proper ventilation, students can be exposed to airborne contaminants day in and day out.

How Poor Air Quality Can Affect Students’ Health

Chemicals in cleaning supplies can aggravate allergies and asthma. If a room or building is warm and damp, that is the perfect breeding ground for mold, which can cause dizziness, headaches, and asthma attacks. School supplies can produce odors and release volatile organic compounds that can irritate children’s noses and throats. Dirt and dust on students’ shoes, chemicals used in the manufacturing of clothing, allergens from pets, and environmental contaminants from children’s homes can affect them and their classmates in a variety of ways.

How Students Can Suffer Academically

Repeated exposure to airborne pollutants for hours a day can have significant and lasting effects on students. In addition to obvious symptoms, such as worsening of allergies, asthma attacks, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, there may be other problems that are not immediately apparent. Students may have trouble concentrating, and their memory, attention span, and response time may suffer. This can lead to declines in academic performance. A child who falls behind may struggle to catch up or may have to repeat a grade. Children may also become frustrated and display behavioral problems.

How to Improve Air Quality in Schools

If you are a school administrator, now that students are spending more time inside, you should think about air quality and how it might affect children’s health and ability to focus. Use cleaners and academic supplies that do not emit harmful chemicals and improve ventilation in the building. Preferred HD can inspect and clean your air ducts and HVAC system to keep your students healthy and ready to learn. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

autumn

Clean Your Air Ducts to Curb Seasonal Autumn Allergies

Allergies cause sneezing, congestion, and suffering for millions of Americans. Those symptoms can interfere with work, school, and regular activities. Many people with allergies find that things get worse in the fall.

What Triggers Autumn Allergies

Dust, mold, and other airborne contaminants can collect in the air ducts in your home’s HVAC system. When cooler weather arrives and you turn on the heat, the warm air travels through the ducts, which have been sitting unused for months and have been collecting contaminants. Those particles can be pushed into your home by the warm air and spread throughout the house. If someone with allergies breathes that air for several hours a day, it can trigger an allergic reaction or asthma attack.

Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

Contaminants are bound to collect in your home’s air ducts over time. You may not realize how bad the situation is until you or a member of your family starts sneezing, coughing, or wheezing. If someone in your household is dealing with allergies this fall, dirty air ducts may be to blame.

If no one in your family is suffering from allergies right now, there might be other signs that your air ducts should be cleaned. If your home tends to collect a lot of dust, or if you have owned the house for 10 years or longer and have never had the ducts cleaned, doing so now, before allergies flare up, is a good idea.

Hire Professionals

You should not try to clean your home’s air ducts yourself. This is a task that requires specialized equipment and chemicals, as well as an understanding of what caused the contamination, how to clean it, and how to prevent the problem from returning.

Be sure to hire a qualified and reputable company. Some businesses promise to clean ducts and remove allergens but do not have the equipment needed to do the job correctly. Some companies use the wrong chemicals or use them in combinations that could produce toxic fumes.

How Air Ducts Are Cleaned

Workers from the company will seal off the HVAC system to prevent contaminants from being blown into your house during the cleaning process. They will use high-powered vacuum cleaners, other tools, and possibly chemicals to remove dust, mold, pet dander, dead insects, and animal droppings from your air ducts.

Schedule a Duct Cleaning Appointment

Using the HVAC system to heat your house can push airborne pollutants into living areas and make life unbearable for someone with allergies. If you or someone in your family has already experienced problems, things will only get worse. If it has been a long time since your ducts were last cleaned, contact Preferred HD now to schedule a cleaning and prevent allergic reactions. We have the necessary tools and chemicals and a highly trained and experienced team to do the job correctly and safely.

A Reminder to Keep Indoor Air Clean

indoor clean air room

To celebrate Healthy Lung Month and National Respiratory Care Week (October 21-27), the Environmental Protection Agency is reminding homeowners of the importance of clean indoor air. Regular exposure to pollutants can aggravate existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and may even cause serious lung problems in previously healthy individuals.

Control Moisture in Your Home

One of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality is moisture. Leaks from the roof and windows can allow moisture to enter a house and accumulate, which can lead to mold and mildew. This can cause respiratory problems or worsen the symptoms of conditions such as asthma. Have your home thoroughly inspected annually to find any sources of leaks and have them repaired to prevent mold.

Another way to prevent mold and respiratory issues is to control the level of humidity in your home from daily activities. The kitchen and bathrooms are the rooms most likely to become humid from the use of the stove and shower. Use an exhaust fan in the kitchen to vent moisture to the outside of the house. Turn on a fan in the bathroom or open a window to prevent steam from the shower from causing mold. You can also use a dehumidifier to control the humidity level throughout the house.

Check for Dangerous Gases

Your family may be exposed to gases at home that you cannot see or smell, but that could put your lives at risk. Carbon monoxide and radon can cause serious illness and even death. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and have the house tested for radon.

Avoid Other Contaminants

Don’t allow anyone to smoke inside your house. Secondhand smoke can sicken or even kill others, especially children and elderly people. The smell can also linger and can be hard to remove from furniture and carpet.

You may love your furry friends, but pets may be causing your home’s indoor air quality to suffer. Pets can shed fur and leave dander all over furniture and carpet. If you or someone in your family has an animal allergy, keep your pets as clean as possible, cover or clean your furniture on a regular basis, and vacuum frequently to minimize exposure to allergens.

Many common household chemicals can also have a negative impact on indoor air quality. Cleaning supplies, pesticides, and chemicals used for arts and crafts can affect the lungs. Avoid using chemicals inside your house as much as possible. If it is absolutely necessary, open windows and use fans to ventilate the room.

Have Your HVAC System Cleaned

The vents and ducts that make up your home’s heating and air conditioning system can accumulate a variety of contaminants. This is why it is important to have the HVAC system cleaned and filters replaced on a regular basis. Doing so can help you maintain healthy air quality in your home. Preferred HD can clean your vents and ducts to remove contaminants and protect your family’s health.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

4 Tips to Improve Air Quality & Avoid Mold Growth In Your Home

clean kitchen in houseEveryone knows that mold is bad news, but how many people actively try to prevent it? If you’ve had any experience with mold in the past, then you know that it can severely diminish the air quality in your home and that being proactive about it is the secret to a healthier, happier home.

It doesn’t matter how much mold experience you have or if you’ve never even considered air quality in your home, because today we will outline 4 steps anyone can take to avoid potential issues.

1. Inspect Basements & Attics For Moisture & Leaks

Mold thrives in wet, humid environments; therefore, it is best to start your mold-hunting crusade in your basement and/or your attic. Check the walls, floors, pipes, crawl spaces, fittings, and fixtures for moisture. Since condensation gives birth to mold, be sure to note if the floors or pipes in the basement are particularly cold. If they are, then you should visit them regularly to ensure that you tackle wet spots sooner than later.

Aside from these surface-level areas, it is always important to watch for leaks that may occur inside the walls or underneath the floors. While not quite as easy to pinpoint as a sweaty pipe, there are a few things you can do, like:

  • Read your water meter. If you have a digital water meter, you may need to shine a flashlight on the face to wake it up. Record the first four numbers from left to right; read it again after you’re sure that all of your fixtures are turned off. If the number increases, then you may have a leak. Most digital water meters show an icon if a leak is detected. Check with your local water provider to see if your meter is built with that type of technology.
  • Check for standing water or puddles around the walls.
  • Do a sniff test. If the air smells musty, you could have an issue.
  • Listen for dripping sounds after you turn off the shower or flush the toilet.
  • Rent a moisture reader from a hardware store. These handy gadgets will help you determine if there is moisture inside a wall.

2. Don’t Wait To Dry Wet Spots

Just took a shower? Then remember to wipe up any water that your wet feet leave behind. Did some laundry? Don’t wait all day to transfer your wet clothes to the dryer. Washed the dishes? Make sure that the counter is dry.

The same principles should be applied to spills. When having friends over for a party, most people tend to wait a day before they truly tackle any accidents that happened the night before. As a host, don’t wait: dry that carpet fast! As a guest, be respectful: offer to clean up the mess yourself.

3. Maintain Good Air Flow With Open Windows & Exhaust Fans

Sometimes the appliances you use every day, like your dryer or stove, creates moisture inside. Eliminate this stale, wet air by opening a window, employing AC units, or running an exhaust fan. Proper ventilation and circulation are essential for curbing mold, so let fresh air in and open doors between rooms.

4. Check & Clean Your Air Ducts

Mold can also live in air ducts. Why? They’re damp and secluded. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Don’t let that motto blind you though. Prevent the possibility that mold could even grow in your air ducts by hiring a professional source removal company to come to your home and clean and inspect the air ducts at least annually.

Preferred HD uses customized agitation tools inserted into vent openings so it will loosen up accumulated dust, dirt, and other contaminants and blasts ductwork with almost 200 PSI of air pressure to force out the loose debris.

If you’re concerned about the air quality in your home, or you would like your air ducts to be professionally cleaned, then contact us today!    

 

FAMILY AT HOME

Before Heating Season, Clean-up the Air in Your Home

We’ve entered the last few days of summer here in CT. For many homeowners, the time to cover the pool, turn off the A/C and make preparations for winter weather has come. The unpredictable and often brutal winters that plague the northeast make having a fully functional heating system in your home a must.

While you schedule those important HVAC cleanings to get your system in order in advance of the cold don’t forget to also have the air ducts in your home cleaned. Doing so will give your home a nice fresh start to the season and remove any dust, debris or allergens that have accumulated in the ducts over time.

FAMILY AT HOMEHere are some of the reasons to have your air ducts cleaned ahead of heating season.

Clean Air to Breathe

The issue with dust and dirt in the home is that before you have a chance to sweep or vacuum it away, it’s already in the air and making its way into the air ducts. Here it circulates throughout the home over the course of the day and enters the air in particle form as you and your family breathe it in.

To address the issue, a duct cleaning service that uses tools and specialized techniques to reach debris and remove it is necessary. As an added bonus, having your homes air ducts cleaned can help those in the home already suffering from respiratory issues like allergies or other autoimmune disorders.

Savings on Heating & Energy Bills

Another reason to have your home’s HVAC and air ducts serviced before the start of heating season is because an HVAC system that’s clogged up with contaminants is going to have to work extra hard to run. This extra work adds up to more dollars spent on energy usage and a greater waste of pricey heating sources.

If you’re ready to have your home running clean and efficiently this winter, give Preferred HD a call. Our “Source Removal Process” utilizes customized agitation tools inserted into vent openings to loosen dust, dirt, and other accumulated contaminants. We also get to the interior ductwork and blast it with almost 200 PSI of air pressure and use a vacuum hose almost a foot in diameter attached to the duct vents to suction out the loosened debris. It’s our goal to make sure that every corner is left clean and that nothing makes its way into your home’s interior.

Get a free consultation and quote!

4 Tips to Help Save Up to 10% on Your Home’s Energy Bills

ENERGYAs you have probably noticed, your energy bills tend to rise consistently year after year. While this is inevitable and will continue to happen, there are ways you can alleviate some of the costs. Here are just some of the simple steps you can take that will help reduce your home’s energy usage and its impact on your wallet.

HVAC System Maintenance

Keeping a regular maintenance program in place with a professional HVAC company allows your system to operate efficiently year-round, relieving the stress of trying to handle or figure out the maintenance yourself. Between services be sure to check on and change your air filters regularly.

Keep Drafts Out

Keep in mind that if air is able to get in, air is able to get out. Make sure your home is properly insulated and windows and doors are shut and tightly sealed. Any leakage of air during hot and cold months can have an effect on energy costs.

Window Coverings Can Help Control Temperatures

Using window coverings can also help regulate temperatures in the home. Keeping window coverings closed during the day in summer to help reduce temperatures while during the winter months, keeping them open during the day on south-facing windows to allow sunlight and warmth in. During the winter months though, you’ll want to make sure you’re closing them at night to provide insulation between the glass and the interior of your home.

Regulate Thermostat Usage

To help with energy savings, find an optimal temperature that works for both the hottest and coolest months and stick with it.

According to Energy.gov, “You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.“

Another option is using a programmable thermostat which can help with savings by relieving stress on your HVAC system during off-peak hours. The less the thermostat is changed around, the less stress it will put on your HVAC system.

We know there are a number of factors that come into play when trying to save on a home’s energy bills. Here at Preferred HD, we take pride in providing the best in HVAC system services throughout Connecticut.

Contact Preferred HD today to schedule routine HVAC maintenance and to gain improved air quality year round.