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!

Why Is Mold Potentially Dangerous?

December 17th, 2014

Mold develops in a home when mold spores, which can travel through the air doing little harm for the most part, meet an area with a lot of moisture. This allows it to grow rapidly until it poses a threat to your health. With too many mold spores in the air, some people may begin to feel ill and it could even lead to some major renovations in the future. Mold is a dangerous occurrence in homes, so you should seek the services of trained contractors for remediation at the first sign of trouble.

First, mold can affect people with specific sensitivities. Asthma sufferers and those with allergies will be the most obviously afflicted, with frequent wheezing, irritation, itchiness, soreness, coughing and sneezing. People prone to lung infections or chronic lung illnesses may have a severe reaction or an additional infection. Additionally, those with immune disorders can have serious health issues with mold exposure.

But mold can cause health issues in people who were previously healthy. It may lead to a respiratory tract infection or persistent coughing and wheezing and can develop into something much worse. You see, your body cannot function correctly when the air in unclean, which is why some researchers have linked the spread of mold to depression.

There are a few things you can do to try and prevent mold from growing indoors. Be sure there is no carpeting in moist areas like the bathroom or basement and replace carpeting in the home after a flood. Do what you can to keep the home properly ventilated. Run the air conditioner on humid days and be sure to have it regularly maintained for proper dehumidification.

But most importantly, you should call a contractor for mold removal in Wellington for the safest remediation techniques. Mold usually hides away from view, but professionals have the right tools to detect mold behind walls, in corners, underneath carpet, and atop of air conditioning equipment. At Envirotech Air Quality Services, we use infrared diagnostic imaging to find mold and water leaks or wet spots that may lead to mold growth. We’ll make sure not only to help you get rid of the mold but also to keep it from returning again. Give us a call immediately when you spot the signs of excess moisture.

When Is the Best Time to Schedule Duct Cleaning?

December 10th, 2014

When it’s time for an intense home cleaning session in your house, you can reach most of the hidden nooks and crannies with a step ladder, an extendible dusting wand, and a little bit of patience. And while you may believe you can take care of the most problematic areas of your house for dust and debris buildup, cleaning the ductwork is a bit more difficult than, say, dusting a ceiling fan or wiping off the top of a bookshelf.

Duct cleaning is a service that should be left to professionals, for several reasons. First, it’s vital to have clean ductwork since you breathe in the air that circulates through these ducts every day. And with professional duct cleaning, allergy and asthma symptoms may be reduced and you could immediately notice the difference in your air quality. But, an amateur job can leave much to be desired, as you can miss some key portions of ducts. Plus, most homeowners don’t have access to materials that will completely and safely target all types of pollutants. Besides having non-toxic materials at their disposal, experts also know how to clean in such a way that even the most delicate flexible ducts won’t suffer damage.

Professional duct cleaning is important not only for the quality of your air, but also for the longevity of your heating and air conditioning system. A layer of dust in the ducts means your AC or heater has to work a bit harder, resulting in higher energy bills. Although professional duct cleaning has so many important roles, it’s clearly not a job to be done every week. So how do you know it’s time to schedule duct cleaning in West Palm Beach?

It’s hard to tell when your ducts are in need of a thorough cleaning. But most experts recommend that your ducts get cleaned once or twice a year—especially if you run your home HVAC system frequently. Professional duct cleaning involves the use of professional-grade vacuums and cleaning agents to ensure the job is done properly and that any type of contaminant cannot survive in the ducts.

Contact Envirotech Air Quality Services to make sure your duct cleaning in West Palm Beach is completed properly and safely. Give us a call now!

Are There Ways I Can Take Care of Duct Cleaning on My Own?

December 3rd, 2014

If you’re worried about the air quality in your home, one of the best things you can do to improve conditions indoors is to clean out the ducts. There may be contaminants hiding in the lining of the ductwork used to condition the air in your home that are making you ill. With professional duct cleaning, dust, pollen, dander, bacteria, and even mold gets cleared from the ducts so that you won’t have to breathe in these harmful contaminants every day. And while it may seem as though you can do some duct cleaning on your own, this isn’t always safe for the ducts, and you may simply be unable to eliminate most of the pollutants you’d like to.

One of the key reasons to choose professionals for the job is that they have the right tools for the job. The items professionals use for duct cleaning include soft brushes and vacuums that are safe even for delicate flexible ductwork. The powerful vacuums create negative pressure in the ducts so that debris loosens from the duct lining. Another reason to choose professionals for duct cleaning is that many of the contaminants you want out of your home aren’t visible to the naked eye. Though you may try to access the ducts and scrub debris free, you may miss portions of bacteria or spores that are particularly harmful to the lungs. And technicians never use cleaning chemicals that are unsafe to breathe in.

Besides, with professional duct cleaning, your technician can even let you know if there are any leaks or cracks in the ducts that require immediate repair. When there are leaks in the ducts, your air conditioner or heater simply cannot run as efficiently as it is meant to. Instead, you continue to spend money on energy costs to cool or heat an unoccupied area of the house, such as an attic or crawlspace. This causes your unit to become overworked and could lead to repairs or premature failure. If technicians find a leak during inspection, they can let you know so that you can schedule the proper services as soon as possible.

Envirotech Air Quality Services offers duct cleaning in West Palm Beach with professional tools and expertise to make sure the job is done right. Give our office a call today!

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Envirotech Air Quality Services, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!