Monday, October 23, 2017
Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Air Quality (5)

Monday, 09 October 2017 19:59

Benefits of a Humidifier in the Fall

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As the fall season approaches, you might anticipate crisp air, colorful foliage, and the chance to wear your favorite scarves and boots. However, autumn also comes with a few downsides that can follow you into your home. Specifically, humidity drops as temperatures cool off, and cold fronts start to move in. If you’re concerned about your health and comfort this fall, consider investing in a humidifier.

Reduce Cold and Flu Symptoms

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? Even if you have, you could still develop a cold or catch a new strain of influenza, and the resulting symptoms can leave you miserable for days. Dry air compounds your misery because it dries out your sinuses, throat, and nose. That’s why you might feel better after you take a hot shower or breathe in steam from a mug of tea.

You don’t have to spend your entire illness in the shower or with a cup of tea cradled in your hands, though. A humidifier increases humidity levels throughout your home, which eases your symptoms and helps you breathe easier. While you can buy a portable humidifier for a single room, we recommend whole-home humidifiers because they’re more efficient, and they don’t require human intervention. They become part of your HVAC system, just like your air conditioner and furnace.

Improve Allergy and Asthma Symptoms

Similar to a cold or flu, allergies and asthma can create uncomfortable respiratory symptoms. During the fall, leaves start dropping from trees, and allergies can flare up. Additionally, the chilly air can make breathing difficult for asthma sufferers, even while taking medication.

Whole-home humidifiers help control your symptoms throughout the fall and winter. You might experience less coughing and wheezing because your lungs remain sufficiently lubricated. Additionally, you might not have a constant runny nose or the dreaded sinus congestion that often results from dry air. 

Additionally, whole-home models improve your home’s indoor air quality. They don’t promote bacterial growth like portable units can, and they constantly measure humidity levels to maintain the proper balance. You don’t have to clean whole-home humidifiers like you would portable models, so you can just let them work in the background.

Relieve Skin Discomfort

Dry air doesn’t just impact cold, flu, allergy, and asthma symptoms. It can also make skin disorders more pronounced because your skin needs moisture to heal itself. That’s why you might use more moisturizer and lotion during the fall and winter months. If you have rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, or another skin condition, a whole-home humidifier might help you manage your symptoms more efficiently and effectively.

Additionally, humidifiers can battle simple dry skin. If you notice that your elbows begin to crack or your knuckles become inflamed during the fall, you can blame dry air. While moisturizing products can help, keeping your home more humid offers less hassle. We can install your humidifier during a single visit and keep it running properly during routine maintenance. Plus, you won’t have to haul around a portable unit.

Breathe Easier at Night

Have you ever woken up with an unexplained cough or the need for a glass of water? Maybe you snore more often during the fall and winter, or perhaps you experience overnight nosebleeds. All of these symptoms can be traced back to dry air. While you sleep, your nasal passages, chest, mouth, and throat become progressively drier, which leads to discomfort.

A whole-home humidifier can relieve these symptoms and allow you to sleep peacefully through the night. You don’t have to worry about setting up a portable unit in each family member’s bedroom, nor will you trip over it in the middle of the night since it’s wired into your HVAC system.

Now that fall is fast approaching, don’t risk your health or comfort to dry air. Humidifiers help keep your family comfortable and symptom-free so you can enjoy all of the good things about autumn. If you do not currently have a whole house humidifier, or if you’re interested in updating your current system, contact AJ Danboise to schedule a free in-home estimate by calling 248-477-3626 or by clicking here to use our online service request form.  Our heating & cooling specialists will offer you an estimate for the correct equipment to fully benefit your home at a great value.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017 17:59

How to Spot & Stop Poor Indoor Air Quality

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Poor Indoor Air Quality Can be Detrimental to Your Health

Moving into a new house or renovating your current home can be an exciting time for many families. It signifies the start of a new journey and carries the challenge of making a house feel like a home. Unpacking is stressful on its own; the last thing you want to worry about is quality of your indoor air. Having poor IAQ can sometimes be a silent reason as to why you’ve been plagued with frequent headaches or irritation to the throat, lungs and eyes. If you are moving into a house or renovating your current home, you may need to identify the quality of your home’s air.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous post about asthma triggers, indoor air is often two to five times, and in some cases 100 times, more polluted than outdoor air. Because so many of us spend most our days inside, whether it’s because of work or school, this should be especially disconcerting. Poor indoor air quality makes way for a host of health problems, all of which can be detrimental if left untreated. Even though we’re surrounded by air, it’s invisible to the eye; therefore, it’s important to know which signs are indicative of poor IAQ:

The health effects of poor indoor air quality can range from short-term to long-term. While it’s easy to downplay many of these symptoms, make note of how often they occur as well as where in your house they occur.

  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs
  • Asthma and other respiratory problems
  • Lung cancer

Why is my indoor air unhealthy?

So, you’ve connected the dots and now believe that you’re dealing with poor indoor air quality. Let’s get to the root of the issue. If you’re wondering why the air in your home is unhealthy, we can help you out. The best thing you can do for your home – and for yourself – is to have a certified professional complete a thorough indoor air quality test. Using advanced technology, we can determine the underlying issue and then properly begin the remediation. The American Lung Association has provided a detailed list of common indoor air pollutants:

  • Asbestos
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Building and paint products
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Newly installed carpets
  • Cleaning supplies and other household chemicals
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites and dust
  • Floods and water damage
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Mold and dampness
  • Pet dander
  • Radon
  • Wood burning
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Volatile organic compounds

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Sometimes it can be as simple as changing your HVAC air filter. It is important to change or check it at least every 30 days – especially if you have pets. Another way you can improve your IAQ is by scheduling annual maintenance for your heating and cooling system. Doing so will ensure proper ventilation and mitigate the presence of harmful contaminants.

Per the Environmental Protection Agency, there are three main strategies for improving your home’s IAQ: source control, improved ventilation and air cleaners. Here’s a look into the actions required of each strategy.

Source Control: To effectively treat the issue at hand, you will need to locate the source of the problem and either eliminate it or reduce it. For example, if you have a gas stove, the emissions can be adjusted.

Improved Ventilation: A cost efficient method for improving your home’s ventilation is allowing more outdoor air to makes its way indoors. You can do this by opening doors and windows, running the attic fan, or using kitchen and bathroom fans that exhaust outdoors. This is especially important to do if you’re completing home improvement projects such as painting or installing carpet.

Air Cleaners: In short, an air cleaner collects the polluted air and draws it through a filter where it is then cleaned and redistributed. There are numerous air cleaners on the market from which you can choose. Styles range from small table-top cleaners to whole-house systems. To determine the best system for your home, we recommend enlisting the help of a licensed professional first so that you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

For more tips on improving your IAQ, check out these additional resources:


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 19:30

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Safeguard Your Family Against the Dangers of CO

What’s colorless, odorless, tasteless and has the capacity to harm or kill those who encounter it? If you guessed carbon monoxide, then you are right. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), each year 430 people die and approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This potentially dangerous gas, also known as a silent killer, is found in the fumes emitted by numerous appliances in your home such as generators, stoves, lanterns and gas ranges.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. When it comes to safeguarding your loved ones, it’s critical to always act with vigilance. Because carbon monoxide is quite literally out of sight, it’s easy for it to also be out of mind. Don’t let this happen! Follow these simple yet important safety tips.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?

You already know that carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless and dangerous, but do you know why it’s dangerous?

Here’s how the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts it: Carbon monoxide is dangerous because, when inhaled, “it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen.” When large amounts of CO are inhaled in a short time, it can cause one to lose consciousness or suffocate. Other side effects include:

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness

Symptoms vary from person to person, meaning that you may experience only some of the side effects. People with health conditions are at a greater risk. If any of these conditions apply, you or a loved one may experience side effects sooner:

  • Young children
  • Elderly people
  • People with lung or heart disease
  • People at high altitudes
  • Smokers
  • Fetuses

If you seek medical attention in a prompt manner, poisoning can often be reversed. However, per OSHA research, while you may recover, acute poisoning may result in permanent damage to areas that require substantial oxygen such as the brain and heart. In some cases, it may also effect reproductive organs.

Tips on Preventing CO Poisoning at Home:

CO poisoning doesn’t happen often, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautionary measures to prevent it. Follow these general prevention tips provided by the CDC:

  • Do not heat your home using a gas range or your oven.
  • Do not park your car in a closed, or even partially closed, garage while it’s running.
  • Do not run generators, pressure washers, or gasoline-powered appliances in basements, garages or enclosed areas, even if a window or door is open. The only time it’s safe to run these in the specified areas is when they have been professionally installed and vented.
  • Make sure your vents and flues are free of debris.
  • Do not use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper.

Install CO Detectors: 

Installing CO detectors throughout your home is an effective way to prevent poisoning from occurring. Follow the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) tips on installing CO detectors:

  • Install detectors outside each sleeping area and on every level of the house. The best practice is to interconnect all detectors so that when one goes off, it triggers the others to do the same.
  • Read your manufacturer’s guide on instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Purchase a detector that’s been tested by a recognized laboratory.
  • Test your detectors once every month to ensure they’re working properly. If there’s a chirping sound indicating the batteries are low on power, change the batteries immediately.
  • Install new detectors every 5-7 years.

How to Treat CO Poisoning:

If you suspect that you or a loved one have CO poisoning, leave the premise and seek medical treatment immediately or call 9-1-1. Because symptoms often feel like the flu or food poisoning, one might not realize what’s happening.  

Once in the emergency room, you may be given a mask to put over your mouth and nose and directed to breathe pure oxygen. If you’re having difficulty breathing on your own, a ventilator may be required to do the breathing for you.

Often, medical professionals will turn to a pressurized oxygen chamber as a treatment method. During this treatment, you will breathe pure oxygen in a chamber where the air pressure is two to three times higher than normal. Higher air pressure levels help speed the process of replacing carbon monoxide with oxygen. You will most likely undergo this type of treatment if your poisoning is severe or you are pregnant.

At AJ Danboise, we offer comprehensive indoor air quality service, which includes installing CO detectors. Should you need any assistance with installing your detectors or determining the best detector for your home, be sure to give us a call! We’re standing by to assist you in a friendly and professional manner.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round. 

Friday, 03 March 2017 18:02

How to Reduce Asthma Triggers at Home

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Did you know that indoor air is often substantially more polluted than outdoor air? Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your indoor air pollutant levels could be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. If that isn’t enough to cause alarm, perhaps knowing that in some cases, indoor air pollutant levels can be more than 100 times higher will. Since Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their times indoors, it’s no wonder so many people with Asthma can’t find solace, not even in their own homes. We’re here to help you locate those pesky indoor allergens and irritants so that you can get a handle on them and keep your loved one from having an asthma episode or attack.

If you’ve had an asthma episode or attack or have witnessed someone who has, you know precisely how scary it can be. Triggers vary from person to person, however, it’s important to cover as much ground when trying to mitigate allergens and irritants.

Treating Asthma Allergens

Allergens are substances that, when inhaled, swallowed, touched or injected, cause an allergic reaction, which can trigger asthma. Should someone with allergic asthma have contact with a bothersome allergen, their immune system will respond by releasing a substance called immunoglobulin E (or IgE), which can cause swelling in the airways if too much is released.

Six common allergens known to cause asthma episodes or attacks:

  • Dust Mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Pollens
  • Molds
  • Pet Dander
  • Rodents

Keeping your home clean and the allergens at bay will make your home a much more comfortable – and safe – place to be. We highly recommend talking with your doctor too, as they will be able to devise an effective treatment plan. You may only be sensitive to a few of the allergens, so you’ll want to allocate your time towards treating those.

Here are some helpful tips from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) on how to reduce indoor allergens:

Dust Mites:

  • Encase your mattresses, box springs and pillows in allergen-proof fabric covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers.
  • Wash your bedding weekly in hot water. You can also purchase allergen-proof bed sheets pillow covers.
  • Keep the humidity level in your home low with either a humidifier or an air conditioner.
  • If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting and replace with hardwood, tile, or linoleum flooring.

Pet Allergens:

  • Keep pets out of bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Vacuum often, and if possible, replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring.
  • If you have a small rodent for a pet, clean their cage often as urine is the source of allergens from rabbits, hamsters, mice and guinea pigs.

Cockroaches:

  • Seal off all areas where roaches can enter your home. This includes crevices, wall cracks and windows.
  • If you have any water leaks in your home, repair them immediately, as roaches need to water to survive.
  • Hire an exterminator to complete a thorough removal of the insect.
  • Properly store away food items, including your pet’s.
  • Vacuum often, and if possible, replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring.
  • Take out the garbage every day and keep counters clean. Don’t leave any dishes in the sink either.

 Molds:

  • Using water, detergent and a little bleach (if necessary), wipe away mold found in basements, bathrooms and anywhere with leaks. Do not mix this cleaner with any other chemical or product. Dry the area completely.
  • For areas with large-scale mold, hire a licensed professional to effectively remediate it.
  • Hire a licensed plumber to repair any leaks coming from your pipes.
  • Keep your home properly ventilated at all times.

Read these other resources for treating your indoor allergens:

Treating Indoor Irritants

 Irritants aren’t substances that you can be allergic to; however, they can still induce an asthmatic reaction by inflaming one’s airways. It’s impossible to eradicate irritants, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take measures to mitigate them.

 6 common irritants known to cause asthma episodes or attacks:

  • Smoke from cigarettes
  • Air pollution – smog, ozone
  • Wood fires
  • Charcoal grills
  • Dust
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – found in cleaning products, detergents, paint, aerosols, etc.

Read Asthma & Allergy Friendly’s “Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home” for tips on improving your home’s indoor air quality. This brochure goes into great depth, explaining which materials are best to use when building or remodeling a home, which cleaning products are safest, room-to-room cleaning, and how to treat older homes that have asbestos and lead paint.  You don’t want to miss out on this incredibly beneficial resource!


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

 

Radon levels can soar during the colder months when residents keep windows closed and spend more time indoors. As many as 22,000 people die from lung cancer each year in the United States from exposure to indoor radon.

The EPA Administrator urges Americans to heed January as National Radon Action Month by testing their homes for one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the country, indoor radon gas. Approximately one home in 15 across the nation has unacceptably high radon levels; in some areas of the country, as many as one out of two homes has high levels.

EPA Recommends:

Test your home for radon -- it's easy and inexpensive.
Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
Read EPA's "Citizen's Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Radon."

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

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