ALLIANCE NEWS - NEWSLETTER 24 - Alliance Environmental
June 30, 2022

ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 24

Written by createape

The month of June is over, and half the year has gone by. Summer is here and we are preparing for a scorching season. Because of the holiday, a record number of traveling is expected over the next week – but we mustn’t forget that June is traditionally acknowledged as National Safety month. As always, Alliance Environmental Group prioritizes safety for all our clients and employees across various job sites.

On behalf of Alliance Environmental Group, we wish you a Happy 4th of July.

In this edition, we focus on a variety of topics. We start with the need for a mutual relationship between air duct cleaning technicians and HVAC mechanical contractors to improve indoor air quality. Working together provides the perfect opportunity for a relationship that is beneficial for both parties. Second, we cover how trauma from a crime scene requires professional assistance – mainly, due to the sensitive and graphic nature of the situation. Having to handle the situation with empathy requires the proper training and experience. Alliance Environmental Group’s biohazard division know exactly how to handle these jobs.

Third, we focus on how Mintie has once again outdone themselves by bringing on a dynamic new product that allows for full containment. External ducting can be a thing of the past because of this new product. It can make healthcare facility engineers and commercial facility directors breathe at ease. Fourth, we move on to the issue of how students on-campus have enough to deal with when making sure they are set up for success. The don’t need to worry about dangerous toxins and hazardous materials, like mold, that could pose a potential health hazard. Lastly, we round up this edition highlighting the recent findings from Orkin about cities that have made the list of the top drywood termite cities in the US. Alliance Environmental Group’s Team Heat division provides a solution for pest control companies.

Air Duct Cleaning Specialists for HVAC Mechanical Contractors – By Airtek Indoor Air Solutions

When mechanical contractors are working on HVAC systems, professional air duct cleaners should also be called. Working together will help create the best maintenance plan for customers.

Because the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system must be cleaned regularly, maintenance plans should include multiple individuals to tackle tasks all around. While a mechanical contractor completes the repairs and replacements, an air duct cleaning specialist can be performing a duct cleaning for optimal maintenance.

New Homes
Before moving into a new home, the HVAC and ducts should be cleaned. All though mechanical contractors are hired to put the new system in many contractors are in an out of the home during the building process. From painters to drywallers and carpenters there may be sawdust, metal filings, and other potentially hazardous materials in the HVAC system’s ducts. HVAC ducts should be cleaned, prior to moving in, to ensure that the HVAC system is functioning at capacity.

Buying a Preowned Home
When purchasing a preowned home, mechanical contractors may be required to help complete any repairs on the HVAC system. This process could involve removing and replacing parts of the ducts, fans, or the furnace or the AC unit itself. Professionals specializing in air duct and HVAC cleaning should be working alongside the contractors on this project.

Even if no repair or contractor services are required, an air duct specialist should still complete the cleaning. New owners may not know the last time that the air ducts and HVAC system were cleaned. The previous tenants may have had pets or smoked in the home. The last tenants may also have neglected the regular air duct cleaning schedule. It would be good for real estate agents to have contact information for air duct cleaners in their network to refer to their clients.

Often Should an HVAC System Be Cleaned?
A home HVAC system should be cleaned every three years, depending on factors such as pets, location (potential wildfire smoke), and the tenants’ habits. An HVAC system’s components should be repaired or replaced every 10 to 15 years.

Property managers and homeowners should hire air duct cleaners that work alongside mechanical contractors and vice versa. Proper cleaning will make it easier to determine how well the HVAC system is functioning. With clean air ducts, it will be easier for the mechanical contractor to find and repair leaks and ensure that all the seals are working. When the air duct is clean, the fans are more visible and accessible, too; then, it can be determined if they need to be repaired or replaced.

Air duct cleaning specialists can also find and remediate issues such as mold, fungi, etc., while the system is undergoing other repairs. Having all of this done simultaneously just makes sense – and saves money.

Signs That Your HVAC System Needs to Be Cleaned, Repaired, or Replaced
There are some crucial signs that indicate an HVAC system needs maintenance. For example, one of the most common times to replace the ducts is when the furnace is replaced.

Other signs include:

  • Vents and ducts are clogged with dust and debris. The vents and ducts are fixed with a professional cleaning.
  • Mold or mildew is present. Depending on the amount and the type of fungi, this may require cleaning or replacement.
  • Unstable air flow in the home. A professional cleaning can help get the air flowing. If there still is a concern with the airflow, a mechanical contractor may be needed to repair or replace the HVAC system.
  • Your heating and cooling costs have increased. A professional cleaning can help the system work more efficiently. However, if there is damage to the pipes or leaks, a contractor is needed.
  • Any time there are significant repairs to the home, duct cleaning should be completed. During remodeling, there can be additional pollutants that will affect the HVAC.

The Benefits of a Collaborative Approach
Hiring a professional air duct cleaner and mechanical contractor for maintenance together:

  • Proper cleaning and ensuring no leaks are found will decrease allergens that are flowing into the home.
  • Working with professional HVAC cleaners and mechanical contractors will increase the life of the HVAC system.
  • Performing minor repairs can be less expensive than replacing the entire system.
  • Proper cleaning and maintenance will also help reduce the cost of energy. A clean, maintained system will use less power and be able to regulate the temperature efficiently.

In Summary
An HVAC system needs to be cleaned every three years and replaced every 5 to 15 years. Whenever any maintenance is done on the HVAC system with a mechanical contractor, an air duct cleaning professional should also be brought in. Working in conjunction with each other will produce the best outcome. A cleaning will provide a clear and accurate look at the system allowing the contractor to determine the best route for any repairs or replacements that need to be done.

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Introducing Mintie, LLC’s Whisper Clean HEPA Air Diffuser – By Mintie Product

The USA-Made Whisper Clean HEPA Air Diffuser is a secondary air filtration system easily attached to negative air machines. It can be used in level 3 containment jobs in healthcare facilities where the external exhaust is not an option. The Whisper Clean HEPA Air Diffuser makes it safe to exhaust into occupied areas using gentle diffusion – removing the intense blast of air that negative air machines typically exhaust. It can also be used in hazardous material removal jobs in abatement, remediation, or any other contained project with similar challenges. This multi-use product can be used in almost any location, from medical facilities to commercial and residential jobs.

The HEPA diffuser filter is rated at 2,256 CFM 99.99% at 0.30 micron; wow! This secondary HEPA filtration provides an extra layer of protection during dust-rich projects and infection control situations in health care facilities. In addition, it helps deliver more ACH and manage the large volume of project exhaust when maintaining negative pressure.

Other benefits include

  • Reducing energy loss by not exhausting conditioned air outside
  • Eliminating having to remove a window for exhaust and breaching the building envelope
  • Reducing the decibel level of the negative air machine exhaust by more than 20%
  • Attached are wheels for easy portability and relocation
  • Why route yards upon yards of flex ducting through a building to reach a window or door when you can softly exhaust in the same room where the job is being done?

Contact a Mintie, LLC representative to learn more and try this diffuser!

Student Health Changes – The Link Could be Mold, By Alliance Environmental Group

Mold, hiding inside walls and ceilings of public buildings, especially schools, is more common than previously thought. This is because it is often difficult to detect and sometimes not taken care of quickly enough.

In a California school district, respiratory issues were becoming all too common in students. Parents reported asthma flair-ups and migraines as common reasons for their child being absent from school. Doctors in the community chalked these cases up to being caused by the grind of day-to-day life (i.e., stress from being back at school, auto-immune responses from suddenly being exposed to all those people again, puberty). It turns out they were wrong.

Out of sight, out of mind
One day, someone reported a mold spot in the school cafeteria. The investigations that followed were jaw-dropping. Most buildings on campus had, to some degree, been contaminated with mold. Often, it showed up behind drywall, above ceiling tiles, or under floorboards. Subsequent airborne mold tests revealed that there were, in fact, high mold concentrations in the air of many of the contaminated buildings.

How could something like this happen? Safety inspections conducted on these sites should catch things like this before they get out of control. Mold can be notoriously difficult to detect.

Mold is a species of fungi. It is not uncommon for fungi to thrive in dark conditions. What often happens is that, in the event of a leaky pipe, for example, moisture can collect inside ceilings and walls. Because organic components are usually present in most building materials (i.e., wood), the mold spores now have a food source they can feed on as they multiply. Unfortunately, these onset mold colonies tend to go unnoticed because many state-sanctioned inspection protocols rely on visual evidence only. This means that an annual walk-through by a professional inspector may fail to generate any proof of mold because it is not visible in plain sight.

Mold takes flight: airborne particles
Adverse health effects tend to show up once the colony of spores because airborne. Typically, they release spores into the surrounding air, where the building’s occupants inhale them. The higher the concentration of spores in the parent colony, the higher the concentration that is airborne. The greater the presence of airborne spores, the greater the likelihood of people inhaling them. In this case, the airborne mold was exacerbating inflammatory conditions like asthma and causing respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.

Time to update the protocols
At this point, the solution seems somewhat apparent – if the mold cannot be seen upon visual inspection, and the problem is ultimately one of airborne contamination, why not simply test the air for mold spores? Parents and school administrators posed this question to local and state authorities. They responded by emphasizing their reluctance to use air quality tests because such tests are expensive and difficult to interpret. This line of thinking might also explain why California, to date, has no formal minimum thresholds for airborne air mold levels in schools.

Professional mold abatement companies use many techniques and strategies that go far beyond the efforts of feeble visual inspection. For example, if a test reveals high levels of airborne mold, the next step is to gather samples from the source to determine what specific species of mold is present. This will help determine the most effective remedy to be used. Modern mold remediation has become less dependent on harsh chemicals like bleach and chlorine. Often, heat treatments are enough to eradicate most species of mold. The real trouble is containing the high concentration of airborne spores that come out when a parent colony is exposed during removal.

The use of negative air machines is a must for containing the spread of airborne spores—these work by creating negative air pressure to prevent air movement from one space to another. For example, suppose one classroom, has a higher concentration of spores than other neighboring ones. Instead of sealing off the entire block of rooms, a negative air machine could be used to create a barrier of negative pressure. The negative air pressure would prevent the airborne spores from escaping into the adjacent rooms, making it safe to keep them operational during abatement. Another scenario could be that a specific space everyone uses, like the main foyer near the front doors, could be highly contaminated relative to the rest of the building. In this case, a negative air pressure barrier would be ideal for keeping the rest of the facility operational.

It’s all about the air
As buildings age, the sources for potential mold contamination become countless (i.e., leaky plumbing, condensation on windowsills, faulty roofing, dirty HVAC coils). Unfortunately, most of these are impossible to detect from a visual inspection until they have advanced. In the long run, the most economical preventative strategy would be to test the air for mold spores at regular intervals. However, if a particular room or zone tests high, there is no need to think that the whole building will need to be vacant during the remediation process. The benefit of containment structures and negative air machines can keep everyone else safe while the toxic mold is removed. Maybe more school districts in California should consider adopting this kind of strategy instead of relying on visual inspections and acting surprised when the air in their buildings is toxic.

Contact Alliance Environmental Group to provide an estimate for your school’s mold remediation needs today.

The Importance of Proper Crime Scene Cleanup – By Alliance Environmental Group

Crime scenes are televised weekly, especially on popular police shows. These shows rarely depict the actual damage a crime scene can do or how important it is to properly clean up after a crime has been committed++. Crime scene cleanup is not for the faint of heart. Services can range from cleaning up meth labs to cleaning up after a homicide. It takes a special kind of person not only to deal with a crime scene physically but psychologically as well. Crime scene cleanup must be done by trained professionals as soon as law enforcement allows. Any cleanup must be done by those who are appropriately trained and equipped.

Investigations Must Be Completed Before Crime Scene Cleanup Begins
Whether a property owner is doing the cleanup themselves (not recommended) or is hiring a crime scene cleanup specialist to do it for them, the task should be started as soon as possible. Ideally, the building owner should contact a crime scene cleanup contractor as soon as an investigation has started. Professional crime scene cleanup specialists work with police to ensure a crime scene is not contaminated, and investigations are unobstructed. This means, through their coordination with the police, they won’t start the cleanup process until the investigation is complete and the police are done with the scene.

Following Strict Cleanup Procedures
Crime scene cleanup is a messy ordeal – the proper cleanup must be done carefully. A professional has a straightforward process when it comes to cleaning up after a crime. It starts when they are given the go-ahead to begin cleaning up after the on-scene investigation has concluded. Sticking to strict processes can ensure the cleanup is done as quickly and safely as possible. Biohazards are the most significant issue regarding crime scene cleanup. Cross-contamination must be avoided at all times. Proper safety processes must always be strictly adhered to.

Proper Biohazard Cleanup
Biohazards are one of the most significant issues with crime scenes. Crime scenes are rarely safe environments, especially when a drug lab or murder victim is involved. Meth labs, in particular, are dangerous to clean up and often contain more drugs than just meth. However, there are often other hazardous chemicals from the meth-making process that makes leaving anything behind a danger to future occupants of that building.

Additionally, any crime scene that includes blood must be handled with excellent care. Any blood or fluid that has come out of a body, especially when left on floors, walls, furniture, etc., for hours, days, or weeks is considered a biohazard and must be treated with extreme caution. Also, one could not know on the spot if the victim had an exceptionally infectious disease, so it must always be handled and disposed of as if it were dangerous.

Mitigating Structural Damage
Blood, bodily fluids, and other substances related to a crime scene can highly damage surfaces they touch, especially if they are not cleaned up quickly. Blood can seep deep into floors or walls and must be cleaned up quickly, otherwise, it could lead to permanent structural damage or the buildup of dangerous black mold.

Fully trained crime scene cleanup professionals know which surfaces are porous and which ones are not. They also know where to look for even the smallest amount of blood or bodily fluid so they can remove the fluid thoroughly or dispose of the materials that cannot be salvaged. Messy crime scenes that are not properly cleaned up can lead to significant health issues later, from black mold buildup from liquids staying too long or spreading infectious diseases through the air or rodents.

Dealing with crime scenes can be horrible for everybody involved. To properly deal with a crime scene cleanup, a professional service should be called to prevent future health and structural issues. The cost of prompt and effective professional cleanup is worth it.

Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Phoenix on Orkin’s Top 50 Termite Cities
According to Orkin, Los Angeles has claimed the number one seat in this year’s Top 50 Termites Cities list (released in March 2022), followed by San Diego (11), San Francisco (15), and Phoenix (25). The list is based on treatment data from where Orkin performed the most first-time customer termite treatments. The ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments.
Although dry wood termites typically swarm in the summer, they can cause damage during any season. Drywood termites make themselves home in the exposed wood of buildings, furniture, and other areas with wood. They are often referred to as “silent destroyers” because they can be present for years, eating away at structures without being spotted. To prevent extensive structural damage, it is recommended that homeowners and facility managers get a professional to conduct inspections.

Signs of a termite infestation:

  • Wood that is supposed to be solid sounds hollow
  • Visible swarms (easily missed because they only occur once or twice a year)
  • Termite droppings and discarded wings

How to prevent a termite infestation:

  • Store scrap wood and other wood materials at least 20 feet away from structures
  • Seal cracks and crevices to prevent entryways
  • Routinely inspect for termites
  • Use treated wood for new construction projects and renovations

Alliance Environmental Group’s Team Heat helps pest control companies with preventative measures and provides resolutions to current issues in both commercial and residential properties. Team Heat uses a non-chemical, non-toxic heating process to introduce clean, dry heat into a structure to eliminate dry wood termites. Our technicians are on-site for the entire job and gradually increase the temperature. They maintain the temperature between 140 and 150 degrees for 1.5 hours to ensure a complete kill.

Let Alliance Environmental Group’s Team Heat help your company tackle those troublesome pests and help relieve the property owner and prevent them in the future.

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Striving for Total Client Satisfaction

Our water damage experience-First a quarter done!! Alliance completed their part of my journey to home recovery. I was so happy and surprised how fast they took care of things. I was referred to Jeremy Rudolph through Service Masters and my Farmers agent as part of a list of who to contact for recovery and abatement. We were very pleased with the speed and accuracy they used to identify and eradicate any possibility of asbestos in our home. They were extremely professional and quick. Jeremy was very responsive and professional. I would recommend Jeremy and his services to my friends, family and Yelpers alike! Thank you Jeremy. Let’s pray our contractor is just as good!!! Mitch – Allaboutdafood R.

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