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.

home air duct

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

Cleaning the air ducts in your home is an important task to consider when factoring in you and your families overall health. Containments in the air, dust and debris particles and host of other risks could be present in your home that you’re not even aware of.

Cleaning the vents and air ducts lessen those risks by removing particles. You could attempt to do this yourself, and there are DIY videos all over the Internet, but there are also risks.

It’s best to call in professionals for an air duct cleaning in your home if you want to rest assured that any trapped debris is located and removed and that your family is breathing the cleanest indoor air possible.

You should aim to have your air ducts cleaned at least every few years. The National Air Duct Cleaner’s Association recommends every 3-5 years. This, of course, can change and require more frequent cleanings if you’re doing renovations, painting, have pets or are even smoking in the home.

home air ductKeeping your air duct system clean can also be useful for lessening symptoms from allergies and asthma issues if anyone in the home suffers from these ailments.

If you’re not sure when the last time you had your air ducts cleaned was, or if you’ve never hired a professional to help with the task, you can easily take a look at the vent returns around your home. If there is dark, black color dust on them, chances are the air circulating through your system isn’t very clean.

Hire quality professionals to get the job done right. Preferred HD uses customized agitation tools in your vents to help loosen up and remove dirt as well as blasting 200 PSI of air pressure and vacuum hoses to grab up every last piece of dirt in your vents.

We employee the most qualified technicians with all up-to-date training and certifications to be sure homes and businesses across CT can achieve improved air quality.

Get a free consultation today!

commercial kitchen

Commercial Kitchen? Here’s What You Should Know about NFPA 96

commercial kitchenIf your facility has a commercial kitchen, you likely already know there are many standards and compliance requirements necessary to safely run the kitchen at your facility. When it comes specifically to fire prevention and ventilation, NFPA 96 is an important standard to become familiar with.

Here’s why.

Getting to Know the Codes & Standards

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a non-profit trade association in the U.S. that works to create and adopt standards and codes for use by local governments. When it comes to protecting commercial buildings from fire and other risks caused by the cooking of food in a kitchen, NFPA 96 includes standards for fire marshals to follow when ensuring a facility is up to code. This includes safety related to design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance for both public and private cooking operations and more specifically the cleanliness of commercial kitchens for fire prevention.

Why Precautions are Necessary

Responsibility to ensuring you’re up to code typically falls on the property or business owner. You should ensure you have proper rooftop terminations, grease traps, drains and fans and exhausts as well as checking that all electric wiring is functioning. Another important element in a commercial kitchen is the exhaust system and ducts. Keeping these accessible, clean and well maintained will help prevent fires, release dangerous gases and keep air in the facility clean.

Preferred HD has a team of trained technicians with all the proper tools, training and expertise needed to maintain your commercial kitchen’s hood and exhaust system.  If you’re a restaurant or business owner in Connecticut, we’re fully licensed and certified by the ASCS and have some of the most trusted, reputable kitchen hood and exhaust system cleaners in the state.

Set-up a free commercial kitchen hood cleaning consultation today!

men at work

Staying Current with Clean Air and Compliance Standards at Your Facility

Meeting compliance requirements is a must for any business. Not only to avoid hefty fines but to keep their employees safe and productive. When it comes to clean air, there is more than having ventilation in place that’s needed to keep workers safe. Most industries have unique dangers, especially those in industrial processing facilities. Combustible dust created from chemicals, wood, metal and even in food processing facilities must be taken seriously.

men at workTo remain compliant, there are strict rules to adhere to when it comes to cleaning and maintaining equipment and more.

Here are some tips for staying current with all the latest clean air and compliance standards required for your facility.

Understanding Clean Air Requirements

To remain compliant, it’s important to first understand what clean air requirements are necessary for your operations and why. The Clean Air Act is a federal law put in place to govern air pollution and regulates air emissions coming from both stationary and mobile sources. With the law in place, there have been dramatic reductions in air pollution and health effects each year.

The Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with solving air pollution problems via the latest science and technology information. Regular inspections and investigations into compliance mean staying abreast of all the latest rules is necessary.

Maintaining Compliance

Facilities are monitored for compliance by the EPA to include checking for asbestos, stationary and mobile sources, hazardous air toxins, ozone-depleting substances and more.

Facilities must have a risk assessment completed every five years as well to remain compliant. There is also a need to maintain operating emission permits, keep records and reporting and manage any construction or modifications made to the facility, along with a host of other responsibilities to maintain healthy air quality.

Depending on several factors including the type of facility, where it’s located and more, this may change what standards must be met to remain compliant. The EPA’s website contains information on those rules and how to stay compliant as new updates are made.

Having your facilities air ducts cleaned is a great way to improve indoor air quality. With a significant factor of lost time and wages due to illness caused by unclean HVAC coils, it only makes sense to start here.

Preferred HD offers commercial air duct cleaning services along with a detailed assessment of your system’s condition.

Schedule an appointment today!

OFFICE AIR

Tips for Protecting Your Buildings Indoor Air Quality

One of the most important requirements as an employer is that your workforce always remains safe and have a healthy and efficient work environment. This means having training, team building, and maintaining a workplace culture. It also means ensuring the building you operate in gets all the required maintenance.

OFFICE AIRAir quality is an issue that affects more than just the outdoors. In fact, indoor air can be just as polluted and even lead to increased time out from workers being sick which ultimately can hurt the bottom line.

According to the American Lung Association, low-quality indoor air leads to significant lost time and wages due to illness.

In order to remain in compliance with all building and worker health codes, there are things you can do to keep the indoor air cleaner.

Perform all Regular HVAC Work

The first thing you should do to protect the quality of air in your building is to maintain regular HVAC cleanings and repairs. According to the Environmental Protection agency, unclean HVAC coils can result in a 21 percent decrease in system efficiency. During these maintenance visits, expert technicians will clean and inspect air vents and heating systems and can spot dangerous as well as prevent premature breakage or downtime.

Have Vents Cleaned

Performing regular cleanings of your commercial facility’s air duct systems will also save you and your employees time and money. During an air duct cleaning service, we’ll assess the condition of your overall system as well as assurance checks after we’ve completed to job to ensure quality and restore fiberglass installation in the duct system.

Handle Upgrades and Construction Accordingly

It’s important to keep indoor air quality top of mind anytime you’ll be performing upgrades or construction to the building. Dangerous pollutants like radon, mold, particles and other chemicals can create an unhealthy breathing environment. Check that ventilation and moisture are in control and make sure all work is done by professionals who understand the risks of building materials like asbestos especially in older buildings.

Preferred Hood & Duct serves commercial and residential customers across CT. Our qualified professionals have up-to-date training and relevant certifications. When you use Preferred Hood & Duct, you can be sure you’re getting quality service from.

Get a free, no obligation quote.