Here’s wishing you a wonderful start to 2022 and a prosperous year ahead. With a new year, we are afforded with the opportunity for us to focus on ensuring safety while effectively addressing indoor air quality and the need for us as a community to maintain clean and sanitary environments at home, school, workplace, or business.
In this edition of the newsletter, we focus on making this year an Asbestos-free one. Property managers and homeowners should mitigate the risk of asbestos affecting their surrounding environments. If the asbestos is disturbed, then contacting a professional asbestos removal contractor to perform the correct abatement procedures to ensure this is correctly disposed of should be a matter of priority. With the current surge of covid-19 cases primarily due to the highly infectious transmission of the Omicron variant, air decontamination is essential to ensure minimal risk of exposure. Humidity is a contributing factor to the infection rate from Covid, and the Mintie Viruskiller provides the perfect solution to address this concern.
A new year may bring with it potential risks from commercial fires and one risk that is unseen but potentially hazardous is the danger of fires occurring from commercial dryer ducts that are not cleaned and maintained. Airtek Indoor Air Solutions are experts in commercial dryer vent cleaning and are a preferred contractor to ensure that you have all ducts in a row regarding this service. Lastly, the Western States has experienced excessive rain and snow over the last couple of weeks. One area that has seen a considerable increase in rainfall is Seattle in Washington State. An environmental concern from continual rain is the build-up of mold. Alliance Environmental Group’s newest acquisition Thermatech Northwest is a mold removal and remediation leader across residential and commercial properties.
We hope that this issue provides you with the information and contact details that you may need to ensure yourself an environmentally safe and healthy year ahead.
Make the New Year and Asbestos Free Year
By Alliance Environmental
Property managers, the New Year has just begun. Now is the perfect time to tackle the asbestos health hazard on your property that’s been on the back burner. Almost any home or apartment building constructed before 1986 (when its usage was banned in dwellings) could have asbestos built into it. Commonly, asbestos is found in ceiling structures or attic insulation. While not all asbestos usage presents a danger to inhabitants, it offers a respiratory threat whenever it can be dislodged and filtered into the air as fibers.
Asbestos is a super-material. It doesn’t conduct electricity, is fire-resistant, and withstands structural change when exposed to various chemicals. For many years, it was used widely as a building material. However, scientists have proven that asbestos causes death when humans are exposed to it in large quantities. Therefore, to remove asbestos from your building, there are several methods you can pursue.
Asbestos abatement refers to the legal disposal or thwarting of toxins that pose a health threat to humans. While this often means outright removing the asbestos component, the danger can also be eliminated by enclosing asbestos traces so that loose fibers cannot contaminate the air.
It may be impossible to remove asbestos when the toxin permeates building materials. In such cases, asbestos can be left in place if it is completely sealed off with a polyethylene protective plastic shell.
The procedures used to obstruct or remove asbestos must comply with local and federal guidelines. Asbestos abatement is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Labor, and in some cases, by state and local laws. Often, the smaller agencies have more stringent regulations than the federal agencies.
Improper Abatement Procedures
As several companies in Michigan discovered in 2014, the penalties for not observing proper removal methods are severe.
In Seattle, Washington, two firms claiming to be certified in asbestos abatement were fined heavily and de-certified by the Department of Labor for not following removal guidelines. Washington officials declared that “Removal of asbestos-containing building.
Download a free copy of our Asbestos Removal e-book to learn how to mitigate the liability risks associated with common environmental threats found in residential properties.
How Indoor Humidity May Help the Spread of COVID-19
By Mintie Product
Winter is here, which means many of us are spending more time indoors. With that comes more engagements where people can be at a higher risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. So, how do environmental factors like humidity and temperature affect the spread of the virus indoors? So we walk through some important considerations when thinking about humidity and virus spread, as well as the one piece of hardware you could use to improve your COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategy.
The Impact of Humidity on Virus Spread and Bodily Response
In general, we can break down the impact of humidity into virus spread in two ways: how it promotes virus movement in the air and how humidity impacts our immune system responses. So let’s go through each one in detail.
The Impact of Dry Air on Airborne Virus Movement
As you may know, COVID-19 spreads through droplets in the air, tiny particles of water released that can contain the virus when people breathe or cough. For the most part, the virus tends to travel through larger droplets that settle relatively quickly, which is why social distancing rules have stayed to roughly six feet. It can be enough time for most particles to be released in the air and drop away from being breathed in by another.
Dry air, however, actually causes these larger droplets to break apart and evaporate while they are still in the air. This phenomenon reduces the size of the droplets to “droplet nuclei.” These water droplet particles can stay suspended and spread further in the air. They have also been observed to contain viruses in the past and could continue to spread the COVID-19 virus. In addition, dryer air can help larger water droplets with viruses stay in the air for longer and spread further.
How Humidity Affects our Immune System
The next significant factor in the impact of humidity on the spread of COVID-19 is how humidity affects our ability to fight off the virus, namely, how it impacts our immune system.
Take, for example, our noses. We know that the hair and mucus in our noses are one of the first lines of defense our bodies have. They help to filter and capture droplets and particles before they enter our lungs, and by extension, our circulatory systems and the rest of our bodies. Dry air dries out nasal passages. In turn, the dry air can impact the rate at which viruses are cleared out from our respiratory systems, effectively increasing our susceptibility to infection by viruses.
How Humidity Control Can Help
Humidity control in our indoor environments is key to keeping the temperature and environmental factors at the proper levels to help impact the spread of viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.
Humidity control includes:
– Limit the ability for mold, fungi, and bacteria to grow in an area
– Reduce condensation in a space, which can impact mold growth and create even more humid environments
– Increase overall thermal comfort in the room, letting people be at ease and improve their immune system responses
How Mintie’s VIRUSKILLER™ Can Help Protect a Space from COVID-19
If you are worried about the presence of COVID-19 in your residential, commercial, or industrial space, then Mintie has something that can help: the VIRUSKILLER™ MV103 air purification system. Not simply designed to filter the air and deactivate viruses, it can be a vital part of any COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategy. The VK 103 has been proven and tested to:
– Control airflow to optimize decontamination in the breathing space
– Deactivate viruses and bacteria with unequaled efficiency
– Effectively neutralize noxious gases and larger particles such as dust, dander, and other allergens
Ideally used in large, open spaces such as warehouse floors, communal offices, and hospital wards, it can also be used in conjunction with a positive air pressure attachment to create positive pressure.
Keeping COVID-19 under control takes serious commitment, and that means getting the proper hardware to clean out the indoor air in spaces as an added layer of protection. Contact us today to learn more about our rental pricing if you own an area that could benefit from the VIRUSKILLER™ MV103. We can get you set up with everything you need and save you the significant upfront purchase of the device outright. The Viruskiller lets you get the safety you need today without breaking the bank.
Why it is Dangerous to Neglect your Commercial Dryer Duct
By Airtek Indoor Air Solutions
Are you thinking about going into the hospitality industry? Many existing places have been hit particularly hard by the uncertainties of COVID, and the business landscape is laden with cheap equipment and discounted leasing rates. So before you go buying your appliances at a discount, there are some things to know when it comes to commercial laundry machines.
We have all heard the saying, what goes in must come out. The expression is especially true for commercial laundry systems. Sadly, there is quite a margin of error involved in operating these systems safely. However, there is a common mistake that operators will make when they neglect to get the dryer vents and ducts cleaned.
It’s all about the heat.
A dryer is essentially a self-contained heat chamber. A significant amount of air is blown in to dry all of those linens and clothes effectively and then heated by gas or an electric element. This heat must be vented out of the machine to prevent overheating. With dryers, there is the problem of lint. As the lint collects near the vent, there can be a surplus of heat when the vent gets blocked. If this heat surplus is big enough and goes unattended long enough, it can be disastrous. One sign of trouble is the smell of melting plastic, either inside the drum or on the exterior where the vent is. The worst-case scenario would be full-blown combustion. Because the lint usually has a high cotton content, it is moderately flammable. If there is a large enough quantity of it that becomes tightly packed over the whole surface area of the vent, it will catch fire eventually.
Another culprit is the connection of the ducts to the vent. Sometimes blockages can bypass the vent and occur further down in the ducts away from the machine. The bypassing of the vent is a somewhat better scenario from the standpoint of preventing combustion because the mass of flammable material (the lint) is farther away from the heat source (the heating element). It also helps that the heat is distributed through the surface area. Although the likelihood of a fire is reduced, the problem is somewhat harder to diagnose and handle. For example, locating it and removing the obstruction is straightforward when a vent is clogged. When the blockage is somewhere in the ductwork, it is not always exactly where it is.
What happens when there is a fire
If a dryer vent blockage causes a fire, sometimes the entire dryer will go up in flames. If the fire travels into the ductwork, the whole building can catch fire. Even if the fire is somewhat contained, the noxious fumes from burning rubber, plastics, paint, and other materials will result in the space being vacated and fumigated before it can be occupied again. Depending on the type of damage that the fire inflicts, there may be some electrical work done to get the lights working before the machines can be plugged in again. Upon investigating, if it is determined that a poorly maintained dryer caused the fire with vent or duct blockages, the insurance could be voided.
How the professionals can help
Calling a team of professionals to inspect and maintain commercial dryer vent systems is a good idea. They will have their techniques for removing blockages that will not put your water lines at risk. Instead, they will be able to make recommendations about whether or not there is an alternate route for the dryer ductwork that may be safer. One thing to look for is a contractor that uses compressed air to blow dust and debris from the lint traps, vents, and ducts. The compressing of air is a far more robust method of keeping things clean than relying solely on hands and brushes. The most important thing is to have these inspections and cleanings done regularly. Regular inspections and cleanings are the only way to stay on top of any dangerous blockages and nip them at the bud.
The additional expense of dryer vent inspections may not have factored into your initial business plan, but having them done is undoubtedly better than the alternative of losing everything in a fire. Therefore, additional precautions are one of those essentials to keeping your bottom line healthy in the long run.
Click here to meet the professionals that can keep your dryer ducts clean with emergency and regular maintenance services.
Five New Year Resolutions for Mold Prevention
by Thermatech Northwest
As the New Year has commenced, mold is not likely to be a significant consideration on your list of possible resolutions. However, it should be prioritized in 2022 because mold growth can damage the home and cause serious health consequences. Go ahead and keep your diet goals or your goals for major housekeeping overhauls, but include mold prevention in the mix of things you want to get right in the New Year.
Inspection Risky Spaces
Some areas are more at risk for mold than others, and part of that risk is that they are areas that aren’t used. Having areas of risk means you need to check out your attic and crawl space for mold that can creep in and grow while everyone exists in the home’s livable areas. Also, any moisture areas such as window sills or under the bathroom sink should be inspected. If you catch it in time, cleaning up is much more manageable.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
So many people have humidifiers for winter dryness or diffusers to dispense essential oils, but they neglect to get a dehumidifier to prevent toxic mold growth. Mold needs moisture to survive, and a space with a humidity level of 30 to 50 percent should be a deterrent for mold growth and many other pests that thrive in moist settings. If your pest problem persists, you may want to use companies like Pest Control Experts to see how they can help you with this issue and survey the entire area for any other pests that may have scattered to different places.
Repair Any Cracks
Because mold likes moisture, any foundation or window sill that becomes cracked with age can be an invitation for mold to take residence. Proper maintenance of the home, including repairs, will keep mold and moisture from getting in.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Stagnant air is also the enemy of the household trying to prevent mold because moisture accrues but has no way of escaping. Moisture accruing is often found in attics, basements, and crawl spaces. These spaces should be adequately ventilated to prevent stagnant air that encourages mold to stay.
Handle Mold Appropriately
Lastly, mold should be handled immediately, appropriately, and safely. If the mold grows to an area of over 10 square feet, it is recommended that you call for professional mold removal services. If it is smaller, it must be eradicated. Otherwise, the mold may look like it’s gone until it is given the proper growing conditions to grow again.
Is it over-the-top to make mold prevention a resolution? Absolutely not! It’s a better way to maintain your health and your premises by making sure mold does not have a chance to grow on your personal or commercial property.
Striving to Ensure Total Client Satisfaction
We recently had Alliance Environmental Group out to remove some areas of drywall that contained asbestos. Brian Thomas was very thorough with explaining every step. He was very patient in answering all my questions as this was our first time dealing with this kind of work. His team came out within one day to get the job done. They were also very friendly and neat. They put up containments which were very sturdy for our protection. They used negative pressure to control any debris and finished in a day and a half. We would highly recommend Alliance Environmental Group! Thank You Brian and Team! You were Awesome! Rey and Jessica.