Carpets and Allergies

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For years I’ve been hearing that allergy sufferers should rip up thier carpets and refinish or install new hardwood floors to rid themselves of allergy problems. That’s not entirely true.

 A number of years ago I was at a seminar regarding indoor air quality and learned some interesting facts about carpets and allergies. Dust is everywhere. We can’t run from it, nor can we hide from it. It all comes down to maintenance.

A study on carpets was done with laser particle counters. They found that when you walk across a carpeted area, significant amounts of dust particles were stirred up at low levels (2-3 feet off the ground.), but the amount of particles that reached a respirable level were significantly lower at higher levels (3-6 feet off the ground.) When they performed the same test on harwood flooring, they found that there were higher particle counts at higher more respirable levels. The lack of carpet allows the dust particles to glide across the floor unrestricted and follow the air currents stirred up from someone walking. The carpet actually acted as a buffer, keeping the dust at a lower level.

Whats the answer then? Maintenance, and more maintenance.  Before you go ripping out your carpet thinking that hardwood is going to eliminate all of your allergy symptoms, have your carpets professionaly cleaned. Not by one of the companies you have a coupon for from the sunday paper, but by a good professional carpet cleaner. Secondly, invest in a good HEPA filtered vacuum for your home. Vacuuming with a good vacuum daily is going to help keep the dust levels down, and hopefully your allergy symptoms. Don’t forget about your drapes, and your furniture. Fabric covered couches hold alot of dust.The same holds true for hardwood floors. Clean those floors daily.

I realize that’s probably the last thing you wanted to hear, but it will help.

As always, I hope I’ve answered some or all of your questions, but if not please feel free to give us a call at 630-776-6326 , visit our facebook page, or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

 

I Want To Get My Air Ducts Cleaned. How Much Should I pay?

We’ve all seen the ad’s in the paper. “Air Duct Cleaning, Whole House for $49.95” Sounds to good to be true? It is, don’t waste your time or your money.

You can’t, I repeat, You Can’t Get Your Air Ducts Properly Cleaned for $49.95. Unfortunately there are contractors out there that put out these ad’s just to get in the door. Once there, they will have all these up charges and get that bill 10 – 20 times higher than the original $49.95. Don’t fall for it.

Air ducts were not designed to be cleaned, therefore, air duct cleaning is a very labor intensive process, and usually takes anywhere from 4-8 man hours to complete depending on the size of the house. After fuel, vehicle insurance, business liability insurance, labor, and all other costs associated with running a business, there doesn leave any room for profit. So as you can see, no company can send one or two technicians to your home and clean your air ducts for $49.95.  Remember, you get what you pay for!

So how much should you pay? Well, in the Chicagoland area, I’ve noticed that most of us good contractors charge around $400.00 for an average home. That’s not to say that a contractor charging $400.00 is a good contractor. You still have to do your due diligence and research the contractor you hire. Stay as far away from the “Blow & Go” contractors as possible.

If it is a matter of affordability, save your money and have the air ducts cleaned when you can afford a good contractor. A poor air duct cleaning can actually make the system worse than before it was cleaned.

As always, I hope I’ve answered some or all of your questions, but if not please feel free to give us a call at 630-776-6326 , visit our Facebook page, or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

Air Duct Cleaning For Fall Allergies and Asthma

Fall is probably the most popular time of the year to have your air ducts cleaned if you live in the northern part of the United States. Why? you ask. Let me explain. In the months between summer and fall when the temperatures are mild, and the system isn’t running, dust settles inside the air ducts and inside the furnace. When the furnace is turned on for the first time, any dust that has settled on the heat exchangers inside the furnace burn off, emitting a burnt smell. l call it a burnt toaster smell. It is very normal. It is also the reason you should have your furnace checked out annually by a licensed heating contractor. The dust that settles in the air ducts gets stirred up as well, and blows back into the living space. Now if you don’t suffer from allergies or asthma, this is usually no big deal, but for people with allergies to dust and asthmatics, this can be a problem.

Here are some things to know if you are planning to have the air ducts in your home cleaned. No matter how clean you keep your home, dust is everywhere. Dust settles in carpet, upholstery, and drapes. Dust is also emitted from unsealed concrete. The biggest culprit is the dust that settles on top of the air ducts. That’s right, on top of the ducts. If you live in a home that is 50 years old, you have 50 years of dust on top of the duct’s. There is no escaping it. You could have it cleaned prior to having your ducts cleaned, and that may help a little, but you’ll never get it all. If you have a finished basement with drywall ceilings dust can also migrate out of the light fixtures while cleaning is in progress. There is no escaping it.

So what can you do? Well for starters, plan for it. If you have severe allergies or asthma, you’re probably used to dealing with it by now. Here are some ideas to help alleviate the symptoms.

  1. Have the tops of the ducts cleaned before you have the duct cleaner come out to clean. Most cleaning services will do this.
  2. Make sure the air duct cleaner that you choose uses H.E.P.A filtered vacuum equipment. The EPA found in a study that HEPA filtered equipment will lower particulate levels in the home after it was cleaned. Gasoline operated equipment will raise particulate levels.
  3. Have your carpets and upholstery cleaned the day after the duct cleaners have finished.
  4. Have the home cleaned thoroughly after.
  5. Use good furnace filters. Cheap fiberglass filters are only 5% efficient.
  6. Run the furnace fan constantly for 24-48 hours after the ducts were cleaned. This will help filter the fine particulate that was stirred up during the cleaning process.
  7. Be prepared to spend the night at a friend or family members house. This is for the extreme sufferer.

I had a client years ago that told me she had bad allergies and that she was sneezing at least 80 times a day in her home. The afternoon after we cleaned, she told me she felt worse. The next day she said she only sneezed about 20 times, and on the third day only sneezed 3 times the entire day. Duct cleaning does work, you just have to understand how.

You also have to understand that air ducts weren’t designed with so much as a thought to ever cleaning them. Therefore it makes our job a little tougher. Air duct cleaning is only a small part of indoor air quality. Don’t forget about the carpets, upholstery, or the drapes.

As always, I hope I’ve answered some or all of your questions, but if not please feel free to give us a call at 630-776-6326 , visit our Facebook page, or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

Dryer Vent Cleaning For Fire Prevention Week October 9-15

Well this week is Fire Prevention Week. Did you know that during 2006, an estimated 17,700 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines resulted in 15 civilian deaths, 360 civilian injuries and $194 million in direct property damage. That’s pretty amazing when you stop and think about it. Home fires are something we take for granted every day. The sad part is no one stops to think what they can do to prevent them. Some times the answers are simple.

Fact; The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is the failure to clean them. Pretty simple solution to avoid a catastrophe wouldn’t you say.

The great news is, there is a national organization whose website has all the information you will need to help you prevent a disaster. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a great web site to aid you in preventing fires. The NFPA has information on every thing you need to know about safe guarding your home from fire. They even have guides to help you teach your children. Go to http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=1203&itemID=28255&URL=Safety%20Information/Fire%20Prevention%20Week/Fast%20facts%20about%20fire&cookie%5Ftest=1

Like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared”

As always, I hope I have answered some of the questions you might have, but if not, feel free to call us at 630-776-6326 , visit our Facebook page, or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

Contractor reviews on the internet. Good or Bad? Part 2 Writing Reviews

In the last article, I talked about reading reviews of contractors on the internet. In part 2, I want to talk about the importance of writing reviews, good and bad ones.

This article started out today with a post on Facebook from a friend of mine that got taken for a ride by a large and well known garage builder in the Chicagoland area. Unfortunately her story is all too familiar. I won’t bother you with the troubles she had, but what she did about them.

After having numerous problems with the contractor, and getting nowhere, she did what most people would do. She wrote a bad review about the contractor on one of the many sites they post themselves on. Today, she received a threatening letter from the contractor’s attorney telling her to remove the post or she would be sued. I was livid when I read her post.  I told her to leave it.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of unscrupulous contractors in this world, and there always will be. But we have gotten better at identifying them. Reviews on the internet are just on way to do so. My friend has every right, no, DUTY to write a review, and so do you. Here’s why they are important.

From a contractor stand point, I want people to read what a good job I’ve done for my customers. Now having said that, What if I get a bad review? Well no one wants a bad review under their company heading, but if I had taken care of my customer, I wouldn’t have one in the first place. If I’m going to post myself on an internet site that takes reviews, I had better be prepared for the consequences. Bad reviews are just as important to the consumer as they are for the contractor. Now bad reviews don’t necessarily mean the contractor is a bad one, it simply means they have a dissatisfied customer.  No contractor is perfect. I’ve made mistakes in my business, but it’s what the contractor does to correct the problem that makes the difference.

Now here is some advice if you are going to write an unfavorable review on someone. Assuming you have tried every means available to let the contractor resolve the problem.

  • Keep a clear head when you write it. You don’t want to come off as a crazy person, or a complainer. Keep your review factual and to the point.
  • Keep it professional. Remember, you want the person reading the review to look at it objectively, but also want them to understand what really happened. Reviews written in anger don’t carry as much weight as one’s written with a calm head.
  • Write down what you would have liked the company to do to correct the problem. Sometimes conflict can be solved when the two parties step back and cool off.

Don’t be intimidated by threatening letters from attorneys. If you’ve kept your review professional, and haven’t slandered the contractor you’re writing about, you’ve done nothing wrong. Big companies that have the money to advertise on the television have deep pockets. They have attorneys on retainer to send letters to scare you. Don’t fold, you’re doing the right thing.

Remember, writing a review helps a good contractor see flaws he may not be aware of. More importantly, it helps future consumers avoid problems with the bad companies. It’s your right, so write!

Now on to the brighter side of reviews. Don’t forget to write the good ones. They are every bit as important as the bad ones. Good reviews do help consumers make important decisions. Pay it forward and help the next person out. More importantly, help the contractor out that just did great work for you.  Our best form of advertising is referrals. Contractors spend a large amount of money to get their names out there. But our best customers come from referrals, and good reviews. Imagine if you were a contractor. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one of your customers write a rave review about you? Now when writing a good review, go crazy, show your excitement. People want to read glowing reviews. No one will think you’re crazy, they’ll just think you’re one very happy customer.

I hope I have answered some of the questions you might have, but if not, feel free to call us at 630-776-6326 , visit our Facebook page, or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

Contractor reviews on the internet. Good or Bad? Part 1 Reading Reviews

 The internet is a wonderful place for both consumers and contractors alike when it comes to reviews that are posted on sites like Yelp, Merchant Circle, or Angie’s list. Should you trust them? Should you write them? Are they really worth it?

You’re getting ready to hire a contractor, so you do what any well educated person does these days, you do your due diligence and research them on the internet. Sites like Yelp, or Merchant Circle, or Angie’s List are great resources to check out the contractor you’re thinking of hiring. But can you trust the reviews? For the most part yes, but let me explain.

First off, you have to understand the sites, and why they are developed, and who they are designed to help. Sites like Yelp, Merchant Circle and similar sites are one stop shops for consumers to find businesses in their community. Much like the “Yellow Pages” of days gone by. Although they are meant to help consumers, they are designed to generate revenue from the contractors who advertise with them. They are usually free to contractors that post a basic add, but the hope is to get contractors to upgrade to different programs so they will noticed easier. It’s the same internet game all over again. I am registered with roughly 6 or 7 different sites, and I don’t pay a dime for any of them. Angie’s List on the other hand was developed with the consumer in mind. The consumer is the one that pays to be a member of Angie’s List. Contractors can’t buy their way into Angie’s List. However, once a member writes a review about a contractor, Angie’s List then tries to get the contractor to join. Basically we have to be invited in.

Now having explained the basic premise of the different sites, let me explain what this means to you as a consumer. First off, anyone can write a review on sites like Yelp and Merchant Circle. In other words, I could literally write my own reviews and have friends post them on those sites. Do I? No, I have morals. But I’m sure others do, so be careful and don’t rely entirely on reviews. Ask for references of previous customers. Call them. Remember, Due Diligence!

Now as for Angie’s List, they’re a little different. Remember, you have to be a member of Angie’s List to write a review. Now just because members write the reviews doesn’t mean an innovative contractor can’t manipulate the system. In theory, I could pay my friends and family members to sign up and have them write reviews. But in the grand scheme of things, it would cost too much money. Again, I have morals. I think overall, Angie’s List is on the up and up and should be regarded as a valuable tool when researching contractors.

Remember, Do your due diligence!

In part 2 of this article, I’m going to talk about writing reviews, good or bad ones, and why they are important to you and I.

I hope I have answered some of the questions you might have, but if not, feel free to call us at 630-776-6326 , visit our Facebook page, or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

If I Had My Air Ducts Cleaned,Do I Still need my furnace checked this fall?

A lot of customers ask me when I’m cleaning their air ducts if they really need to have an HVAC company check their furnace when I’m finished. The answer is YES!. Even though most duct cleaners say they clean the furnace as part of their service, most air duct cleaning companies are not licensed mechanical contractors, and ultimately don’t have the skill set to check the furnace to make sure the system is functioning properly. Heating and conditioning contractors check the components of the furnace to make sure that everything is working within the proper parameters. Most importantly, they will check for cracks in the heat exchanger to ensure that your furnace isn’t leaking carbon monoxide into your home.

One last point. Always ask your contractor exactly what services they are going to perform. Don’t assume!

I hope I have answered some of the questions you might have, but if not, feel free to call us at 630-776-6326 , visit our Facebook page, or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

How to find a good air duct cleaner.

Are you thinking of getting your air ducts cleaned? Where do you start? How do you know if they are a good reputable company?

I hate to say this of my own industry, but most duct cleaners are either poorly trained, if at all, or they are simply scam artists. It’s a buyer beware market. So be careful, and ask a lot of questions. Without going into a full description of the process and tools, I’ll give you a brief explanation of the process and then tell you what to look for when selecting a contractor.

Air duct cleaning is usually done by connecting a large vacuum to the duct system and placing the ducts under a negative pressure or vacuum so that when the technician runs the tools through the ducts and dislodge the dirt, the dirt gets sucked back to the vacuum and collected. Mechanical brushes and high pressure compressed air whip systems are the most popular cleaning tools used today. A single furnace home can take anywhere from 3-5 man hours to clean depending on the size of the home.

Some of the less reputable companies may shove a regular vacuum hoses down the ducts, or use lawn and leaf blowers to blow into the vents, and they are gone in 45 minutes to an hour. We refer to contractors like this as “Blow and Go” cleaners. They are usually the ones that offer very low pricing. In my industry, low pricing always means poor quality! You get what you pay for. Remember, a poor air duct cleaning can actually make the system worse than before it was cleaned.

Here are some questions to ask every company you are talking to.

  • Do you use mechanical brushes?
  • Do you run tools through each vent?
  • How do you verify cleanliness after the job is completed? i.e. digital cameras, or video.
  • Do you offer a warranty? (If not, why?)
  • How long does the process take? (Remember, 3-5 man hours for a single furnace home depending on the home.)
  • Are they insured? (Can they provide a certificate of insurance.)

Here are some other things to be careful of.

Beware the contractor that tries to sell you deodorizers, disinfectants, or sanitizer. In most cases, these services are not needed. They are sold to increase the total job cost. The EPA did a study 7-8 years ago regarding mold in air duct systems. They took 2 ducts with mold in them. They cleaned one of them using conventional cleaning methods and sprayed a disinfectant in the other. They then tested the ducts for a mold count, and found that they achieved the same level of efficacy in reducing mold spores. The consensus was this; If they could achieve the same level of efficacy by cleaning, why spray a potentially caustic chemical in the system. In simpler terms, if you have a backyard filled with poison ivy, and sprayed a pesticide to kill it, you still have a backyard filled with dead poison ivy. Why not just remove it.

Also be careful of the contractor with confusing price structures, or bait and switch pricing. Contractors should have straight forward pricing. If not, don’t let them start work. You should know the total price of the service before they start work. They should also sit down with you and thoroughly explain the process to you before they start work. remember, if you’re not comfortable with them, it is your right to ask them to leave.

Another recommendation is to call the Better Business Bureau on anyone you talk to. They won’t tell you if they are a bad contractor, but you’ll know if they are bad based on the number of complaints against them.

Remember, ask questions!

I hope I have answered some of the questions you might have, but if not, feel free to call us at 630-776-6326 , or check out our website http://www.airborneprofessionals.com/

Thanks again for visiting the Airborne Professionals Blog.

Welcome to the Airborne Indoor Environmental Services blog site.

We’d like to welcome you to the new blog site for Airborne Indoor Environmental Services. Airborne is an air duct cleaning company in the Chicagoland area that specializes in residential and light commercial applications. If you are thinking of getting your air ducts cleaned and have any questions, please feel free to give us a call, or simply ask a question.