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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 (727) 233-6521.


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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 Monterey 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 727-233-6521 to discuss how we can help keep your home a cleaner, healthier place, either with a new installation or routine cleaning and maintenance.


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.

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Healthy Homes Month: How to Keep Indoor Air Clean

clean air homeFor most of us, the place we call home is our sanctuary. Where we go to relax, spend time with our loved ones and somewhere safe. However even with the best security in your home, there are other issues that could be causing harm. Airborne contaminants.

In honor of “National Healthy Homes” month this June, we’re offering tips on keeping your home’s indoor air clean.

Have HVAC System Serviced

The HVAC system in your home is at the heart of how you’re able to keep the temperatures indoors comfortable throughout the seasons. As it works hard to pump our heat and circulate cold air, it’s also picking up debris. For this reason it is recommended that HVAC systems be serviced and cleaned at least once a year. Not only will this help spot potential issues with the system prior to breaking, but it can also lower your utility bills since the system won’t have to work so hard to heat or cool the home.

Clean Air Ducts

Cleaning your air ducts is one of the best ways to improve indoor air quality in your home.  Over the years, the duct ways you don’t see traveling throughout the walls in your home will accumulate with dust, pet dander and other debris and contaminants. Without having it removed, it will only continue to be pushed through the system and out into the air you and your family is breathing in the home. This can also improve allergies as well as reduce system breakage.

Beware of the Products You Use

Even if you keep up with yearly maintenance and cleaning of your air ducts and HVAC system you can be releasing more harmful chemicals into the air through the products you are using. Paints, harsh household cleaners and other pollutants can easily make their way into the air if you’re not careful. Be sure to research the types of products to avoid and proper ventilation when they are in use.

Preferred Hood & Duct offers air duct cleaning services that help to improve air quality in buildings  and homes.

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combustible dust

Combustible Dust. The Hidden Menace.

Combustible dust is basically any ultrafine material which can ignite and explode once combined with air. It is not given its due as it happens more often than is realized. Built-up dust, even in minute amounts, can cause extensive damage.

What is Combustible dust

combustible dustThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines combustible dust as the following, “Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air in certain conditions.”

That being said, the vast majority of natural and synthetic materials, including some metals, can create combustible dusts. 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.

Five critical factors must be in place for ignition to occur. The first three are the obvious – heat, fuel (in this case the dust), and oxygen, known as the “fire triangle.”  Distribution of particles, in ample quantity and concentration, can cause rapid ignition defined as deflagration. However, two additional factors added to the “fire triangle”, dispersion and confinement, create what is known as the “dust explosion pentagon.” This amalgam of conditions and factors can lead to a catastrophic explosion.  However, if but one of these factors is not in place, there cannot be an explosion.

There does exist an additional threat should a primary explosion occur. If there are additional dust particles dislodged after the initial explosion, the primary explosion could ignite a secondary, more powerful explosion, which is often more catastrophic and more often results in the loss of life, injury, as well as physical building damage.

Sited in A Guide to Combustible Dusts, the North Carolina Department of Labor, in collaboration with OSHA and Commissioner of Labor, Cherie Killian Berry, OSHA State Plan Designee, many natural and synthetic organic materials in many of today’s manufacturing processes can contribute to the formation of combustible dust. They are as follows:

  • Food products (e.g., grain, cellulose, powdered milk, sugar, flour, starch, cocoa, maltodextrin)
  • Pharmaceuticals (e.g., vitamins)
  • Wood (e.g., wood dust, wood flour )
  • Textiles (e.g., cotton dust, nylon dust)
  • Plastics (e.g., phenolics, polypropylene)
  • Resins (e.g., lacquer, phenol-formaldehyde)
  • Biosolids (dried wastes from sewage treatment plants)
  • Coal and other carbon dusts

Combustible dusts can also be formed from inorganic materials and metals including:

  • Aluminum
  • Iron
  • Magnesium powder
  • Manganese
  • Sulfur

These are but a few, with almost every facet of our modern industrial society prone to this destructive phenomenon.

Prevention of Dust Explosions

To keep this insidious hazard from occurring, OSHA recommends following some precautionary rules of thumb to aid in the prevention of an explosion. Steps to help lessen the probability of a, combustible dust explosions could begin with examining the processes in place at many manufacturing facilities which use any of the materials listed above in their production processes that could produce dust particles.

Another important precaution would be noting the presence of ignition sources such as, flames, sparks, hot machinery, stoves, welding arcs, etc.  The areas surrounding these sources should be free of accumulated dust, especially in hard to see, confined areas.

Housekeeping, in general, is another area of concern. Is there a housekeeping schedule to regularly remove dust? Is there a dust collection system in place and in good working order, and does it conform to local fire code requirements?

Regular, scheduled cleaning of hoods, air ducts and vents, as well as unseen accumulation areas, is the preeminent measure for safety. HVAC is the most reliable way to remove most traces of fine particulate dust.

Be sure to have your HVAC Ducts and Vents Thoroughly Cleaned

Knowledge and prevention are key to understanding the potential hazards associated with this paradox. For commercial combustible dust cleaning and control, contact Preferred Hood & Duct, Inc.. For questions and to find out more information, fill out our online form, or contact us directly at (860) 613-1130.

If There Was a Fire in Your Home, You Should Have the HVAC Ducts Cleaned

A fire in your home is a devastating experience that can lead to a life-threatening situation for the people inside, in addition to major damage to the house and your family’s belongings. If you recently had a fire in your home, you probably have a lot on your mind and a lot of things to handle. Once you have made sure that everyone is safe, you need to begin the cleanup process.

In addition to the obvious damage to your house and belongings, there may be other damage that you can’t see. That damage can have serious effects on the health of you and your family.

How a Fire Can Affect Your HVAC Ducts

During a fire, smoke and soot can enter the vents of the HVAC system. That can cause them to become dirty and contaminated. Smoke and soot can cause strong odors. When you turn on the HVAC system, those contaminants can get blown back into the house, where they can irritate people’s lungs.

There is an additional danger from the water used to put out the fire. Water that gets into HVAC ducts can lead to mold. When your HVAC system is turned on, mold spores and bacteria can be spread throughout the house, where they can cause respiratory problems for the inhabitants.

Have Your HVAC Ducts Cleaned after a Fire in Your CT Home

If your home has been damaged by a fire, you have a lot to do to get it repaired and cleaned up so it can be livable again. There may be a lot of obvious damage, but there may also be hidden dangers. Don’t overlook the HVAC ducts in your cleanup efforts.

It is usually faster and less expensive to have the HVAC ducts cleaned than to replace the system. Deodorizing and sanitizing treatments can be used to clean the HVAC ducts and restore the indoor air quality.

Preferred Hood & Duct can clean your HVAC ducts after a fire to remove smoke, soot, and water that could affect your family’s health. This can make the air clean and safe to breathe so your family can return home as quickly as possible. Contact Preferred Hood & Duct if you need to have the HVAC ducts cleaned after a fire in your Monterey home.

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Have Your AC Ducts Cleaned Now to Protect Your Family from Mold

With spring and summer coming up, many homeowners in Monterey will begin to use their air conditioners soon, if they haven’t already. Air conditioners often lead to the growth of mold inside houses. An air conditioning unit causes the level of humidity in the house to fluctuate, which causes mold to grow and spread.

How Air Conditioners Can Allow Mold to Grow

It is practically impossible to completely prevent moisture in air ducts. Air is saturated when it leaves the evaporator while an air conditioner is on. If the air conditioner is run a lot, the moisture cannot dry up. Dirt can become caked on in the ducts and encourage the growth of mold. This can be prevented by using the AC less and by keeping the air ducts clean.

Exposure to Mold Can Affect Your Family’s Health

Repeated exposure to mold can irritate the respiratory tract and cause allergic reactions with symptoms including congestion, throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, and eye or skin irritation. If mold spores settle in the air conditioning ductwork along with other contaminants, you may not be able to see or smell them, but they can still affect your family’s health.

Replace Your Filters to Keep Your HVAC Ducts Clean

One of the best ways to keep your air ducts clean is to use effective filters. If you have pets or plants in your home, you may need to upgrade your HVAC filters. Newer filters can trap smaller particles than older fiberglass filters. If you don’t clean or change your filters, dirt and dust can accumulate, prevent the filters from working, and allow dirt and mold spores to get into the ductwork. Dust and mold spores can also get into ductwork through leaks around the duct joints in an attic.

Get Your AC Ducts Cleaned This Spring

The weather is turning warmer, and soon you will be running your air conditioner every day. That could put your family at risk if your ductwork and filters are contaminated with dirt and mold.

The AC ducts in your home should be cleaned periodically to remove contaminants. Regular duct cleaning can prevent the buildup of dust, dirt, and mold spores that could affect your family’s health.

Preferred Hood & Duct serves homeowners all over Monterey. We can clean your HVAC ducts to remove contaminants. This can improve your indoor air quality and keep your family healthy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to have your HVAC ducts cleaned.

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Why You Shouldn’t Try to Clean Your Own Air Ducts

why hire professional clean air ductsIndoor air quality is an important factor that influences people’s overall health. Airborne pathogens, dirt, and mold can get into heating and cooling ducts and be recirculated when air is pushed through the ducts and into your home. This can aggravate allergies and asthma. Mold spores in the air can also cause a host of other health problems.

One way to reduce environmental contamination inside your home is to have the HVAC ducts cleaned. A contractor can remove dirt, dust, and other pollutants from your air ducts, diffusers, grilles, cooling coils, heat exchangers, fan motors, and drip pans. This can significantly improve the quality of the air in your home and can reduce the symptoms of members of your family who suffer from allergies or asthma.

Cleaning the air ducts is especially important if there is mold inside the house. Mold in the air ducts can be recirculated continuously and can cause serious respiratory and other health problems.

You should not try to clean your air ducts yourself. The job requires specialized equipment, such as vacuums with tall attachments, cameras to see inside the ductwork, and other tools. It also requires knowledge and skills to remove all of the debris and contaminants without missing any or causing damage to the ductwork. You should always hire a professional contractor to clean the air ducts in your home. Be sure to hire someone who has specific experience cleaning air ducts in HVAC systems.

Preferred Hood & Duct has cleaned HVAC air ducts for many homeowners across Monterey. We have a team of trained and experienced professionals and the right equipment to thoroughly clean your ducts and remove dirt, dust, mold, and other environmental contaminants that could be affecting your family’s health. We can help you significantly improve the air quality in your home to keep your family healthy. Contact us today to schedule a duct cleaning appointment.

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Can Duct Cleaning Help with Indoor Allergies?

air conditioner allergiesEvery spring and summer, millions of Americans struggle with allergies. Allergens such as dust, mold, and pet dander can make it difficult to breathe and lead to sniffling, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. Many of these problems can be alleviated by cleaning air ducts and changing air conditioner filters.

Air ducts in a home are designed to exchange air inside the house with air that is heated or cooled by the HVAC system. When the heating and cooling system is on, it withdraws air from inside the house. The HVAC system can also collect allergens from the air, including dust, mold spores, and pet dander. These particles are drawn into the air ducts and are then blown back into the house the next time the system turns on. This repeatedly pollutes the air with allergens and can aggravate an individual’s allergies.

An air conditioning system can also worsen allergy symptoms. This is often caused by a dirty air filter. The air filter is supposed to remove allergens before cooled air is transported through ducts and into the house. If the air filter is dirty, it is unable to block allergens. When allergens pass through the filter into the air in the house, they can contribute to allergy symptoms.

If you suffer from allergies, getting rid of allergens in the air in your house is relatively simple. Cleaning your air ducts can eliminate much of the dust, mold, and pet dander that is currently being recycled in your house every time the air comes out of your HVAC system. Performing routine air conditioner maintenance and changing a dirty filter can also improve the air quality in your house and relieve your symptoms. An air filter can work with your home’s HVAC system to purify the air and remove allergens, such as pollen, dust, and mold spores.

Preferred Hood & Duct can clean the HVAC ducts and air conditioner filters in your home to stop allergens from being spread through the air. This can significantly reduce or possibly even eliminate your symptoms. Contact us today to schedule your duct and AC cleaning appointment.

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A photograph of the inside of an open air office.

Everything You Need to Know About Indoor Air Quality for Offices

A photograph of the inside of an open air office.According to the EPA, the majority of Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. This includes those who spend much of their working hours in offices or other white collar environments. There are many factors pertinent to the health and safety of office workers in America, but one that is consistent is indoor air quality.

Indoor environments can sometimes contain pollutant levels that surpass outdoor levels, and poor indoor air quality has consistently been ranked as one of the most important environmental health problems in the country.

If you’re a Monterey office manager or office building manager trying to maximize the health and productivity of your employees or tenants, taking care of the indoor air quality in the office building is a must. We’ll be going over some best practices for doing this, including having your air ducts cleaned using a commercial air duct cleaning service like Preferred Hood & Duct. Continue reading “Everything You Need to Know About Indoor Air Quality for Offices”