createape, Author at Alliance

The HOA & Manager’s Guide to Mold in Apartment Complexes

Winter is here and that means one thing when it comes to mold: it’s time for it to grow and spread. Since mold prefers areas with high humidity and moisture, winter can pose an issue for apartment and condo complexes in particular as it is harder for these spaces to regulate the condensation that happens in individual units. HOAs and property managers need a plan to deal with potential mold growth during the winter.

Here, we’ll discuss:

  • what makes winter an ideal time for mold growth,
  • related issues that can encourage unseen mold growth,
  • steps managers and HOAs can take to be preventative, and
  • how to deal with a mold outbreak if it has already occurred.

The Winter Effect on Mold Growth
There are actually a couple of reasons for increased humidity and condensation in apartment buildings during the winter. First, there is the condensation that occurs on the many windows and HVAC exit vents throughout a building. This can lead to mold growing on windows and other entrances to the building, including balconies. You will likely see this sort of mold growth occur in the window and door frames, where it can grow in the cracks and crevices where people may not see it.

As for HVAC vents, increased condensation occurs where hot air leaving a building meets the cool winter air. This, in turn, can lead to more water in the HVAC system, which could develop a mold outbreak without people noticing, especially if the building does not invest in regular mold inspection or HVAC inspections and maintenance.

The other reason for increased humidity in the winter is simply more water in the air. This can be due to replacing air conditioning, which dries out the air, with heating, which can increase the overall humidity. It can also be the climate itself. If you live in an area that hovers around the freezing mark in the winter, the constant melting and freezing of water can lead to increased indoor humidity.

The Danger of Unattended Spaces in Apartment Complexes
Another factor that can lead to unseen mold proliferation in apartment complexes is spaces that are shut for the winter. These areas are often completely ignored in the wintertime after they have been closed off. As such, condensation and other humidity issues can help mold grow unseen for months. This can mean mold can increase in one area and then potentially spread elsewhere through the HVAC system, which can take in the spores and redistribute them throughout the building. This is why regular inspections of areas closed in winter are essential for preventing mold growth.

What Every HOA & Community Manager Needs to Know
Acceptable mold levels during inspections are usually rated 100 since mold can simply exist in a space. At levels above 800, many professionals will recommend remediation services as mold at this level will likely start to impact the health of those living in the space.

While laws and regulations are different for counties and states, there is often a requirement of landlords to deal with mold issues if they are reported by tenants. This is called the “implied warranty of habitability.” This states that a landlord has a duty to maintain healthy living conditions in their units. Failure to do so can lead to legal consequences.
HOAs need to keep abreast of potential mold outbreaks as well, especially in common areas, even if they are not held responsible for individually-owned units. They will need to understand their legal obligations related to their specific area.

That said, health impacts aren’t the only problem that can come with mold growth in apartment buildings. Mold can also lower rent rates as people don’t want to live in mold-infested areas. The mold itself can also cause damage to a unit, leading to expensive renovations that could have been easily, and cheaply, avoided.

How to Deal with Potential Mold Growth
The best, least expensive and easiest way to deal with mold growth in apartment complexes is to be proactive. This means regular inspections and testing. This should be handled by companies dedicated to mold inspections and remediation, not simply a property management company. This is because mold testing needs to be handled by professionals who can test for mold levels and also recommend preventative maintenance before mold becomes an issue. If it does become an issue, however, or if you already have a mold issue, then it’s time to call for mold remediation experts.

How to Get Rid of a Current Mold Outbreak
If you have an outbreak already, then you will need the help of dedicated, professional mold remediation experts. Mold remediation is the process of safely containing and removing mold from a space. This work must be carried out by experts who understand the necessary health and safety issues that come from the dangerous work of mold removal.

The process usually involves sealing off the area needing remediation. From there, the team will remove the mold. Most of the time, this is done through heat, which will eliminate all of the mold without damaging much of the space and items inside. Once the mold has been completely destroyed through this process, then the team will ensure that it is removed and anything needing replaced is noted and catalogued for future renovations. The team will likely also be able to point to the core issue that caused the mold growth and help you figure out a plan for preventing mold outbreaks in the future.

If you have a mold outbreak in your apartment building or condo complex, then you will need to call mold remediation experts immediately. The issue will only get worse with time, and it’s imperative that it be dealt with sooner rather than later. It’s the only way to ensure the mold growth doesn’t get worse and will restore the space back to safe and healthy levels.

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Dangers of Lead in Children’s Toys and the Home

Protecting families from health risks is something everybody wants to do, and within many homes, there are still risks of lead poisoning for children and adults alike. Lead has been banned in many household products and children’s toys, but it is still a problem that can affect families.

The holiday season is a big time for families, especially for children looking forward to the toys left by Santa under the tree, and while in 2008 the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) was signed into law and requires toys to be tested for lead before being sold, there are still many toys with lead integrated into them. Then there are also the risks of homes that were built before the 1970s having lead in paints or other parts of the home, so understanding these risks better can help people protect themselves and their children.

Lead and Its Dangers
Lead is an element on the periodic table (Pb) and was commonly used in a lot of materials for the last several centuries. It is a strong, and versatile material, but in the mid-1900s it was discovered that it was very dangerous to the human body. Lead in many forms cannot be properly processed by the body, and often cannot be filtered out, and therefore bioaccumulates over time. The more people are exposed to lead, the more they are affected by it in the form of lead poisoning. Today most aren’t commonly exposed to lead, but there is still a big risk, as even small amounts of lead in children have been found to be very detrimental to their growth.

As lead builds up in the body from whichever source exposes it, it can spread through the body in the bloodstream. Lead poisoning can cause anything from mild headaches at low exposure levels, to organ shutdown at larger exposures. Children when exposed to lead can exhibit behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and anemia. Severe lead poisoning can result in seizures, coma, and death. Pregnant women should also be particularly concerned about lead exposure, as the lead can transfer to the fetus, greatly damaging the viability of the pregnancy and stunting proper fetal development. This means that every family must understand the risks associated with lead, how to detect lead in their home or toys, and to avoid it at all costs.

Lead in Toys
While toys need to be tested for harmful substances as per the 2008 CPSIA, it can still be common for lead to be found within toys today, especially imported, or antique toys. In most cases, the lead used in these toys isn’t actually a hazard to children just touching and playing with them, but as many know, children do have a habit of putting things in their mouth, and this is where it starts to become dangerous. Many plastic toys, especially those that are made of soft plastics that retain their shape, often use lead integrated into the plastic to get that softness, even after the passing of the CPSIA law.

Further risks come when those soft plastics are exposed to sunlight, air, or detergents when cleaning them when the bonds between the plastic and lead break down. This resulted in lead dust forming on the outside of the plastic in the product, and that can expose children to dangerous levels of lead. Lead can also be mixed with metals like tin to form alloys when making children’s toys. Any product found to test too high in lead exposure risks will often be recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), so this should be checked for recalls before giving a child a potentially dangerous toy.

What to Do in Case of Potential Exposure
There are take-home lead testing kits available on the market today, but their ability to detect small amounts of lead is very limited, so only certified testing labs can produce truly accurate results. Most parents rely on CPSC testing and recall. For any parents concerned about potential lead exposure from a toy (particularly imported or antique toys that may fall outside of the CPSC scope), they should remove the toy from the child’s environment immediately. After removing further exposure, they should book an appointment with their child’s primary health care provider and get their opinion on the matter. In most cases, they may order a blood test, as lead can be detected in the blood. This test will give the health care provider the information needed to provide parents with further appropriate follow-up actions.

Further Exposure Risks in Homes for Children and Adults
Older homes in particular can have many exposure points for the lead. Lead-based paint was very common in the early 1900s until about the 1980s when it was banned from household use. While painting on the walls is not a large concern for those in the home if it has been maintained, as soon as it gets damaged it can disperse lead particles into the air and onto high-touch surfaces, making it prime for exposure to adults and children alike. If homeowners are concerned about lead paint, they can call in a lead abatement company to remove the lead after test results showing positive results on lead have been received.

Older water pipes are also a concern for lead, as seen in cities like Flint, MI. Lead pipes went out of style in the mid-1900s, but older homes may still have them. These pipes should be replaced as soon as possible no matter the condition they are in.

Lead can also be found in the soil around homes, but this varies greatly, so homeowners could have their lawns tested for lead content if they are concerned. If lead is found in the soil around a home, then it’s very important to teach children and adults to clean off their boots and shoes before entering a home, to minimize the risk of lead making it into the home. Also, if the property uses well water, it should be tested for lead as well.

Prevention is the Best Method with Lead
While there are ways to help cope with lead exposure, prevention of exposure is always the least damaging and best option. If a homeowner is concerned about lead exposure in their older home, calling in a professional lead abatement company to remove the lead in the home and surrounding soil and water can give them peace of mind that they are doing everything they can to protect their family and themselves from the dangers of lead.

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Your Guide to Prepping Facilities for Winter

When we think of winterizing, we often simply think about preparing for the colder temperatures, ensuring that pipes don’t burst and the like. But proper winterization is about more than inspecting pipes. It’s about improving the heating efficiency in your facilities, increasing safety and workflows, and ensuring that the occupants are comfortable and content throughout the cooler months.

If you own facilities that need to get ready for winter, then you’ve come to the right place. Here is your guide to getting ready, including the importance of removing and replacing old insulation in your attic or crawlspace.

The Importance of Removing Insulation
One of the first things that we recommend anyone do when winterizing a facility is removing old insulation in the attic or crawlspaces. This is absolutely vital for a number of reasons, some of which we will cover later in this article. The two we will focus on here are health and air quality.

While increasingly rare in many states and counties across the United States, asbestos insulation is still in our facilities. In fact, asbestos is still legally allowed to be used in some commercial and industrial environments in the US. While it can be safe if never disturbed, the truth is that asbestos insulation can cause a lot of health issues for people inside the building. Especially if that insulation was blown-in, which means it can be loose and end up floating around.

Asbestos has been linked to a number of health issues, including increased instances of lung disease and lung cancer that can ultimately be fatal. It’s for this reason that you should have any insulation in your attic and crawlspaces removed by professionals who know how to handle asbestos.

The second reason you will want to remove old insulation is air quality. Just as asbestos can get into the air throughout a facility, so can dust, mold and other particles and contaminants that get into the air and lower the overall quality. Mold can also pose certain health risks, and wet or dusty insulation can create a musty smell that can be distracting and intrusive.

Why You Should Replace Your Existing Insulation
Removing old insulation is the first step for winterizing your facilities. The second step is replacing that old insulation with the new. Depending on the type of attics and/or crawlspaces, you may have multiple options for insulation, including blown-in insulation that can easily fill a space and improve your facility’s heating efficiency.

The most immediate benefit to insulation replacement is this increased efficiency, which will likely lower your monthly heating bills. It can also help keep a space cool in the summertime, lowering your air conditioning and cooling expenses as well. So, while we think of insulation as a winterizing tactic, it actually pays for itself year-round.

High-quality insulation replacement doesn’t just replace insulation, either. When you choose professionals, they can also offer additional services while they replace insulation that can improve efficiencies. These services can include air sealing, sanitization, and deodorizing, all of which can improve the air quality, mood of the occupants, and safety at the same time.

The Costs Associated with Improper Winterizing
There are a number of costs associated with improper winterization, or simply ignoring the important work of preparing for winter. Probably the most obvious is the increased heating costs that you can experience throughout the winter. Next would be emergency repairs needed to fix issues like burst pipes. Since water damage can be extremely expensive, it’s always better to perform preventative maintenance through inspections and turning off outside water when it isn’t required.

The major cost that can potentially result from failing to winterize, however, is related to safety. Things like fire routes being blocked, slippery surfaces, and other issues can all arise, putting people at risk while increasing your liability. It’s always better to properly prepare for the cooler months to keep people safe and avoid these potential costs.

Other Important Tips for Winterizing Your Facilities
Once you have removed and replaced all of your insulation, it’s time to look at other ways to winterize your facilities. Here are just a few tips that we recommend that can lower your monthly bills while keeping people safe and comfortable.

Take a look at your outside grounds and make sure that your sprinkler faucets and outside faucets are shut off. This will reduce the chances of pipes bursting during the colder months, especially if the area experiences unexpected cold snaps.

Look at all of your doors and windows. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones is a great way to reduce heating and cooling costs. Window frames and door frames also tend to leak, so sealing them can control heat, humidity, and cold.

Your roof could be an issue as well. Have someone inspect your roof for potential damage, such as storm damage, tree damage, or signs of excess moss or mold. Repairing this damage can help improve overall safety and ensure your roof is doing its part in helping insulate the facilities.

Pipes can burst in the winter, especially if you experience cold snaps. Be sure to check pipes inside and outdoors for any that need new insulation or could potentially burst. At the same time, make sure your fire pumps are working properly as well.

Housekeeping is also important in prepping for the winter. Since summer activities can use spaces differently, ensuring everything is stored safely can improve access and increase safety.
This is especially true for facilities that can accidentally have emergency exits blocked with stuff that isn’t used during the season.

Preparing for winter is key to ensuring that your facilities are ready for the cooler weather. Not only does proper winterization help lower monthly utility bills, it can also increase safety and leave you with happier employees and visitors. Of course, the major key to any winterization strategy is removing and replacing old insulation, especially in attics and crawlspaces. Once that insulation is brand new, you may experience noticeable and immediate benefits, both at your facilities and in your wallet.

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Understanding Asbestos Risks During Winter Renovations

The holiday and winter seasons are a great time to get together with family and friends, however, it is also a great time to get some home renovations done while off from work. These renovations are often small, but they can still come with risks if working on an older home that could contain asbestos.

Asbestos was a very common building material in the mid-20th century and was found in almost every home due to its versatility, strength, and fire-retardant properties. Although it was eventually banned in the 1980s, it can still be found in homes today, specifically those that haven’t been fully renovated since before the 80s, or where asbestos materials have been left undisturbed.

Home renovators need to be vigilant when they work on an older part of their home and need to understand the asbestos risks that could be hidden in their homes.

How is Asbestos in Homes Dangerous
Asbestos is a natural fibrous material, and when it is undisturbed and undamaged poses no immediate risk, but the moment it is damaged it becomes a major health hazard. Damaged asbestos can release microfibers into the air, and these fibers, when inhaled, cause major damage to the throat and lungs, with a high risk of forming cancers. Lung cancer such as mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity, while asbestosis is when the lungs themselves become scarred with fibrous materials.

While cancers have been more successfully treated these days, they are still major health events in a person’s life; a small amount of asbestos can greatly increase the risk of cancer. Another issue is that once inhaled, the fibers don’t just go away; so even if cancer or other health problems don’t appear right away, they can develop 20 or 30 years after exposure.

This means, it’s very important when working on home renovations that you remain aware of the asbestos risks, be vigilant, and rely on professionals to detect and remove asbestos.

Where Homeowners Can Find Asbestos While Renovating
There are numerous areas in the home where asbestos can be found, as it was a widespread material, being used in almost every aspect of homebuilding.

Lab testing is one of the best ways to be able to identify what materials contain asbestos. Asbestos in its natural form can be white, green, blue, or brown, but as soon as it’s processed and embedded into a building material, its identifying markers become harder to note, especially when mixed with plastics or cement that look similar. The following are some common exposure points for asbestos during renovations.

Attic Renovation
Attics were commonly insulated with asbestos-containing materials due to the fire retardation properties, often in the form of either fiber-bearing materials or vermiculite. If asbestos insulation is disturbed, even when just shoveling into a bag, the asbestos can get into the air, easily spreading through adjoining rooms, or into the HVAC system.

Asbestos in Drywall
Asbestos fire retardation, and sturdy material properties, meant that drywall used in homes before the 1980s often included asbestos. Any removal of drywall will release asbestos into the air unless kept completely wet or if negative air pressure is used in the rooms. Anyone working around asbestos, even when these precautions are taken, must be in full-body PPE suits. Even holes drilled into asbestos drywall can release dangerous particles.

Vinyl Floor Tiling
Older vinyl floor tiling commonly installed in homes in the 1950s almost always contained at least some amount of asbestos, and scraping up tiles can result in damaged tiles, and asbestos releasing into the air.

Popcorn Ceilings
A popular style of ceiling that has fallen out of style years ago can also contain small amounts of asbestos that become airborne particles when scraped off. Even when you are using goggles and a respirator, this asbestos can be dangerous as it spreads onto parts of the room or into an HVAC system.

Pipe Insulation
Asbestos was an excellent insulator, so older pipes in older homes may be wrapped in asbestos insulation. This insulation by now likely is deteriorating anyway, so should be removed as soon as possible by a professional asbestos abatement company.

Roofing, Shingles, Siding
While removing roofing, shingles, and siding, they are likely not going to break during the removal process, but it’s still a risk that shouldn’t be taken by a homeowner. Call a professional.

Other Miscellaneous Exposure Risks
Other areas of concern when renovating from the holidays include cement sheets, millboard, or paper around old furnaces and stoves, soundproofing, door gaskets, patching, and joint compounds, and textured paints.

What Homeowners Should Do About Asbestos?
If a homeowner believes a material they are going to be cutting into could contain asbestos, they should immediately consider it contaminated and have a professional abatement company come in to do a full inspection and produce lab-test certified results. Professionals will know how to safely take samples, and if they find confirmed locations of asbestos, the homeowner can hire them to also safely remove and dispose of the asbestos according to federal, state, and local legislation.

Managing Undamaged Asbestos
There are cases where asbestos can be found in the home undisturbed and undamaged. If the homeowner can avoid damaging asbestos during their renovations, their safest and cheapest option maybe just to leave it alone. However, if there are any signs of wear or damage to any asbestos-containing material it should be removed immediately. While repairing is an option, this would only mean making it harder and more costly to remove later.

Asbestos Abatement – Using Professional Services
Ultimately any homeowner that is considering doing renovations during the holiday seasons, or at any time of the year, should be aware of the risks of asbestos and where it can be found. If they are renovating a part of their home they suspect hasn’t been touched since before the 1980s, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Call in a professional asbestos abatement company to do a certified inspection, and if needed, abatement of the asbestos.

Asbestos is a major health hazard, not just during a renovation, but long afterward if it has contaminated the home’s HVAC system, kids’ toys, kitchen dishes, or anything in the home. Avoid the potential health risks.

Call a professional.

ALLIANCE NEWS – NEWSLETTER 19

December has dawned upon us, and we have entered the final stretch of what can be summarized as a tumultuous year. The holiday season is here, and as we look back on the past year, we can reflect on how we have had to adapt to pandemic life and living in this new normal way of life.

While ’tis the season to be jolly; we must remember not to lose sight of the potential dangers which can prevail over the festive season. December marks Safe Toys and Gifts month and it certainly comes at the right time of the year. During this season, everyone wants to give the gift worth giving, but little do we focus on the implications of the gift to a child, especially if it contains hazardous materials such as lead paint. The first week of December also marks National Influenza Vaccination Week. Flu activity usually increases in October but peaks in December and February. As people move out and about and more mask mandates have been relaxed, there is an increased risk of transmission of the flu, which increases infection, especially to those with weakened immune systems.

In this edition of the newsletter, we commence with the importance of maintaining a safe and clean commercial kitchen. Increased dining out provides a need for food establishments such as fast-food outlets and restaurants to ensure that commercial kitchen hoods are regularly cleaned and maintained. Airtek Indoor Air Solutions can provide proper and efficient service in this regard. For our next story, we move on to the risks of lead paint. As we have become accustomed, lead paint brings about a significant hazardous concern, mainly if the paint contaminates water from a drainage field or a septic tank. As soon as the particles of lead are deposited into the water, there is contamination. Alliance Environmental is an expert in lead abatement and has completed tens of thousands of lead paint removal jobs.

Our next topic of focus shifts towards the need for commercial HVAC systems cleaning and maintenance. Property owners and facilities need to ensure optimal levels of indoor air quality. Mintie, an 80-year-old company, is a leader in commercial indoor air quality solutions and can address any HVAC and IAQ concerns that businesses or property managers may have. Finally, we end off with how air decontamination through air purification can keep patients and healthcare workers within a healthcare environment safe. The impact that Covid-19 and its variants have created has instilled the need for efficient and effective indoor air quality products. Mintie products are leaders in providing global indoor environmental solutions, and the Viruskiller Medi is the ideal choice for any hospital or healthcare institution.

We at Alliance Environmental Group, including all of our subsidiary companies, wish everyone a wonderful festive season.

🎄Happy holidays! 🎁

 

The Importance of Commercial Hood Cleaning and Maintenance
by Airtek Indoor Air Solutions

From restaurants to casinos to stadiums, everywhere there’s a commercial kitchen, there’s a commercial kitchen hood, and that hood is doing the excellent work of keeping the kitchen clean, comfortable, and efficient. Yet, despite the hard work it does every day for kitchens, hoods are often ignored in the regular cleaning and maintenance of a commercial kitchen, much to the detriment of the owners and workers.

Why clean a kitchen hood?
If you pride yourself on a clean and efficient kitchen, then you need to get your hood cleaned and maintained regularly. There are three primary reasons for keeping a well-maintained and clean hood: cleanliness, cost, and safety.

A clean kitchen hood is an essential part of taking airborne grease away from your kitchen and safely outside. When your hood is unclean and poorly maintained, this grease gets trapped and stays in the kitchen, clogging up the hood and filtering back into the workspace. A dirty and poorly maintained hood leads to kitchen grease settling everywhere, making regular cleaning of workstations extra tricky and time-consuming. It also makes the space warmer.

These last two points, extra cleaning and increased temperature in the kitchen, increase costs – and this is before the hood itself has potentially broken down from neglect. By making the kitchen even more difficult to clean, you are paying more for labor costs to do something for longer than it should take. Next, there’s the heat, which will inevitably lead to increased cooling costs to keep the kitchen within a reasonable temperature.

Besides these costs, the actual expenditure of an unclean and poorly-maintained commercial kitchen hood is the cost of repairs and replacement. Hoods are incredibly simple to maintain, but prices increase when they break down or need to be replaced. So it’s much easier to have a professional come for regular cleaning and maintenance than it is to fix a broken hood or replace it entirely.

Finally, there’s the safety issue. Kitchen hoods that get a lot of greases trapped inside are at a greater risk of causing fires. When this happens, your entire business could go up in flames and be a danger to people inside. So instead of risking safety, choose to connect with a trained kitchen hood expert who can help keep your kitchen clean, safe and efficient.

IKECA – setting the standard for kitchen exhaust cleaning
The International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association is a worldwide organization dedicated to certifying and standardizing kitchen hood cleaning. Its members not only represent the best cleaners on the planet, but they are also part of making best practices and procedures the standard and providing the highest level of cleaning to all of their clients.

As proud members of IKECA, we are dedicated to not just following the rules but improving them and setting new standards. We are certified through their programs, meaning you can be confident that you are receiving the best service set by a globally-recognized group.

Conclusion
Kitchen hoods are an essential part of any business, something that needs regular attention and care to work perfectly. While your kitchen team should be cleaning the hood daily, a professional commercial hood cleaner should handle much of the work that needs to be completed. Only the trained professionals can handle the deep cleans and maintenance required to ensure your hood is safe, clean, and keeping your kitchen running as efficiently as possible.

If you own a kitchen and need a regular hood cleaning and maintenance service, Air Tek can help. Our team of IKECA certified cleaners and professionals will perform routine maintenance and cleaning to ensure your commercial hood can do the important work of keeping your kitchen efficient and comfortable.

 

The Legacy of Lead – Toxicity and the Removal and Remediation from Septic Tanks
by Alliance Environmental

Are you noticing a bunch of old paint flaking off of window and door trimmings at one of your company’s older commercial sites? It might be tempting to think you can scrape it off yourself and let the chips go down the drain. The lead paint could be very harmful to the site’s septic system and adjacent drainage fields.

Although it has been banned in the United States since the late 1970s, lead paint is still turning up and contaminating aquifers and groundwater via septic tanks. This type of contamination, which deposits lead in the water, is entirely avoidable using certified commercial lead abatement methods.

Why older paint should be approached with caution
It turns out that all that lead was a problem when we started dissolving large amounts of lead in the water with the rise of indoor plumbing. In rural areas, where septic tanks are widely used, lead poisoning emerged because of unknowingly sketchy disposal practices. For example, suppose you decide to paint your fence one afternoon. When the job is done, you rinse your brushes under the faucet. The lead particulate in the paint does not go away when it travels through the septic tank – all of the organic waste is treated and harmlessly returns into the groundwater. Still, the lead particulate that becomes dissolved with it is far from harmless. In children, lead poisoning can cause intellectual disability and seizures. In adults, it can cause organ failure and death. Much of the dissolved lead particulate remains throughout the water cycle and ends up in the drinking water.

What all of this means is, if you are at a commercial site that is not connected to a significant urban sewage treatment system, and there are bits of lead lying around (maybe in the form of old chipped paint), do not flush any of it down the toilet or drains. You will ultimately be putting lead in the water that residents or livestock will be drinking. Additionally, lead particles can become suspended in the air when one tries to scrape lead paint. If enough of the particulate is inhaled, it will end up in the bloodstream.

How professional commercial led abatement companies can help
Lead abatement is a general process by which all of the lead is physically removed from a site and then taken away for proper disposal at a specially designated waste depot. Many other firms use the highly inferior renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) model. RRP typically does not remove any of the actual lead from the site; it simply coats it in a membrane that prevents it from being dissolved into water. RRP is a much less expensive solution; however, it will deter the asset’s value in the long run.

Having to re-apply the membrane as it wears off over time is another tedious maintenance task that must be monitored and scheduled, often over several periods of employee turnaround. Then there is also the issue of removal and remediation from septic tanks. Some of that lead is always left behind in the tank itself. RRP will not work if this is the case. Only a commercial lead abatement team that adheres to the requirements of the EPA following SDWA criteria should be used for this kind of job.

The main reason why abatement is the most expensive is that lead is notoriously difficult to remove safely. Therefore, the crew members must be protected in air-tight suits at all times. The site itself requires negative air pressure containment structures to prevent the diffusion of lead dust particulate. Regular bloodwork monitoring must be done to ensure no incidence of hazardous exposure. Additionally, landfills are not safe for disposing of lead because the lead will dissolve into the fluids contained in household waste and leach into the adjacent soil. Because its proper disposal must be carried out and managed by professionals, this is another cost-increasing component involved in abatement.

Sometimes doing the most responsible thing involves spending money. At least some people can ensure that no further damage can be done once a person decides to take action. The main thing to do is to be proactive and make the right plans for proper disposal. All of these kinds of damaging events are preventable with a little bit of foresight. And, if something goes seriously wrong on a site with a piece of equipment, do not worry – the professionals are a phone call away. Contact Alliance Environmental for any commercial lead abatement needs.

 

Essential HVAC Services for Your Property or Business
by Mintie Service

 

From routine maintenance to HVAC rehabilitation, Mintie offers high-end indoor air quality services that businesses and property owners need. Here’s a breakdown of what we can do for you.
Many property owners realize that their HVAC systems need to change to meet the new demands of the world. But how does a property owner ensure that their systems meet new standards, running efficiently and keeping them in control of indoor environments? Mintie has solutions and services to help every property and business owner meet the HVAC needs of today.

Here are just a few of the services we offer here at Mintie and how each can help you stay in control of the air quality running through your buildings.

HVAC Rehabilitation
HVAC rehabilitation sounds precise like it is: getting your HVAC system from where it is to where it needs to be. HVAC systems are deeply complicated, but they’re also mechanical systems, meaning they are subject to regular wear and tear. So when things start to break down or run less efficiently, HVAC rehabilitation is required for repairs and to ensure the system is upgraded to meet current needs.

This last part, the upgrading, is what takes HVAC rehabilitation beyond basic repairs and maintenance. As standards for ventilation and HVAC systems change, especially in the past year with the pandemic, many HVAC systems need to be altered to be effective. HVAC rehabilitation can take your current system and retrofit it with the changes it needs for upgraded filtration. That means a better, more efficient HVAC system without completely rebuilding it from the ground up.

HVAC rehabilitation is also vital for reducing the chances of outbreaks and health issues occurring at your business or on your property. To reduce the chances of costly and disruptive building shutdowns instead, ensure that your system is fitted correctly to keep people safe.

HVAC Systems-Cleaning
What’s involved in HVAC systems cleaning? Essentially, a trained technician will use specialized tools to remove any dust, dirt, or particulates that may be lurking inside your HVAC system. The process includes inspecting and replacing filters, cleaning vents and other key spaces, and performing routine inspections on the HVAC system itself to ensure everything is working correctly and no repairs are needed. The technician will also use tools similar to plumbing snakes to clean out debris that may be trapped deep inside your HVAC system.

HVAC cleaning is essential to the inner workings. It not only reduces allergens and other contaminants, but it also is a chance for your system to get a quick inspection. Therefore, the cleaning is key to keeping a space safe and comfortable, especially for those with acute allergies to dust and mites.

Air Handler Refurbishment
This service is about upgrading rather than replacing since air handlers can be a significant financial investment if bought outright. Air handler refurbishment can address any issues by targeting and upgrading a component instead of the entire system.

But first: what is an air handler? If you have ever seen the HVAC system for larger buildings, you have likely seen something that looks like a giant rectangular metal box. This box is the air handler. Essentially, air handlers do what their name implies: they handle air distribution throughout an HVAC system. It consists of a blower, heating/cooling elements, filter racks or chambers, sound attenuators, and dampers, all of which aid in pushing conditioned air where it needs to go.

Air handler refurbishment essentially fixes or upgrades these individual parts for improved efficiency and air distribution in your HVAC system. Mintie can inspect and diagnose potential air handler issues and offer cost-effective solutions to boost and enhance your air handler and help your HVAC system work better.

Duct Insulation
One way that you can improve efficiency in your HVAC system is through duct insulation. Duct insulation can help reduce the costs of heating and cooling almost any space with external ducts or spaces without controlled indoor air environments.

When conditioned air runs through outside or otherwise exposed ducts, the air runs the risk of lowering or raising in temperature beyond what is required. In hotter temperatures, this means your air conditioning units need to work extra hard to keep rooms cool. In cooler temperatures, the opposite happens: heaters work extra hard to keep things comfortable. Duct insulation reduces these issues.

Duct insulation usually involves pinpointing areas where the air temperature is negatively impacted and protecting those vents with fiberglass insulation. Mintie offers customizable insulation to ensure that any duct of any size or shape is completely insulated. The customized duct insulation will help the air in outdoor or exposed ducts keep its preferred temperature more effectively, lowering overall heating and cooling costs while delivering clean and comfortable air to wherever it needs to go.

Your Choice for High-End HVAC Services
Whether you own a business with unique indoor air quality needs, run properties that need upgrading, or need some routine maintenance and cleaning of your HVAC system, Mintie is here to help. Our team of trained and certified HVAC specialists is at the forefront of the latest HVAC technology, and we are well-equipped to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

HVAC systems are the unsung heroes of buildings, and they deserve the attention they need to work effectively and keep the indoor air quality in your spaces clean and comfortable. If you need HVAC services, contact our team today.

 

What Makes Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ so Effective?
by Mintie Products

With the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of new variants such as the Omicron surfacing as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO), the importance of indoor air quality suddenly came to the forefront of many people’s minds as they worried about airborne infections.

Indoor air quality is essential to everybody’s lives, even though most don’t realize the number of pollutants floating around the air in their homes or affecting them every day in the form of allergies, asthmatic symptoms, and even headaches. However, where indoor air quality is of even more importance is in the healthcare industry.

In hospitals and other healthcare facilities, there are often patients who have weakened immune systems for one reason or another. As a result, they become far more susceptible to infections and other ailments that could be picked up from the indoor air or exacerbated by airborne pollutants. While most health facilities have proper air filtration through their central air systems, some need extra filtration for specific rooms, such as isolation rooms or older buildings. The need for improved filtration is where Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ comes in.

Air Purifiers
Before getting to the specifics of Mintie VIRUSKILLER™, it’s essential to know the role air purifiers play in keeping indoor air clean.

Indoor air purifiers generally have a multi-step process by which they intake air, pull out pollutants through one or more steps, and then expel the purified air. Depending on the indoor air purifier quality and the number of steps, you will get a certain level of purification.

Indoor air purifiers most often have a limited space in which they are effective, as constant airflow needs to happen to purify the air fast enough to matter for people in the room.

When indoor purifiers intake air, it will often go through a HEPA filter. HEPA filters have micro-passages that will filter out larger particulates, as well as some VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and allergens. HEPA filters trap contaminants, so they need to be regularly changed out (for some purifiers, this can be as often as every few weeks or every month.) For higher-end purifiers, a UV chamber will usually be included as well, as UV light is a great way to kill organic contaminants, such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. UV light can work quickly, thus not slowing down the flow of air and significantly increasing any air purifier’s effectiveness.

Mintie VIRUSKILLER™
Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ is a high-quality indoor air purification system that is portable and capable of neutralizing airborne pathogens and gathering particulates for large open space areas, up to 100m2 for certain models. Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ Medi is excellent for any healthcare facility, whether needed for common areas or isolation wards. It also has low running costs and is easy to install and maintain, with specific models being able to quickly integrate into negative pressure rooms for uncompromising indoor air filtration.

High-Quality Filtration
Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ has high-quality filters to remove any number of airborne contaminants such as pollens, VOCs, allergens, mold, particulate matter, spores, etc. The filtration section of the purifier has three parts. First, the intake air will be put through a pre-filter to grab the largest of particles. Next, the indoor air will go through a certified HEPA filter that can quickly grab allergens and other smaller particles. Finally, the indoor air gets sent through a carbon filter to capture even more particulates. The filters are easy to replace and should be replaced monthly or after a certain number of active hours; check the manual for specific model recommendations.

Proprietary Technology
Once indoor air has been filtered through the high-quality filtration system, the air is then sent through Mintie VIRUSKILLER’s™ proprietary technology, the reaction chamber. In the reaction chamber are several UV-C lamps, which pump out UV-C rays capable of neutralizing a large number of pathogens, from bacteria and viruses to molds, spores, and even negating certain hazardous vapors and fumes by breaking them apart. UV-C is highly effective because of the amount of energy it outputs. In addition, it gives the molecular bonds of many pathogens and vapors the energy needed to break apart into less harmful base components (which won’t harm patients and may be caught in the purifier’s filters on the next pass through).

Healthcare and Hospital Uses for Indoor Air Purifiers
Indoor air purifiers are a must in healthcare facilities and hospitals. Hospitals are known for housing people with weak immune systems and could be contagious with any number of pathogens. As well, many chemicals, such as cleaners, found in hospitals could be harmful to patients. For example, an indoor air purifier can neutralize the threat before it can harm sensitive patients.
Indoor air purification is a must in any isolation ward, but also in common areas of hospitals. Large waiting rooms can have dozens of people in them, raising the threat level.

Air Purification and Mintie VIRUSKILLER™
With a high-quality indoor air purifier like Mintie VIRUSKILLER™ being deployed at any healthcare facility, doctors, staff, and patients alike can breathe much easier knowing that the indoor air is clean. Dirty air can cause many health issues or complicate health issues already in a patient. Using an indoor air purifier ensures that the best air is available for more speedy recoveries and lower risks to patients and healthcare staff alike.

Striving to Ensure Total Client Satisfaction

“I had a water leak in my mobile home that was misdiagnosed. By the time the actual source was found, I had water damage to my kitchen, dining, and living room areas, and my insurance company was refusing to cover any of it. I called Alliance Environmental (Fresno, Ca. office), hoping that they could help me without costing me my life savings. Branch Manager Brian McGrath answered my call and when he came to assess the damage I knew that I had called the right place. He was so straightforward and truly concerned about US. He gave me invaluable advice on how to get our claim approved and even called the adjustors himself on our behalf. We did get our Claim approved and Brian sent Project Manager Jesus Valenzuela to us. I cannot say enough about the personal service we received from him. He was there for us 24/7, walking us through every detail of the job. Then once their part of the process ended he referred me to a General Contractor who has ALSO been a Godsend. The whole experience with Alliance has been amazing-they are my heroes! They truly go above and beyond and I recommend them with 100% confidence.”
Sandra Nhy

Asbestos Abatement Case Study

The Problem

The Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Cruz, CA was built in 1865, the same year the Civil War ended. It’s been open to worshipers ever since, and is now the oldest building in Santa Cruz County still being used for its original purpose.

However, occupying a historic building sometimes comes at a cost. In 1865, people didn’t know about vitamins, viruses, or x-rays, and they certainly didn’t know that the material they were using to insulate the church and protect it from fire would turn out to be a major health risk.

The roof of the Calvary Episcopal Church contained asbestos, a mineral fiber that occurs naturally in rocks and soils. Asbestos was widely used in construction in the U.S. because of its insulating and fire-retardant properties. However, the inhalation of asbestos fibers has been found to cause serious health issues like lung cancer and mesothelioma. As a result, many uses of asbestos were prohibited in the United States in 1970 as part of the Clean Air Act.

Asbestos isn’t dangerous when it’s sitting still. However, when it becomes dislodged by construction, repairs, or natural disaster, it can become deadly.

For this reason, removing asbestos is extremely difficult. If removal is attempted without taking proper safety measures, work crews and building occupants face serious danger. It’s critical that building owners hire licensed asbestos abatement companies to remove asbestos in order to avoid these risks.

Alliance Does it Right
Alliance Environmental Group is one such licensed asbestos abatement company. Our crews have worked on over 80,000 asbestos removal jobs, and every crew member is educated by OSHA-authorized trainers before they begin working in the field. At our three state-of-the-art training facilities, Alliance technicians learn how to safely remove, handle, and dispose of asbestos.

In May 2018, an Alliance asbestos abatement crew led by Ed Work and Robbie Shepner arrived on site at the Calvary Episcopal Church. Operating in strict accordance with all local, state, and federal laws, the team cleaned out all removable items from the church. Then, Alliance crew members set up a negative air pressure containment area to prevent dislodged particles from escaping the site.

All crew members wore a complete set of personal protective equipment, including an abatement suit, gloves, a mask, goggles, boots, and respiratory protection.

The Results
Alliance work crews spent two weeks removing about 7,000 square feet of asbestos-containing materials from the roof of the church. In total, the process took 372 hours to complete.

Now the Calvary Episcopal Church is asbestos-free. The congregation can breathe easy, knowing that attending their “Little Red Church” is going to be safe and secure for many years to come.

Safely remove asbestos from your building.

Drywood Termite Treatment Case Study

In the summer of 2018, Alliance received a call from Mark Russell with California Termite Solutions representing a homeowner with a property in escrow. The homeowner needed to clear up a termite infestation before the sale could be closed. Looking to complete the sale within days, they did not have time to use a traditional chemical fumigation process that could take up to a week to complete. They needed the problem resolved, fast. That’s where Alliance stepped in.

In the summer of 2018, Alliance received a call from Mark Russell with California Termite Solutions representing a homeowner with a property in escrow. The homeowner needed to clear up a termite infestation before the sale could be closed. Looking to complete the sale within days, they did not have time to use a traditional chemical fumigation process that could take up to a week to complete. They needed the problem resolved, fast. That’s where Alliance stepped in.

The National Pest Management Association estimates that termites cause of $5 billion in property damage annually, most of which is not covered by homeowners’ insurance plans. Termites live in colonies that can range in size from a few thousand to several million, depending on their species. The largest colonies can eat up to a pound of wood per day, which can quickly cause significant damage to the structure of a home or business. A termite colony that goes unchecked can prevent a sale or possibly lead to a building being condemned. Thankfully, termites can be eradicated using a variety of methods. The fastest and most eco-friendly of these methods is heat.

After assessing the property, Alliance determined that the extermination could be executed in just one day. Alliance uses a non-chemical, non-toxic heating process to introduce clean, dry heat into a structure in order to eliminate drywood termites. This process doesn’t reach a temperature that will damage electronics, and it’s specially designed to kill termites, as well as bed bugs, mold, bacteria, and more. The heat level is about equivalent to the inside of a car on a hot summer day.

To perform the termite elimination process, our technicians tented off the structure, then gradually increased the temperature of the site to between 140 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit. The magic number is a wood core temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. To ensure a complete kill of the whole termite colony, our techs maintained the temperature at or above this level for 90 minutes.

Unlike our heat treatment, fumigation works by saturating a building with pesticides until toxic chemicals permeate into the wood in the structure’s frame. This is a time-consuming process. In a situation where traditional fumigation would have taken three days or more to ensure complete colony eradication, Alliance’s non-toxic process got the job done in just eight hours. This quick process relieves some of the inconveniences typically associated with fumigation, such as displacement, loss of revenue, and finding accommodations.

After the procedure, Alliance conducted a thorough investigation of the Johnson Drive property and found no living termites, allowing the sale to move out of escrow and close.

Interested in heat treatment for your termite infestation?

Emergency Abatement Case Study

In summer 2017, Alliance received an emergency debris pick up call. The driver of a diesel truck suddenly suffered a stroke, causing the truck to collide with a two story apartment building. The driver of the truck survived, and luckily there were no injuries to the tenants. However, the debris from the collision had asbestos containing materials and therefore needed to be contained by licensed professionals in order to prevent contamination.

Due to the high velocity of the crash, the building was collapsing. Another third party company was involved in shoring the apartments to support the weight of the structure as it was compromised upon impact. The project took four months to plan, as the shoring company was being trained in asbestos awareness and permits were needed. The project location was on Imperial Highway in Los Angeles County where proper cleanup required shutting down one lane. Due to the high volume of traffic on this highway, coordination with the city and state were a key factor to success.

After the planning was complete, and the project was able to commence, completion time was one full working day. The Alliance team worked side-by-side the shoring company to ensure thorough work in a safe environment and contain any possible contamination. Mini Excavator and boom lifts, along with other large professional equipment, were used to stabilize the structure and preform the asbestos abatement.

The project required ten people on site to perform the work. This was phase one of three phases. The project will continue with soil abatement and clearing any debris in order to move on to phase three for contents inventory and full guts of the interior for both units.

About Alliance Environmental
With more than 75 years of experience, Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. is one of the leading environmental contractors in California. Alliance Environmental provides innovative solutions in the areas of asbestos, lead, and mold abatement; air and HVAC duct cleaning; heat treatment for pest control; structural pasteurization; demolition and emergency response. The company has successfully completed more than 100,000 remediation projects in California and surrounding areas. For more information, go to www.alliance-enviro.com.

Case Study – Actavis | Alliance

Actavis Generics, formerly known as Watson Pharmaceuticals, contacted Airtek Indoor Air Solutions to perform a high-risk, professional air duct cleaning of their facility. Actavis focuses on developing and manufacturing commercialized branded pharmaceuticals, generic and over-the-counter medicines, and biologic products. Due to the toxicity levels and chemicals present, the air duct cleaning process was elevated to an extreme level of safety.

Actavis is a local manufacturer of various types of pharmaceuticals. The process and required level of safety depends upon what type of manufacturing is being done. This particular location of Actavis manufactures birth control pills. During the process, there is powder and other pollutants from active ingredients that become airborne and can create layers of harmful and infectious residue which adheres to ductwork in the buildings. Every year, Actavis shuts down the entire facility for a month to do preventative maintenance work to ensure the high level of health and safety to both employees and the consumer. It is extremely important that equipment and the work areas are thoroughly washed, including methodically cleaning the exhaust and HVAC equipment.

Airtek’s team had to be cleared by the Security Department at Actavis before work could begin. Security carefully checked every piece of equipment and conducted a full safety-debriefing for Airtek. Employees were required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which included a head-to-toe, two-piece, hooded body suit and double gloves. Gloves were doubled to prevent skin contact with any of the chemicals; even a small tear had to be reported immediately and treated. The chemicals at the site are extremely dangerous, especially if they become absorbed into pores or otherwise enter your system. Airtek was provided with Actavis’ list of on-site hazardous substances for identification and the protocol of handling the potentially dangerous chemicals during the cleaning process.

The job was defined by the on-site security staff through a detailed print, complete with start and end location. The scope of the project included thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the numerous exhaust systems throughout the plant.

The professional cleaning process began in the attic of each building where Airtek pre-filtered everything into high-efficiency particulate arrestance (aka HEPA filters). This type of air filter is designed to capture 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3μm (micrometer, one-thousandth of a millimeter, 0.001 mm, or about 0.000039 inch). The team then moved to the lower level of the facility and cleaned from the grills back to the roof. This multi-building facility is equipped with bombproof exhaust systems. There are also multiple piping and CO2 tanks. For these reasons, extreme caution is taken to prevent any flames or sparks. If the damper is triggered, it closes within a second and the CO2 is diffused. All equipment used on the project must be fire retardant and non-explosive, such as static proof vacuum hoses, wands, and brushes. Failure to follow safety protocol around these flammable chemicals could cause serious harm.

 

The Airtek team finished up with a comprehensive cleaning of the exhaust fans on the roof. As part of the clean-up, Airtek ensures that all materials are properly discarded or are turned over to Actavis on-site security for disposal. Anything used is considered hazardous, possibly contaminated and must therefore be removed. Large equipment may be decontaminated, but Actavis security inspects and approves all equipment before it is removed from the site. Due to the complexity of this job, it took a total of four weeks to complete with eight man crews, every day.

By routinely cleaning the exhaust systems, manufacturers such as Actavis, eliminate thousands of chemicals that would otherwise be lingering in the buildings. Airtek is in the profession of safely restoring clean air into a facility to ensure a healthy work environment.

Case Study – Hoarding | Alliance

Hoarding situations can be highly sensitive and, in some cases, present a potential danger or hazard to personal health and safety. In this case, the client had been hoarding for over 20 years. They had been red-tagged by the city code enforcement and fire department, and Alliance Environmental was brought in to clean out the 2-bedroom, 1 bath home. Two years later, the city came back to re-inspect the property and it was red-tagged again. When Alliance Environmental returned, the homeowners warned the technicians that there was a chance of live snakes in the home. After 8 days, the red tag was lifted and the family was allowed back in their home, though the city will conduct several inspections over the coming months to ensure the repairs are taken care of.