Lights Out: Schools Under Threat From PCBs

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) aren’t good for humans. You probably guessed that by the name – they hardly sound like things you’d want to inhale or ingest.

iStock_000002424978SmallIn fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that PCBs cause cancer in animals and have a large number of toxic effects on humans including damage to the immune, nervous and endocrine systems along with reproductive issues.

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Cheap Natural Gas Fires Up Cogeneration Plant Proponents

In 2006, Koda Energy inked a deal with Minnesota company Rahr Malting Co. to build a power plant that not only generates electricity but captures waste heat created during the process and puts it to use.

iStock_000039111840SmallThese “cogeneration” plants aim for both environmental stewardship and fuel savings, which fluctuate with the price of natural gas.

When the plant got the green light, for example, the price of natural gas was $13 per one million BTU. By 2012, it bottomed out at $2. Is cheap natural gas the start of a slow decline for cogeneration?

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Up in Arms: Legionella Found in Unlikely Places

In 1976, Legionnaires at the Pennsylvania America Legion convention in Philadelphia started to get sick. At first, symptoms seemed identical to those of a typical pneumonia-based lung infection but the disease spread rapidly; over 200 people became ill and several died.

iStock_000043111880SmallThe outbreak prompted the discovery of Legionella, a water-loving and lung-hating bacteria. Mist from contaminated water – possible when showering, using hot tubs or even after prolonged exposure to air conditioning – causes this infection, which results in high fever, hacking cough and muscle aches.

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Descaling in Vessels for Effective Heat Transfer

It’s been a few years since we addressed this topic head-on, which is why we feel it’s necessary to revisit the importance of descaling in ships.

iStock_000006249147SmallShips contain a number of heat exchangers, serving many of the same purposes as HVAC system, refrigeration systems and fresh water systems, to name a few.

When water scale develops on a heat transfer surface, heat transfer is greatly affected, reducing equipment efficiency and increasing energy consumption, which increases operating costs.

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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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Calif. Building Explosion Underscores Need for Explosion-Proof Vacuum

Recently, 11 people were hurt in an explosion and fire in a metal-polishing shop in the Los Angeles area. Two of the 11 were critically injured, with third-degree burns covering 90% of their bodies, according to the Associated Press. Most of the victims suffered smoke inhalation.

iStock_000022063722SmallThe accident occurred at Gorilla’s Polishing Corp. located in La Habra, California. The resulting fire took about 40 minutes to extinguish, with 50 firefighters working to knock down the flames.

A preliminary investigation revealed the explosion was purportedly caused by dust and lint buildup in a duct system, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Scott Miller.

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Top 8 Recommendations for Keeping Your Cooling Tower Clean

It’s time to start thinking about cooling tower maintenance again. The top two reasons we bring up this topic at least yearly is because a dirty cooling tower 1) affects system performance and 2) can affect occupant health.

iStock_000019806827SmallWe often discuss the seriousness of Legionnaires’ disease, and a cooling tower’s role in the transmission of Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria that causes the disease.

You can read more about the reasons for cooling tower maintenance in our post, Cooling Tower Maintenance & Goodway’s Cooling Tower Vacuum.

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How to Hire a Duct Cleaning Company

Previously on the Goodway blog we told you some of the reasons you should clean your facility’s air ducts and how to perform preventive work to keep your air ducts clean.

Engine room engineerBut what happens when despite your best efforts to keep your ducts clean, they still require cleaning and your facility operators don’t have the skills, time or resources necessary to get the job done?

It’s time to call in the professionals. You can find a duct cleaning company by looking in the Yellow Pages for “duct cleaning companies.” You can also consult the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) website for a list of qualified contractors.

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How to Keep Air Ducts Clean

In our blog post, 4 Reasons You Should Clean Your Building’s Air Ducts, we told you that, in general, the EPA doesn’t recommend cleaning air ducts regularly because the agency isn’t sure about the benefits of routine cleaning.

iStock_000005673959SmallStudies have not shown conclusively that duct cleaning prevents health problems or that particle levels within a building increase because of dirty air ducts. Air ducts are just one potential source of particles since pollutants can come from outdoors as well as other indoor sources.

However, the EPA does recommend cleaning air ducts if there is visible mold growth, a rodent/insect infestation, if the ducts are clogged with dust/debris, or if it’s obvious that particles are being released into the air through the building’s registers.

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Legionella Linked to More Death, Illness

Our headline says it all: Legionella, which causes a lung infection called Legionnaires’ disease, is back with a vengeance.

iStock_000026952702SmallProbably one of the worst cases occurred in August when at least six residents of a Reynoldsburg, Ohio retirement community died due to an outbreak of the illness.

During that month, there were 39 cases linked to the retirement community, and those affected included residents, visitors and one employee, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

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