Atlanta Mold Removal Question: How Will I Know If I Need Mold Testing Services

Monday, October 29th, 2012

In large quantities, mold can negatively impact air quality in your home. But how can you tell if you have a mold problem? We’ve put together a short list of common signs that mold could be growing in your home in Atlanta. If you suspect that you have a mold problem, you should call a qualified mold removal specialist immediately.

Visually See Mold

Mold growth is pretty common your bathroom. You normally will see black or gray spots of mold growing on shower curtains, shower doors or around your sink. But in your basement, cellar or attic, mold might be more difficult to spot.

Strange Odor

Mold has a very distinct smell. If you notice a persistent, “earthy” smell in certain rooms and areas of your house there’s a good chance that it’s mold. If you notice that whenever you turn on your heater or your air conditioning that there’s a musty smell, there might be mold in your ducts. The only way to be sure is to have a professional mold detection company come out and go through your house.

Allergies

Mold reproduces by releases spores into the air. The spores float around in the air until they land on a surface. Once there, they can start to reproduce and releases even more spores. When you inhale spores there can be a number of physical responses. Common symptoms include headache, sneezing, irritated eyes, runny nose and irritation of mucous membranes including your throat, nasal cavities and lungs.

Recent Water Damage

There one thing that mold absolutely has to have in order to grow: moisture. Without moisture, mold can’t exist. If you recently had a flood or a pipe break, there could be moisture still present in your floor or walls that is allowing mold to grow. Mold doesn’t always appear after water damage, but it is something to be aware of. One common culprit for this is your air conditioning unit condensation lines. These lines drain water away from your AC system. If they get clogged the unit will leak water which can allow for mold growth.

If you suspect that you may have mold in your home in Atlanta, you should call Cool Air Mechanical immediately. Mold is not something to be taken lightly. It needs to be removed by a professional and treated as soon as possible.

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Atlanta Heating Tip: Why Schedule Fall Duct Cleaning

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Before putting something into regular use, whether it is your car or Atlanta home’s heating system, it is important to provide the maintenance necessary to ensure proper, dependable function. That’s why Cool Air Mechanical suggests scheduling professional duct cleaning this fall before the heating season really gets underway.

When a system is in use for a while, such as your ductwork system, dirt, debris and other pollutants have a chance to accumulate within the system. All of the dirt, dust and biological pollutants that may have built up over time and can be pushed into your living space by the air circulating through your ducts.

Other than indoor air quality,  there are other reasons you should consider scheduling professional duct cleaning service and general heating maintenance this fall. To begin with, this is the only way to ensure that all components of your heating system, ductwork included, are ready to perform the way you expect them to. Don’t expect your heater to just jump back into the swing of things right where it left off. Increased efficiency from your furnace and ductwork is an important factor in reducing energy use and utility costs.

Duct cleaning is also a great opportunity to have the efficiency of your ductwork tested. Forced air heating systems are a very popular home heating option, but the ductwork that they use to disperse heated air is subject to energy loss. Poor design, improper installation or insulation, badly connected joints and air leaks can all affect the efficiency of your system. Duct cleaning itself can help improve efficiency by improving airflow. By testing your ducts for efficient performance at the same time you can go into the heating season knowing that your system is prepared.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits or process of duct cleaning, call the Atlanta indoor air quality and heating professionals at Cool Air Mechanical today!

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Hiram HVAC Contractor Guide: The Goal of Indoor Air Quality Testing

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

If you are concerned about the air quality in your Hiram home, the first step is thorough testing for allergens, pollutants and other potentially harmful irritants in your air. But, what type of testing do you need and how should you order it? Here is a breakdown of what you can test for and why those tests are so important.

Mold Testing

If you suspect mold or recently moved into a new home that had water damage in the past, seriously consider mold testing. While the process is relatively extensive, the benefits are numerous. Most testing involves checking every potential surface and inlet for water sources and mold spores in your home. Dozens of samples are taken and tested in a lab for traces of mold and specific write ups are made of any areas affected by mold so treatment can be done.

Asbestos

Asbestos is most common in old insulation in walls, attics, basements or around pipes. Testing can be done to check if asbestos is present and if it is, the old insulation can be wrapped to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to your family’s health.

Duct Work

One of the most common problems you will find in a home that hasn’t been tested for indoor air quality problems is the ductwork. Dirty ducts can be filled with debris, dust, mold, droppings and dozens of other things that you continuously breathe day after day. Testing involves video inspection and measurement for common allergens and pollutants.

General Pollutants

There are a number of other pollutants that can build up in your home. From lead paint flakes in the air to common allergens like dust, pollen and dander floating freely in your ductwork, pollutants build up over time and need not only to be tested for but removed. Smoke from cigarettes or outdoor pollutants can also be removed from your Hiram home after successful testing with the right air cleaning technology.

A good indoor air quality test will measure the levels of each of these contaminants and provide a clear breakdown of how to go about removing them.

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Conley HVAC Warning: Preventing and Cleaning Up Attic Mold

Friday, January 13th, 2012

It’s a nightmare situation – going up to the attic to retrieve a box of Christmas ornaments or an old suit and finding patches of mold growing on the rafters or insulation in your Conley home. Luckily, if you act quickly enough it’s possible to not only remove that mold but to prevent it from coming back.

Getting Rid of Attic Mold

Mold removal is a tricky process, especially if it gets into the insulation or the plywood of the roof. However, if it’s a small amount of mold or if it has yet to get into the wood, cleaning and replacement of certain woods and insulation patches can get the job done. The key is to call a mold remediation firm to provide an estimate.

Why not clean up the mold yourself? Mold is a rooting spore. It may appear on surfaces, but even if properly cleaned, there may still be mold underneath the surface. This can only be removed by a professional who can perform biological tests and implement prevention tactics as the mold is removed. The real key to stopping mold in your attic is to ensure it never appears in the first place.

Attic Mold Prevention

The vast majority of attic mold problems occur because of moisture and a lack of ventilation. Many homes simply seal up the attic with insulation and ignore the space. If the attic is small and can’t be used for storage or living space especially, it’s just a liability during the summer and winter when heat enters and exits through the roof.

But, if moisture develops in the attic, either through poorly sealed windows or a leak in the roof, and there isn’t enough ventilation to keep air moving through the space, mold will grow at record speeds. Even without a leak, the warmer air in your home can produce condensation on the floorboards of the attic. It doesn’t take much moisture to produce mold, especially if there isn’t any ventilation to allow it to dissipate.

Another common problem is when the vents from your bathrooms, laundry room or garage empty directly into the attic and then have no way to exit that space. The moisture from your bathroom alone can turn your attic into a moldy nightmare.

If ventilation is your problem, there are many possible solutions. Soffit vents are recommended for air flow while an attic fan can not only vent out that moist air, but keep the attic cooler in the summer and save you money on your cooling bill.

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Centerville Gwin HVAC Safety Tip: Clothes Dryer Ventilation

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It’s important to maintain the ventilation system in your Centerville Gwin home for many reasons. Increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system and lowering your utility bills are a few of them, but safety is the best reason to keep your vents clean, particularly your clothes dryer vent.

Clothes dryers are one of the leading causes of house fires each year. Poorly maintained venting systems and improper installation are usually the cause. Protect your home with these maintenance and safety tips.

Even if you clean out the lint trap after each use, lint can still get trapped in the exhaust vent and cause a fire hazard or a potential carbon monoxide leak with gas dryers. Maintaining proper ventilation for a clothes dryer includes cleaning out the exhaust duct and hose. To do this, you just need to unplug your dryer and detach the hose, which can be removed with common household tools. If you already do this regularly and find an abnormal amount of lint and debris, call an HVAC technician to inspect it. There could be something in the duct system blocking the ventilation for your dryer.

At least once a year, you should also have a qualified technician inspect and clean your exhaust duct and make sure you have the proper style hose. If you have a foil or vinyl hose, you should replace it with a flexible metal one that is fireproof. You might want to consider installing a dryer box, which protects the flexible hose and saves space.

Dryers that aren’t properly installed or put in areas that could create hazards are often found in older homes; however, some newer homes are built with designs that create longer ventilation paths and more potential for debris to get trapped inside the ducts.

Don’t wait until a hidden safety issue turns into a fire or carbon monoxide hazard in your Centerville Gwin home. Inspect and clean your exhaust hose and duct today!

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Centerville Gwin HVAC Repair Tip: How to Tell if Your Air Ducts Are Leaking

Monday, December 26th, 2011

There are lots of ways for your Centerville Gwin home to lose energy – through leaky door frames, cracks in window trim, loose or missing insulation, etc. A lot of your indoor heating and cooling winds up outdoors and drives up your utility bills.

One part of your home that is susceptible to leaks and energy loss is your ventilation system, typically metal or flexible ductwork. Older homes generally experience more duct leakage because seals and joints may have loosened over the years or may have not been properly connected when they were installed. There are some ways to check and see – or hear – if the air ducts in your home are leaking.

The most obvious way to check is by listening. Stand, sit, or kneel close to your ductwork. Listen for any hissing noises when the furnace, air conditioner, or blower motor is in operation. A hissing noise is usually an indication of a leak in a seal or joint. Since ductwork comes in a variety of lengths and contains a number of different connectors, there are likely many joints where pieces have been connected. Some joints are sealed with small sheet metal screws while other joints are sealed with duct tape or mastic. Whatever the connection is, the joints may have come loose over time from vibrations, settling of the home’s foundation, previous repairs, or by someone simply bumping into the ductwork.

Another way to check for a leaking air duct is by looking at insulation which may be wrapped around the ductwork. If an air duct is leaking it will leave dark stains on the insulation over time – giving an exact location of the leak.

Leaks in your air ducts can cause areas like your crawlspace, attic, or garage to be abnormally cold or hot. If you are conditioning unused parts of your home inadvertently, it may be because your ductwork is leaking in those areas.

Finally, a not so easy way to check for leaking ducts is to compare utility bills. If there is a big spike in your heating or cooling costs, it may be because of temperature extremes – but it also may be because your ductwork is leaking. You may not be able to see a big difference in your bills unless there are large leaks or breaks in your ductwork, but keep an eye on your energy costs anyway.

Once you have located any leaks, there are some easy fixes. But you also may want to call your local qualified heating and cooling contractor to perform a whole house energy audit, using leak detection instrumentation to check for leaks.

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Inspection and Testing for Indoor Air Quality in Loganville

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Though few people in Loganville know it, indoor air quality is one of the single worst and yet least understood health risks faced by families throughout the world. It claims the lives of more than 1.2 million people each year and results in countless illnesses. While air quality problems in the United States are rarely life threatening, the risk of long term health problems is very real, so inspection and testing is highly recommended.

When to Call for Testing

If you suspect something is wrong with your indoor air, you should call for testing. What constitutes “wrong”? Here are some specific things to watch for related to your health:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin Rash
  • Eye Irritation
  • Nose Irritation
  • Throat Irritation
  • Respiratory Irritation
  • Cough
  • Chest Tightness
  • Respiratory Infection
  • Asthma
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Lung Cancer

When one or more of these symptoms recurs in your family without a clear cause that your doctor can diagnose, it’s a big warning bell that you may have indoor air quality issues to attend. When that happens, it’s time for testing and inspection.

Checking Your Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality problems frequently stem from a specific problem – either an entry point in your home where insulation fails or poor ventilation if the source is inside. The purpose of testing is to check for these problems and pinpoint specific ways to reduce the presence of pollutants and make you feel better.

Testing can be done for a number of pollutants including pollen, mold, mildew, bacteria, dander, dust mites, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, VCOs and other gases and bioaerosols. Specific testing will be done depending on the nature of your symptoms, the severity of the leak or exposure to that contaminant and the potential solutions your contractor considers.

If certain pollutants are found, filtration may not be enough to solve the problem – radon and mold especially require installation of new fans and filters to reduce the effects of the excess air contaminants.

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How to Clean Up and Repair Damage from Mold: A Guide from Tucker

Monday, November 28th, 2011

So, you had your air quality tested and a mold inspector visited your Tucker home and gave you the bad news – there is mold in your house. What’s the next step? For millions of homeowners every year, mold becomes a reality and the cleanup and repair seem daunting. But depending on the severity of the problem, there may be a relatively simple solution.

Step 1- Fix the Problem

Before any cleanup occurs, the first step is to fix whatever problem caused the mold initially. In most cases, this is a source of excess water or humidity getting into your home. It could be a leak in your attic or standing water in your basement. Whatever the source, it needs to be repaired before any removal can occur.

Step 2 – Removing Damaged Items

Mold has a habit of destroying that which it grows on. This includes window frames, floor boards and furniture. For the most part, it’s recommended that you throw away anything affected by mold. Old carpet, upholstery, books, and clothing can be replaced – and rarely can mold be effectively removed from those items without a heavy cost. If something has sentimental valuable, make sure to consult an expert as to whether it can be cleaned.

Step 3 – Remove the Mold

With the water source fixed and damaged items removed, it’s time to clean up the mold damage. Any water or remaining dampness is removed first, usually with some form of vacuum cleaner or wet vac system. If a professional visits, they may wear protective masks or clothing to avoid inhaling potentially toxic mold spores – remember that while most mold is only an allergen, some mold can be dangerous even to healthy, non-allergic people.

If you choose to clean up the mold yourself, make sure you have it tested prior to cleanup to ensure it won’t be a health risk to you or your family.

Step 4 – Sterilization

Hopefully your mold problem is only on surfaces and removable fibers. Some mold can get into walls and ductwork, a problem which requires a much more in-depth cleaning process to correct. For this type of mold infestation, make sure you call a professional so you can be sure it is completely removed. To ensure mold being cleaned doesn’t enter the air and make anyone sick, it is usually contained with a wood frame or protective plastic sheeting. Careful removal with HEPA vacuums and sterilizing wipes is also recommended to ensure all mold spores are gone.

Mold is a problem for millions but if properly removed it doesn’t need to be a problem in your home. Make sure you call someone you can trust for testing, cleanup and prevention and your home will be safe and clean for years to come.

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How to Maintain High Efficiency Filters to Reduce Stress on Your Heat Pump: A Tip from Stone Mountain

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The filter on your heat pump is an integral part of your Stone Mountain home’s comfort system. Without that filter, the device will quickly be subjected to an influx of debris and contaminants that can get into the machinery and the air being filtered into your home. As a result, you need to make sure you properly maintain the filters to reduce stress on your heat pump.

Change Your Filters

High efficiency filters are designed to remove as much of the airborne contaminants in the air as possible. This is fantastic for keeping your indoor air clean. But if you don’t properly maintain the filter, air quality can worsen and your heat pump is put under unnecessary stress. Specifically, the extremely tight knit filter, designed to stop nearly anything from getting through, gets clogged.

Now your heat pump is forced to work much harder to draw the air it needs from outside and heat or cool your home. On top of that, the filter is filled with contaminants that can start to leak back into the air supply, actually making your indoor air quality worse than it would be otherwise. That’s why it is so important to clean your filters on a regular basis (for permanent filters) and replace them if they are one time use.

Recommended Filters

You have options as to which types of filters you use for your heat pump. Filters come in multiple options, from super high MERV rated filters that trap up to 99% of all contaminants as small as 0.3 microns.

Electrostatic filters are especially efficient because they extract contaminants of all types – from dust and mold to smoke and gas fumes. A good filtration system should effectively remove anything from the air without needing replacement too often.

Permanent filters tend to offer the best protection against airborne contaminants and generally need to be cleaned once a month. HEPA filters are often permanent and while each filter is different, these are often extremely effective at minimizing contaminants in the air without putting stress on your heat pump.

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Check Out Our Blog for the Latest in HVAC Technology

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Be sure to bookmark the Cool Air Mechanical blog for updates on the latest advances in HVAC technology.

We’ll feature money saving promotions here as well.

Call Cool Air Mechanical for all your Heating, Air Conditioning, Indoor Air Quality, Water Heater and Preventative Maintenance needs.

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