Category

Indoor Air Quality

Do You Know The Most Dangerous Material In Your Pre-1980 Home?

By | Home Improvement, Indoor Air Quality, Renovation, Safety | No Comments

Do you know what it is?

And more importantly, do you know if you’re at risk?

Let’s say you’re deciding whether or not to go with a new look with your kitchen or bathroom this summer before the holidays. You’ve created a checklist of things like

  • New cabinets
  • Paint
  • Appliances
  • Flooring.

After doing some research and finding out what direction you want to go in, you now schedule to have a licensed contractor come and give a few estimates. During this inspection, he mentions your home has asbestos 9×9 tile in the kitchen.

Now you’re stuck wondering what to do next, how much it will cost, whether your health is in danger, and many other questions you will have along the way.

We have the information you need.

Our first recommendation is: Get it tested

Not all 9×9 tile is asbestos positive, but most 9×9 tile in a home built before 1980 is greater than 1% asbestos.

Our second recommendation: See if it is in good condition

If the tile is in good condition then don’t disturb it. Asbestos is only dangerous to your health once it is disturbed. In most cases, you can cover the existing floor with another layer of flooring material which lowers the risk of being exposed to asbestos fibers.

Our third recommendation: Take action if it’s in bad condition

In this case, you should think about contacting a licensed asbestos abatement contractor. The risk of exposure once the tile is disturbed, whether it be broken already or breaking the tile during removal, is extremely high and without proper P.P.E your health would be at risk. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the dangers of asbestos can be Asbestostis (chronic lung disease), Asbestos.com lists various types of cancer and also some nonmalignant diseases. Either way, it’s best to keep yourself educated to make sure you are doing everything possible to keep you and your family safe.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY ebook.

Mrs. H isn’t feeling too well… Here is another story on the importance of safe renovations

By | Indoor Air Quality, Indoor Environmental Quality, Mold | No Comments

The early 21st century home was in immaculate shape, nothing seemed wrong from the looks of it as I walked up to the front door and knocked on it. I was greeted by Mr. H and he explained to me that Mrs. H hasn’t been feeling the best. I asked if she was doing anything out of the ordinary. He replied with no, she works from her new home office which is next to the newly remodeled and installed bathroom.

We proceeded to the basement where the remodel had taken place and as I walked down the hallway I started to smell a musty odor as we got closer to the bathroom and office. As we went into the bathroom the odor got worse and I asked if it has always smelled like that, he replied with no and we started investigating.

The ceiling was made up of a grid with 2×4 ceiling tiles and one had a vent to vent out moisture. As I pulled up one of the tiles I felt it was really soft and somewhat mushy on the corners, I was told it was completely out of the track and it was covered with mold on the other side. I peeked my head through the rest of the drop ceiling and 75% of the ceiling tiles in the bathroom and the adjacent office were covered in mold, along with the top 12-16 inches for the backside of the drywall that separated the two rooms. He asked me why this happened, I replied with a lack of ventilation and moisture building on the tile. He said that they use the exhaust fan every time they shower and he didn’t understand why it would build up if the fan is on.

After further investigation, we found out the duct the fan was connected to wasn’t coupled correctly causing a leak which is pushing hot moisture-filled air out of the bathroom and above the drop ceiling causing the issue.

What I take away from this experience, and what I want you to take away from this story, is to never underestimate the unseen. There are so many things behind walls and under floors and tiles that it is not always easily apparent when there is an issue.

If you suspect that something is causing sickness, it is worth it to allow us to assess your situation thoroughly and use our experience to remediate the area and protect your family once and for all.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY ebook.

Seven Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality During the Winter

By | Indoor Air Quality, Uncategorized | No Comments

Seven Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality During the Winter

  1. Clean your floors and carpets regularly using a HEPA-filtered vacuum.
  2. Choose non-toxic cleaning products.
  3. Avoid fragrant products.
  4. Maintain humidity around 35-45%.
  5. Introduce fresh air at least once a week.
  6. Use low-VOC materials during home improvements.
  7. Inspect your HVAC ducts and clean when appropriate.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

COVERING UP THOSE NASTY ODORS?

By | Indoor Air Quality, Indoor Environmental Quality | No Comments

Growing up, that was the solution.  Something smelt bad, we were taught to spray it with a fragrance.  Then the fragrance market got smart and added disinfectants.  So, we bought fragrant disinfectants and sprayed the nasty smell till it went away.  And, when it returned, we knew it was time to spray it again.

Indoor Environmental Professionals are spreading the word:  Don’t ignore that odor or cover it up.  Odors are our best indicator of a real problem.  Mold, bacteria, the wrong mix of products or chemicals, smoke, gas leaks, sewer leaks, rodent infestations, improper air circulation . . . are just a few of the culprits behind odors.  The odors indicate a deeper issue.  Rather than covering up the odor, eliminate the source.  Ultimately, eliminating the source yields a healthier environment.

A simple example:  Mrs. K complained of an intermittent foul odor that gave her headaches while she worked in her shop.  Upon investigation, we removed all the chemicals from under her utility sink and placed them on the back porch.  She stopped having headaches.  She was unaware that the product containers release vapors.  The use of equipment in her shop circulated the air releasing the vapors into her work area, causing the odor and the headaches.

BEST RESOLUTION TO ODORS:  Eliminate the source!

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

SHOULD WE GET OUR AIR DUCT CLEANED?

By | HVAC, Indoor Air Quality | No Comments

SHOULD WE GET OUR AIR DUCT CLEANED?

  •  Is there visible mold growth on the hard surface ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system?
  • Are the ducts infested with vermin such as rodents or insects?
  • Are the ducts clogged with dust and debris or are particles actually being released from the supply registers?

If any of these are true, the EPA recommends the air ducts be cleaned.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

BUSTING MYTHS ABOUT RADON

By | Indoor Air Quality | No Comments

Myth:         Scientists disagree on whether or not radon is a real problem.

Fact:           The dispute is not whether or not radon is real. Scientists are in agreement that radon causes lung cancer. The dispute is over the number of preventable lung cancer deaths every year.

**

Myth:         Radon testing is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

Fact:           Testing is easy. You can do it yourself. Average cost to test ranges from $20-150.

**

Myth:         Radon only affects homes with basements.

Fact:           Radon can be a problem on all types of buildings.

**

Myth:        The test results on the home next door are a good indication as to whether or not our home/building has radon.

Fact:         Many factors play into how radon infiltrates a building. The only way to know for sure is to test.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

 

WHAT IS RADON & SHOULD I REALLY BE WORRIED?

By | Indoor Air Quality | No Comments

Radon is a radioactive gas that cannot be smelled, seen, or heard.  It moves up through the ground to the air above and into our buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation.  Buildings then trap the radon gas inside where it can build up.

Nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the US is estimated to have elevated radon levels.  Elevated levels of radon have been found in buildings in every US State.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Start by testing.  It’s quick, easy, inexpensive, and can save the lives of your building occupants.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

Four Considerations When Purchasing an Air Purifiers

By | Indoor Air Quality | No Comments

 

Four Considerations When Purchasing an Air Purifiers:

  1. Cost of replacement filters: typically filters will need cleaned or replaced every 6-12 months.
  2.  Certifications:
    • The Energy Star certified purifiers are 40% more energy-efficient than standard models.
    • AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) Verified which provides clean air delivery rates and room size guidelines on the seal.
  3. Room size: if in doubt, size up.
  4. Noise: test to make sure you can live with it.

To get the most out of your Air Purifier:

  1.  Clean or replace filters regularly.
  2. Establish its location wisely.
  3. Keep the air purifier running 24/7.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

 

Nine Tips for Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

By | Indoor Air Quality, Indoor Environmental Quality | No Comments
  1. Install energy efficient windows and doors.
  2. Establish air purifiers/sanitizers in heavily used rooms.
  3. Change the filters in the HVAC unit as soon as they appear dirty.
  4. Vacuum regularly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum.
  5. Confirm all exhaust fans are exhausting the air to the outdoors.
  6. Use the kitchen exhaust fan while cooking.
  7. Use the bathroom exhaust fan while showering, and then for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Do not smoke indoors.
  9. When using chemicals, ventilate till vapors and gases have been diluted or exhausted.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.

Let me tell you a Radon Story for NATIONAL RADON ACTION Month!

By | Indoor Air Quality | No Comments

Over the Summer Pete and Sue had the neighborhood over for a huge barbeque.  The neighbors to the east of them brought potato salad and chips.  The neighbors to the west of them brought burgers and hot dogs.  The neighbors to the north of them brought chicken and fries.  And the neighbors to the south of them brought an assortment of desserts.  Everyone had a great time.  Little did Pete and Sue know that the neighbors to the east of them would save their lives!

Pete and Sue mentioned that they were considering getting a radon test taken in their basement.

  • The neighbors to the south thought it was just a waste of money . . . another thing to get homeowners to spend their hard-earned dollars.
  • The neighbors to the north said that they had a relative that was diagnosed with lung cancer, and the doctor had said it was directly related to exposure to radon. They had their home tested and the radon levels were very low.
  • The neighbors to the west said they too had a test done about a year ago and the levels were very low.
  • The neighbors to the east said their radon test showed high levels of radon, and they had a system put in very economically. They strongly recommended that everyone have their home tested.  For a little bit of money and time, lives could be saved by testing and taking action if appropriate.

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless radioactive gas that currently penetrates one out of every 15 homes in the United States.  Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in our country today.

Now it is January, Pete and Sue get up from the news to fix a drink.  When they return, they hear a commercial about January being NATIONAL RADON ACTION month.  Pete looks at Sue and says, “Let’s do it.”

Shocked to see that the radon levels in their home were extremely high, they spent a total of $1,500 to have a radon mitigation system installed.  By February, their radon levels were very low, and they had peace of mind.

To learn more or to join our BREATHE HEALTHY Initiative, visit baxtergroupinc.com.  Request a copy of our BREATHE HEALTHY e-book.