What Are the Steps of Mold Remediation?

February 25th, 2015

Of course, you do everything in your power to keep your family healthy. Unfortunately, sometimes problems exist which are difficult to detect that could allow mold to develop. This could include a leak in your pipes or moisture in the ducts. Other times, a sudden disaster leads to flooding, in which case mold remediation services are necessary. If you suspect a mold problem, call a technician for mold remediation. Experts can help you decide on the best plan of attack for mold remediation in West Palm Beach. Learn about the steps of this process in today’s post, and call Envirotech Air Quality Services at the first sign of a mold problem.

Inspection

The first step of mold remediation is evaluating your situation. The technician will inspect every portion of your home using special equipment that helps to alert them when moisture and mold could be near. Mold remediation specialists are trained to handle this type of equipment for optimal safety.

Removal

Removing the mold is a complex process that will require time, planning, and a careful approach. A lot of different tools exist for the remediation process, and the type of tool your technician uses will depend on the level of damage. Chemicals may be used, as well as air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, and sanitizers. It’s up to the technician to decide which will work best for your situation.

Prevention

A quality technician will not simply end the job after removing the mold from your home. Additional steps must be taken so that you can prevent the possibility of mold growth in the future. The technicians should work with you to find a new installation or services that can keep mold from getting out of hand. For example, your technician may recommend a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air, regular plumbing services to keep plumbing leaks from happening again, or offer tips and services for ventilating your home.

Call us today at Envirotech Air Quality Services for mold remediation in West Palm Beach. We’ll do everything we can to help you find ways to prevent mold from reoccurring in the future.

What Kinds of Contaminants Are In Your Ducts?

February 16th, 2015

An air filter comes standard in any forced-air (ducted) heating and/or air conditioning system. However, filters cannot possibly keep every contaminant out of the ducts. Most home air filters have a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of about 1-6, even though the MERV scale goes up to 12 (these filters are usually reserved for commercial buildings). These typical home air filters can only remove certain sizes and amounts of contaminants from the air and may not do anything for common allergens like pollen and mold spores.

If there are contaminants in your duct system, they could do more harm than you think. Many pollutants are most dangerous to those with severe allergies, asthma, and immune system conditions. But some particles can be just as harmful to those with minor allergies or no preexisting conditions at all.

Duct cleaning is a service that can help to eliminate several different types of particles that could be hazardous to household members and guests, including these ones.

  • Bacteria – Certain bacteria may be particularly dangerous to people with immune system disorders. Other bacteria may irritate even those household members with no preexisting conditions at all.
  • Dust Particles – Layers of dust may form along the inside of the ducts, even though you have a good filter in place. And this layer of dust may contain pollen or pet dander—even if you don’t currently have any pets at all.
  • Mold Spores – Mold spores float through the air and may settle in the ducts and develop if there is excessive moisture. Mold is one of the most common irritants, but you may need to schedule additional mold removal services if the problem is too serious.

Your technician may recommend additional HVAC components and services to help control the indoor air quality in the future. This includes UV germicidal light installation to kill microorganisms on the indoor air handler, or electronic air cleaners that work with the HVAC system to eliminate contaminants from the air throughout the home.

At Envirotech Air Quality Services, we install a variety of indoor air quality systems for residents in Wellington and comprehensive duct cleaning to remove a number of contaminants that may plague your home. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Envirotech Air hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

The Main Benefits of Air Conditioning Maintenance

February 4th, 2015

Because the winter season in Florida is short, it’s never too early in the new year to start considering arranging for air conditioning maintenance. Right now, during a period when you won’t need to have the AC running regularly, is an excellent time to contact Envirotech Air Quality Services and arrange for one of our technicians to provide your air conditioning system with a thorough inspection and tune-up. We offer a preventive maintenance program that will take care of both heating and air conditioning maintenance in Lake Worth, FL each year so that you are ready for the weather—no matter what it is.

Air conditioning maintenance brings with it a number of important benefits. Here are three of the main benefits to consider when you are thinking of enrolling in a preventive maintenance program.

  • Extended service lifespan: Your air conditioner has a manufacturer’s estimated lifespan, usually marked on the cabinet. However, the AC won’t reach that point without help from routine maintenance. The stress of running on a regular basis will cause the air conditioner to wear down rapidly and fail years before it should. Needing to replace the entire air conditioning system is the biggest “repair” you may need to schedule, so make sure that you don’t have to retire your AC until you absolutely must by keeping up with yearly maintenance from experienced technicians.
  • Fewer repairs: Here’s a statistic that will clarify how much money you can save through regular maintenance: 85% of the repairs that an AC can typically need are fully preventable thanks to regular maintenance services. At each maintenance visit, the technician will spot places where repairs may eventually be necessary and take care of the cleanings and adjustments that will prevent them from happening. The reduction in wear and tear will also eliminate later repair worries.
  • More efficient performance: The accumulation of dust and dirt along AC components and the filter will cause the system to start to work harder than it should to supply you with cool air. For each year that an AC misses regular maintenance, it will suffer a 5% drop in its efficiency. So in only four years you could be paying 20% more on your cooling bills. On the other hand, thanks to regular maintenance, your air conditioner could stay at 95% of its original efficiency thanks to maintenance.

Call Envirotech Air Quality Services today and ask about our heating and air conditioning maintenance program in Lake Worth, FL. Along with bi-annual maintenance visits, you will also receive a 10% discount on repair parts for signing up.

Do You Have Hidden Mold in Your Home?

January 29th, 2015

Mold is a sneaky little organism. Most of the time, you don’t know it’s there until you smell it, and if you are smelling it, you already have some mold growth somewhere in your home. One of the many problems with mold is that it doesn’t like sunlight; in fact, the UV rays in sunlight can kill mold, so it prefers to grow in the cool, dark places of your home. While your sense of smell may be able to guide you to the general area of an outbreak, pinpointing the exact area of mold growth(s) can be a challenge. And unless you know where the mold is, you can’t remove it. Hiring professionals for mold removal service in Wellington, like the ones at Envirotech Air Quality Services, means that you’ll get the benefit of professional expertise, knowledge and equipment for any mold problems you may have, so call us today!

Where Mold Likes to Hide

Mold can grow in a variety of places – all it needs is moisture and food. Food for mold can be anything from paper products to plastic, and once it starts it has to be totally removed for the growth to stop. Here are some of the places where mold can be found:

  • Behind wallpaper
  • On the backs of ceiling tiles
  • On drywall
  • Paneling
  • Underneath carpets
  • Around pipes
  • In ductwork
  • On roofing materials
  • In and around furniture

Tools Used to Find Mold

There are a few key tools experts use to help them pinpoint mold locations:

  • Infrared scanning – infrared scanners map areas by thermal heat; since mold grows in moist, cool places, infrared can easily detect and map these places out, pinpointing the areas of moisture where mold is likely to grow.
  • Moisture meters – once an area of moisture appears on the infrared, technicians can use moisture meters to get a firm reading on an area’s moisture level. A moisture meter has a probe that can be pressed into a spot or against a spot to measure the moisture.
  • Borescope – a borescope is a fiber optic probe that can “see” on the other side of a wall. A small hole is drilled into the wall or surface to allow the borescope access. This technique allows the technician to see if there is any mold growth on the inside of a wall without causing damage.

If you suspect mold may have made its way into your home, call Envirotech Air Quality Services and schedule an appointment with one of our mold removal experts today!

Mold Remediation FAQ: Is Mold Always Unhealthy?

January 20th, 2015

Mold in homes has been making headlines for quite a while, and there is reason to be concerned with any mold growth inside your home. At the very least, mold can be a huge agitation, especially to those who suffer from allergies. But in some cases, the mold can actually be toxic and cause more serious problems. The bottom line is that mold in a home is never a good thing, and if you have a lot of it, it’s time to consider mold remediation service in Lake Worth.

Why It Happens

Mold requires moisture and cool temperatures to grow. It doesn’t necessarily need it to be dark, but it does prefer shade. Mold can grow easily in a wide range of places and types of material, including:

  • All kinds of cloth products
  • Paper products
  • Fibrous tiles, such as ceiling tiles
  • Carpet
  • Wood products
  • Paint products
  • In dust
  • Drywall
  • Insulation
  • Ductwork

Mold is invasive; in order to stop it from growing, you have to remove the moldy item completely.

What Is “Black Mold”?

Black mold has become the common name for mold that is toxic, i.e., contains an element called mycotoxins. The first thing to know about mold that contains mycotoxins is that it isn’t always black, and as such, it can’t be identified by color alone. The only way to know if the mold in your home contains mycotoxins is to have it tested. You can certainly have the mold tested as part of your mold removal, but the bottom line is that any mold should be removed, not just the kind that has mycotoxins.

Mold Remediation

If the mold growth in your home covers more than 10 square feet, it is recommended by the EPA that you remediate the problem with a professional. Any mold remediation specialist should be trained in the removal of mold according to the standards set by the EPA in the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH) in addition to any local and regional standards. If the growth is less than 10 square feet, a professional may be able to clean it, but cleaning doesn’t always remove the proteins of the mold, which can lead to another infestation.

If you are seeing or smelling excessive mold growth in your home, call the experts at Envirotech Air Quality Services today. We’ve been helping customers since 1987, and we can help you determine where your mold problem is coming from and remediate it as needed.

When Should I Consider Air Conditioning Maintenance?

January 13th, 2015

Air conditioners are built to last between ten and twenty years, similar to most other home heating and cooling systems. Just like those other systems, however, air conditioners need regular maintenance to survive for that long. Most homeowners tend to neglect their air conditioning systems until they develop some kind of issue that requires professional attention. This is a mistake. Let’s examine when you should consider air conditioning maintenance, and why.

Spring Maintenance

Traditionally, the best time to conduct maintenance on your air conditioning system is shortly before you plan to start using it more often. Air conditioners get the most use during the summer, so spring is the usual time to conduct annual maintenance. The logic behind this is that your air conditioner is more likely to break down under the strain of heavier usage. If you give it a tune-up right before that season of heavy usage starts, you’re substantially lessening the likelihood of a breakdown during the summer.

Conducting such maintenance at least once a year is necessary to maintain the health of your system. If you neglect annual maintenance, or wait until later in the year, you are running an increased risk of having your air conditioner break down under the stress. This happens all the time during the summer, leading to an increased demand for HVAC repair. Unfortunately for you, that might mean that if your system fails you’ll have to wait several days for a technician to be available. In the middle of summer, having no air conditioning is not a very pleasant thought.

On a Case-by-Case Basis

Though annual maintenance is a very important part of lengthening your air conditioner’s lifespan, it is important to call for maintenance as needed. If you notice any sort of problem with your air conditioner, do not wait for annual maintenance. Instead, be sure to call for a professional HVAC technician any time your air conditioner is acting strangely. That way, you can avoid a breakdown and save some money.

If you haven’t scheduled your annual air conditioner maintenance yet, call Envirotech Air Quality Services. We provide quality air conditioning maintenance in the Wellington area.

What Is AC Preventive Maintenance?

January 6th, 2015

Any mechanical device that works on a regular basis requires maintenance to keep it working in top condition and to ensure a long service life. Cars are usually the first machine that comes to mind when people think of routine maintenance. But consider how much you run the air conditioner in your home during a year: with the long warm season in Florida, an AC can do much more work than a car over a 12 month period. Regular maintenance is a necessity if you want your home’s cooling system to enjoy a lengthy life with few expensive repairs.

To sign up for a maintenance program from professionals, call Envirotech Air Quality Services today. We offer AC preventive maintenance in West Palm Beach, FL. The service also includes annual maintenance for your heating system.

The importance of preventive maintenance

There are multiple benefits of scheduling annual maintenance inspections and tune-ups for an AC, but there are three primary ones:

  • Prevent future repairs: This is where the “preventive” part comes in. During a maintenance session, a technician will look over the air conditioner to locate places where wear and tear are affecting the system and could possibly cause future repair troubles. The technician will take care of the cleaning, tune-ups, and adjustments that will lower the chance of malfunctions. Approximately 85% of the repair needs in air conditioners are preventable thanks to regular maintenance, so you can expect to have an almost trouble-free cooling system if you keep up with inspections every year.
  • Extend service life: An air conditioner that receives no regular care will start to age rapidly and eventually break down long before the end of its manufacturer’s estimated lifespan. Maintenance will see that the deteriorating effects of time work slowly on your home’s air conditioner so that you receive the most years possible out of your initial investment in it.
  • Maintain energy efficiency: An air conditioner in poor operating shape will suffer from mechanical stress that will make it drain additional power in order to run. On average, for each year that an AC goes without a regular inspection and tune-up it will lose 5% of its energy efficiency. So, after only four years, an efficient 16 SEER unit will turn into an inefficient 13 SEER unit—and that means a significant rise in energy bills to keep your home cool.

In most parts of the country, homeowners arrange for air conditioning maintenance during the spring to prepare for the summer. Because Florida experiences hot temperatures around the year, there is no single best time to schedule maintenance—just make sure that you have it done once a year.

If you are behind in AC preventive maintenance in West Palm Beach, FL, call us at Envirotech Air Quality Services and sign up for our maintenance program and we will get you started right away.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Envirotech Air Quality Services hope you have a great start to the year and a, uhm, fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Envirotech Air, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!