What Are the Most Common Health Concerns Caused By Dirty Ductwork?

Indoor air pollution isn’t just what the outside air brings into the home through open doors and windows. The air inside your home or office includes the daily, monthly, and even annual build-up of dirt, airborne bacteria, and broken down debris from every facet of activity within a given building. Indoor air pollution tends to build up in air ducts, on air filters, and all throughout a ventilation system, which is why it’s so critical to regularly clean your air ducts and replace or clean air filters as necessary.

What respiratory problems and other health concerns can be caused by a dirty ventilation system?

  • Allergies: One of the clearest effect of dirty air duct or air filters is an increase in allergies. Dust and mold spores can build up and spread throughout the entirety of a building, and these hazard can increase give it a greater number of people pet and exposure to the elements outside.
  • Respiratory Infections: Viruses and bacteria can easily spread throughout the air even without direct person to person or hand-to-hand contact. Once these germs enter the ventilation system, they can easily grow and spread due to the dark, warm, and generally undisturbed environment. Mold often likes to grow directly on air filters, especially in damp environment near leaks or moist air. This buildup can lead to it penetrating the air filter or being recycled into the air, making respiratory infections are more common and harder to remove the root cause of.
  • Sinus Infections: Even if indoor air pollution is more dirt and debris than it is viruses and bacteria, the buildup of motes and obstructions in the air will come into contact with your nasal passages every time you breathe. This dirt and debris can inflame your sinuses which can lead to an infection even with the most benign of air particles. Having indoor air pollution of any sort can always increase complications with sensitive sinuses.

Whether you’re sensitive to allergies and sinus infections or simply want to breathe clean air in your home or office, regular cleaning of your air filters and ductwork is essential. Please contact us if you have any questions about the best way to make sure that your air is clean or want to learn more about our air duct cleaning process.

Why hardwood floor cleaning and preservation should be on your to-do list

Why hardwood floor cleaning and preservation should be on your to-do list

 Hardwood floors are not only beautiful and enduring, they add value to your home and compared to other flooring options, such as linoleum and carpet, are longer-lasting.

For most people, a simple sweep or vacuum, along with a damp mop and spot clean is as involved as care gets. It’s true that hardwood is easy to care for, but it’s also important to give it some extra TLC periodically to keep it looking good longer. Wood ages, just like people do. When it’s taken care of, it ages more beautifully. Your wood floors are subject to the elements of humidity, UV rays and of course wear and tear.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning And Preservation

A comprehensive, professional cleaning process will dramatically improve the look of your floor. It’s often surprising how much dirt and debris remains on your floor even when you clean it regularly. 

Not only that, but minor scuffs and scratches dull the surface of the wood, dulling its natural beauty.

The cleaning and preservation process not only removes deep down dirt, it also smooths out those minor imperfections. This is then followed up with a protective coating that keeps your floor safe from the effects of environmental damage.

Your floor will look amazing, but just as importantly, it will be protected and conditioned. When wood isn’t properly protected over time there is a risk of damage that needs repairs or worse yet, replacement.

By regularly maintaining your hardwood floors, you will not only keep them looking beautiful, you’ll keep them longer, saving you thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement.

Your hardwood floors will last longer with professional hardwood cleaning and preservation treatment. Schedule your appointment today.

 

Does the Certification of the Company Cleaning My Air Ducts Matter?

What is NADCA?

NADCA is the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. It is the professional organization for companies engaged in the inspection, cleaning, and restoration of HVAC systems. It provides advocacy, education, certification, standards, and marketing for its members. It maintains an anti-fraud division to uncover and root out both those who falsely claim to be HVAC technicians or vent cleaners, and those vent cleaners who are only pretending to do work.

Why Is That Important?

When done correctly and thoroughly, cleaning and maintaining your HVAC system can be beneficial to your health and to the efficiency of your system. However, there are a lot of scammers who will pretend to do something and leave your system in a mess, or even damage it. When you think about choosing an air vent cleaning company, it is important to find one that is conscientious. But if you are like most people, this is not an area in which you have a lot of experience. How do you find a good provider of cleaning services? That is where NADCA comes in.

Members of NADCA are required to agree with and adhere to professional standards and ethics. Companies that are members of NADCA are required to have at least one NADCA certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialist (someone who has passed the NADCA Certification Examination) on staff, to maintain liability insurance, and to agree to clean according to NADCA standards and comply with the NADCA Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics includes requirements such as being honest and forthright in advertising, providing only necessary and desired services to their customer and not trying to sell them unnecessary services, staying up to date with equipment and training, and doing thorough work.

The United States Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) recommends using NADCA-certified HVAC professionals.

How Do I Find A Certified Company?

The best way to find out if the vent cleaning agency you are considering is a member of NADCA is to go to their website and use the “Find A Professional” tool. Current members in good standing within a particular distance of your search will be listed.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning is NADCA certified and qualified to provide you with excellent care for your HVAC system.

A Healthier Life: The Use of Plant Based Cleaners in the Home

Plant based cleaners are becoming increasingly popular for house cleaning, and for good reason! Whether you’ve transitioned your home to a green-clean home or not, it’s worth knowing that not all plant-based cleaners were created equally. In fact, some still contain harsh and irritating chemicals like alcohol and fake fragrances.

 

At  Alpine Specialty Cleaning  we use Better Life cleaning products, and we’d like to show you why that’s important and what it means for you.

 

Environmental pollution

Green cleaners for house cleaning are safer for the environment as less toxic chemicals end up in landfills, soil, and drinking water for animals. However, even some green cleaners are not biodegradable, safe for marine life, or safe for wildlife – which almost defeats the purpose of green products. Better Life is not only biodegradable and safe for wild and marine life; it’s also packaged using recycled materials that are manufactured using mainly solar power.

 

Dyes, fragrances, and additives

Many green cleaners still use additives that are found in traditional cleaners such as alcohol, dyes, artificial fragrances, sulfates, or other chemicals that may not only be damaging to your respiratory system but are also toxic. This could be dangerous for you, your family, pets, and wildlife. Better Life does not contain any of the ingredients above and is non-toxic for everyone in (and out) of your home.

 

Animal testing

Some green products still test on animals, which is counterintuitive to how one usually thinks of green products. Better Life never tests on animals – so you can rest assured that no animals were harmed for the sake of a clean house.

 

Safer for you and your family

Not only are the Better Life products that we use safe for the environment, animals, and the Earth – they’re also safe for you and your family.

 

Want to find out more about our process? Get in touch with Alpine Specialty Cleaning today to see how we can make your home a healthier, cleaner, and greener place to be.

 

Cleaning Your Dryer Vent Is Important

Cleaning Your Dryer Vent is Important

The vent for your dryer – that tube that goes from your dryer to the outside of your house – is not a thing that we think of cleaning very often. We clean out the dryer lint filter every load, but lint can also build up in the pipe to the outside, and even inside the dryer itself. There are many reasons why this is unsafe.

Risk of Fire

Lint is flammable, dryers run hot, clogged dryers even more so – the buildup could cause a fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 2,900 dryer fires each year, causing 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and 35 million dollars worth of damage. Over a third of those are caused by dirty vents.

Decreased Efficiency

A clog in the dryer vent line can cause your dryer to be less efficient, requiring more time or even more than one cycle to dry clothes. Also, increased cycles and longer cycles cost more money in energy and in wear on the dryer and on the clothing.

Wear to Clothing

Clogged dryers may run hotter, causing more wear and strain on the fabric. Your clothes could wear out faster.

Longer Dryer Life

A dryer that has to work harder to dry clothes, and that runs hotter and longer, wears out faster. Keeping your vents cleaned out increases dryer life.

Mold

Dryers run with a lot of humidity at times. Clogged vents can have difficulty blowing all that moisture outside, and can even hold wet spots and puddles inside. Lint can soak up the humidity and get moldy. Soaked lint also compacts and sticks, and makes the clog worse and more difficult to clear.

It is important to make sure that not only your lint filter but also your dryer vent are clean and clear. As vents often have bends and wrinkles and connections that may not be clear, consider having them professionally cleaned at least once a year.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning specializes in dryer vent cleaning. Please click here: dryer vent cleaning for more information and a free estimate!

Are your shoes making your family sick?

 

We have all heard about the benefits of removing our shoes before entering our homes and perhaps some of you are ahead here because you already implement this strategy. For the rest of us, however, it seems a tedious prospect especially considering how frequently the members of our busy households are coming and going. Perhaps on occasion we even roll our eyes at the ever-vigilant friend that insists everyone remove their shoes before entering. However, if you knew that by taking off your shoes every time you enter you were reducing your home’s bacterial and toxic load significantly, would you consider it?

It turns out that besides the soles of our shoes being inherently gross (because, well, they are shoes), they carry all manner of disgusting stuff. For starters, think of the places your shoes have been throughout the day. Perhaps to the doctor’s or dentist’s office? Maybe to the hospital to visit a friend? Did you use a public restroom or take your dog for a walk? Maybe just through a parking lot on the way to the grocery store? Though the areas you have been throughout the day appear clean, there are countless germs in all of these spaces, to say nothing of bird droppings, dog waste, herbicides, fertilizers, fuel and pesticides, that the soles of our shoes pick up. Researchers at the University of Arizona conducted a study and found on average 421,000 different bacteria on shoes. Specifically, coliform bacteria (from feces) was found on 96% of shoes and E coli on 27%. Some of the bacteria found in the study are responsible for urinary tract and respiratory infections and unfortunately all of these bacteria and toxins transfer to our home’s flooring surfaces. As if this isn’t bad enough, Men’s Health says that carpet already contains about 200,000 bacteria per square inch making it much dirtier than your average toilet seat.

While many of us vacuum our homes frequently, vacuums simply aren’t able to reach the bottom of the carpet where the bacteria can thrive and even feed on the human skin cells, pollen, pet dander, food and dirt from daily living. Every time the kids sit and play or anyone walks on the surface of the carpet, the bacteria (including colonies of E. coli, salmonella and staphylococcus) is disrupted and brought closer to the surface. (Maybe a good time to rethink the 5-second rule?)

What can be done about this biohazard brewing in our homes? Besides leaving those shoes at the door, get your carpets steam cleaned. The University of Arizona researchers found that steam cleaning removes the various types of bacteria described above. (If you are interested in getting those shoes clean, too, they found that washing them in detergent worked.) Men’s Health recommends hiring a company at least once per year to do a deep steam cleaning, though others recommend greater frequency especially if allergies and respiratory disorders are an issue. (It should also be noted that some carpet companies will not honor your warranty unless professional cleaners are hired every 12-18 months, so be sure to check those warranties.)

As you prepare to have those carpets steam cleaned, be sure to hire a company that does not utilize harsh soaps or carbonated chemicals, which can introduce additional toxins to your home. Environmentally savvy companies, like Alpine Specialty Cleaning, use truck-mounted steam cleaners with 100% natural detergents, like BioKleen, providing a safe, non-toxic environment for your family and pets. And don’t limit yourself to just carpet since bacteria can flourish in hard surfaces including tile and grout.

Lastly, what to do about having friends remove their shoes when visiting your newly cleaned home? According to a variety of articles and websites, the leading suggestions are to mention in the invite that shoes aren’t worn in the home so guests can plan accordingly. A few others suggest providing slippers or socks to make guests comfortable.