Moldy Oldies – Time for Immediate Remediation?

When the New Paltz, NY planning and zoning secretary went into the basement of the town hall she expected to return with a handful of old records. Instead, a massive colony of black mold sent her running back upstairs with a constricted throat and red eyes.

iStock_000011868916SmallNow town officials are trying to decide if it’s worth remediating the facility or if it’s time for total destruction. But could this problem have been avoided?

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The 7 Tasks You Should Expect From Your Air Duct Cleaning Company

The EPA recommends cleaning air ducts whenever there is a rodent/insect infestation, mold growth, or if the ducts are clogged with dust and debris.

iStock_000019880307SmallAirborne particles can be released from dirty ducts and contaminate a HVAC system, or if moisture gets into the system mold can grow, and mold spores may be released into the air. In those situations, it’s crucial to have your facility’s ducts cleaned.

Dirty ducts can become a breeding ground for mold spores, bacteria and other particles, which can lead to poor indoor air quality.

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Top 3 Ways to Prevent Common Building Materials From Causing Asthma

Asthma rates continue to rise despite the asthma control strategies facilities managers put in place, which are mostly in the form of indoor air quality control programs.

Asthma InhalersIn fact, 26 million people suffer from chronic asthma, 8 million of whom are children, according to a report from the Healthy Building Network (HBN).

Currently there is very little focus on preventing chemical exposure that’s linked to causing asthma. Various health organizations have identified several chemicals known to cause the onset of asthma, labeling them asthmagens. But HBN says more strategies need to be in place to prevent the asthma epidemic.

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4 Ways To Improve Winter IAQ

Poor indoor air quality becomes a much bigger issue during the winter months, primarily because we spend a great deal of time indoors with the windows tightly closed.

Business peopleAnd that means that any indoor pollutants have less chance of escaping and have a better chance of irritating building occupants.

Because 30% of the commercial buildings in the US already have poor IAQ issues, during the winter months occupants are even more likely to suffer the ill effects of exposure – including respiratory issues and allergies – to indoor pollutants.

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News You Need To Know: ASHRAE’s New Indoor Air Quality Standards

We at the Goodway Just Venting blog want to keep you “in the know” about all the developments in the industry, especially when there are new regulations that could affect your facility’s operations.

walkwayIn late October, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), announced its newly published 2013 version of indoor air quality standards. As most in the industry know, ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is recognized as an international society dedicated to indoor environment control technology in the HVAC industry.

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How To Hire an IAQ Professional

In most cases, facility managers are capable of handling indoor air quality (IAQ) problems, particularly if they are adequately trained.

washingBut because poor IAQ can have such a profound effect on occupant health and comfort, it’s important to call in outside professional help in certain cases to make sure the problem is properly investigated and mitigated.

In general, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends calling in a professional indoor air quality consultant in the following cases:

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HVAC System Safety: Top 5 Questions You Should Be Asking

Let’s face it, HVAC systems are complex. Their various connected parts can harbor nasty biological contaminants including mold, mildew, viruses, bacteria and the droppings from rodents, cockroaches or other pests.

iStock_000008948452SmallJust as a HVAC system can spread air, it can spread contaminants. Even bacteria and viruses such as measles, influenza, tuberculosis and Legionella, which are transmitted via air, can flow through a HVAC system.

We’ve also addressed the security of HVAC systems, explaining that they are susceptible to accidental or biological chemical threats in our blog post, HVAC Security: Is Your Facility Prepared?

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Could Your School Have a Mold Problem?

In August, officials at Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School closed four areas of the building due to a mold infestation.

iStock_000006261763SmallExcessive rain over the summer caused mold problems at the school, and testing confirmed that four areas of the building contained low levels of mold spores.

In order to protect the students and employees at the school (and to ease the concerns of parents), a crew was called in to clean the areas. School officials determined those rooms would not be re-opened until further testing indicated the areas were safe.

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HEPA Filters: Why They Matter

The fact is: HEPA filters matter. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are used for a number of reasons including to control allergens and microbes in hospitals and laboratories, in sensitive manufacturing facilities and in facilities that need to be protected from agents of bioterrorism.

Busy doctors prepering surgeryFor a filter to carry the name “HEPA” it must meet certain guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Energy. The most basic guideline for a filter to qualify as a HEPA filter is that it must remove 99.97% of all contaminants from the air that are at least .3 microns in diameter.

A micron is 1 millionth of a meter. To give you an idea just how small a micron is, consider that a human hair is about 100 microns wide. A tobacco smoke particle is usually between .01 to 1 micron, and most bacteria particles fall in the .35 to 10 micron range.

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IAQ and Facility Management: HVAC Cleanliness and Selecting Filters

In an HVAC system, the first line of defense in protecting building occupants against indoor air pollutants is an air filter.

Industrial filterToday, facility managers are under increased pressure to provide clean air. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can cause serious infections as well as lung cancer and lung disease such as asthma, according to the American Lung Association.

The association says if the air quality is poor, building occupants may also suffer from symptoms such as nasal congestion, headaches, dry eyes, nausea and fatigue.

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