Posts Tagged ‘Troutdale’

Reasons to Conduct Radon Testing

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Radon is one of those terms you hear in conjunction with homes, particularly when buying and selling, but you may not understand why. The reason you hear about radon in conjunction with homes is that radon can be a serious problem. The EPA estimates that 1 in 15 homes has unhealthy radon levels. Radon infiltration isn’t specific to a geographic area, type of home, or climate. So how do you know if your home is safe? Call Clean Air Act and make an appointment for radon testing in Troutdale.

What Is Radon?

Radon is a natural byproduct of uranium breakdown in soil, rocks and water. It is an invisible odorless and radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. In fact, radon is the number two reason why people contract lung cancer; cigarette smoking is number one. Radon is found mostly in air but it can also be found in water.

Where Is It Located?

Radon can be located just about everywhere: large buildings, small buildings, old buildings, new buildings – basically anywhere you can find rocks, water and/or soil. The problem with radon in buildings is that it can get trapped inside, and once it is trapped it can become concentrated. The good news is that there are safe levels and radon, and most people’s properties do fall into the safe category. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L), and to be considered safe, your home should not have a radon rating of more than 4 pCi/L. If it does, you will need to hire professionals to perform radon mitigation.

How Does Radon Get Into Homes?

These are the ways radon can enter your home:

  • Empty spaces in walls
  • Flooring cracks (in solid flooring)
  • Your water
  • Gaps between floors
  • Wall cracks
  • Joints

Mitigation

If radon is found in your home or in your water supply, the radon can be treated successfully. With water issues, point-of-use or point-of-entry devices can be used to filter out the radon from your water. Treatments for radon found in the air can vary, but one of the most common treatments is to use a vent pipe and a large fan, commonly known as a soil suction radon reduction system. This type of system pulls radon from beneath your home and expels it to the outside air. Other treatments include sealing cracks, creating better ventilation and using suction in other areas of your home.

Radon can be a serious problem. If you haven’t had a radon test, or have and need radon mitigation for your Troutdale home, call the trained professionals who can help: Clean Air Act.

Proper Ventilation for Improved Indoor Air Quality

Monday, October 1st, 2012

When you think about your Portland home’s furnace, you’re probably not thinking about indoor air quality. But the truth is that there are several ways in which your furnace can impact the quality of the air in your home. When you have a furnace in your home, it’s important to understand the relationship between these heating systems and your home’s indoor air quality.

Proper Ventilation for Byproducts of Combustion

Especially if you have a gas furnace, you need to be aware of the gasses that are produced by the combustion of natural gas to generate heat. The two that are the most relevant to indoor air quality are carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. In a furnace that’s working properly and is well maintained, these gasses will be kept from the living spaces of your home and vented outside where they can disperse and are not harmful.

Air Filters

In addition to venting fumes outside, your furnace also should have air filters that can remove all types of indoor air contaminants that may be found in your indoor air. These air filters are a great way to keep the quality of your indoor air high, but they also need to be changed out or cleaned on a regular basis to ensure they’re working properly and that you’re getting all of the benefit you should from them.

If you have a particularly severe indoor air quality problem, or if anyone in your home has asthma or allergies, you may want to invest in an upgrade to the stock filters that come with your furnace. Opting for a higher quality filter can dramatically improve the quality of your indoor air.

For more information about how to improve the air quality in your Portland home, give The Clean Air Act, Inc. a call today!

Where Are Air Cleaners Installed and How Do They Work?

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Just from reading the name, most people in Oregon City can figure out what whole home air filtration systems do. But what many people don’t know is where they are placed in your house and how they actually filter the air. There are many different kinds of home air filtration systems and each one cleans your air in a different way.

Mechanical Air Filters

Air filters are installed as part of your heating and air conditioning system. They are most commonly installed in the air handler that distributes clean air to the rest of your house. As the air passes through the filter, particulates, bacteria and viruses, pollen, pet dander and other contaminates are trapped and removed from your air supply. Depending upon your needs, the filters come in varying sizes: some are designed to filter very tiny contaminates like viruses, while others are made to trap larger particulates like dust. Ask the experts at Clean Air Act, Inc. which filter is right for your Oregon City home air filtration needs.

Electronic Air Filters

Electronic air cleaners differ from mechanical air filters in that they use an electronic charge to trap particles similar to the way static electricity works. There are several types of electronic air filters. Electrostatic precipitators are installed in your air handler where they draw air across an ionized section of the filter and attach a positive electrical charge to the particles in the air. These charged particles are attracted to, and accumulate on, negatively charged collector plates.

Ion generators, another type of electronic filter, work in a similar way but without the collector plates. These devices emit charged ions into the air where they attach to other particles and collect on objects like furniture, walls or the ground.

Oregon City Home Air Filtration Installation Experts

Your family deserves to breathe clean air. For people suffering from existing respiratory problems, air filtration can be a necessity. Whole home filtration systems can reduce allergy flare-ups that result from pollen, dust and other pollutants like pet dander. Many homes in the Oregon City area are well-insulated which can leave little room for ventilation of normal allergens. Clean Air Act, Inc. has a full range of products that can remove pollutants from your air and ensure that you and your family are comfortable all year long.

For more information about improving the air quality in your Oregon City home with products such as an Aprilaire Air Cleaning system, give Clean Air Act, Inc. a call today!

How Do I Know if I Have a Radon Problem?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Radon is a gas that is invisible, odorless, and radioactive.  Thus it is important to know if you have a radon problem.  The experts at Clean Air Act Inc. in Portland can help you understand exactly what radon is and how to determine if you have a radon problem.

While naturally occurring, radon usually comes from the breakdown of uranium which happens in soil.  It is also frequently found in areas where granite is present in the soil.  It can be transferred into a building through foundation cracks or even via the water supply.  Once it enters a building it gets trapped and can cause health problems as it is continually breathed in and out.

Some of the main symptoms of radon exposure include repeated respiratory infections, chest pain along with shortness of breath, and a sever cough.  Ultimately radon exposure leads to lung cancer because it is breathed in.  While there are some symptoms associated with radon exposure, it can be hard to truly know whether or not these symptoms are in fact a result of radon exposure, or if they are due to some other environmental problem.

Radon in and of itself is impossible to detect without the proper testing equipment.  The only proof positive way to know if you have a radon problem is to have your building professionally tested for radon.  During the radon testing process, if radon is found, the source of the radon will be identified so that it can be addressed during the radon mitigation process.

There are some home-methods of testing for radon which includes a charcoal canister, an ion detector, and an alpha track detector.  However, these must still be sealed up and sent to a lab for analysis.  Additionally, use of these is not considered completely accurate and it is best to work with a professional when radon testing is concerned so that a complete and thorough analysis can be made.

We are specialists in understanding radon and dealing with it properly, so call Clean Air Act Inc. if you need radon testing and mitigation in the Portland area!

How Do Limit Switches Work in Air Conditioning Systems?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Your air conditioning system has a lot of components which work together to cool your home.  Here is some information about the limit switches in your AC to help you better understand its operation, and to let you know when you need to call a Gresham AC technician.

What are Limit Switches?

Limit switches are used in a variety of devices for both commercial and residential applications.  Limit switches are created with two main purposes in mind.  They control electrical circuits by either activating or deactivating them, starting or stop specific electric pulses. One of the easiest examples to understand is the light which automatically turns on when the fridge door is opened, and which shuts off again once the door is closed.  Most of the time limit switches are kept out of site, and in fact we often don’t even know when they are in use.

How Do Limit Switches Work in Air Conditioning Systems?

AC limit switches are quite common.  The main example is the link between the air handler blower and the thermostat.  When the thermostat reaches the preset indoor temperature an AC limit switch is flipped. This stops the air conditioning system from creating any more cold air.  An additional AC limit switch turns off the air handling unit simultaneously so that warmer air that has not been cooled does not continue to blow through the vents.  When the temperature read by the thermostat rises once again, both air conditioning limit switches are flipped back on, creating cold air and blowing it through the vents for distribution.

When a limit switch goes bad it will cause an AC to short cycle, turning the air conditioning system off too quickly, or not turning the AC off at all.  It could be that the AC limit switch is stuck or that its wiring has short-circuited.  Whatever the case may be, it is important to contact a trained AC company in Gresham such as The Clean Air Act, Inc. for repairs. Call us today if you need AC service in the Gresham area!

Features to Look for When Buying an Air Conditioner

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Air conditioning systems have come a long way from the loud window units you may remember from years past. If you’re in the market for a new central air conditioner in Portland it can be overwhelming trying to navigate through all the new models and technologies available to you. The important thing to keep in mind is not what the “best” air conditioner features are, but what features are the best for you. New and improved options are only relevant if they’re options that you’re actually interested in. At The Clean Air Act Inc. we want to make sure that you get the air conditioner that’s right for you and your home. Here is some information to give you an idea of what features are available and whether or not you will benefit from them.

Programmability

The ability to program your air conditioner’s output is a great way to fight inefficiency. Programmable thermostats paired with zoning technology will help you cut down on your energy use and reduce utility costs. By breaking your home into cooling zones, each controlled individually from the thermostat, and cooling your home only during the necessary times of day, a programmable system can really reduce the energy and monetary concerns of running your air conditioner.

Versatility

Take into account any comfort issues you know to exist in your home. If your home is consistently, uncomfortably humid, think about an air conditioner with a dehumidifying feature. Should indoor air quality be a priority for you, look into systems that continuously filter air even when the cooling system is off. Fresh air intakes and exhaust settings also allow air to be vented without cooling. With so many options available there is no reason for you to wind up with an air conditioner that will not satisfy all your comfort needs.

Keep Your Home in Mind

When it comes to a home cooling system you must keep your home’s needs in mind as well as your own. If you have preexisting ductwork then a central forced air system will be an easy installation. If you do not have the room for ductwork there are ductless mini split systems available that require only a conduit to connect the outdoor components to indoor blowers. For historic houses, look into small-duct high velocity systems to avoid virtually all renovation. There are enough air conditioning options out there to suit every individual and every home.

A home cooling system is an investment. Don’t rush into a decision. Take your time, consider your options and available features, and get the air conditioner that’s right for your Portland home. The Clean Air Act Inc. is here to answer any questions you may have, so call us anytime.

The Most Effective Environmentally Friendly Heating Methods

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Protecting the environment is a priority for many homeowners these days. The problem is that it can’t be as a high a priority as your heating system in Portland home. Sure, you want your home to be environmentally friendly, but you need it to be warm.

So, it seems you are forced to run your electric or high efficiency furnace as much as is necessary and hope that it’s not too much for the environment — or your wallet — to take.

Beyond the traditional heating methods of electricity, gas, oil and what have you, there are some alternatives out on the market these days that can keep your home warm while also being green.

Geothermal

One solution is geothermal heat, which harnesses the natural heat of the Earth to warm your home. Pipes filled with coolant run through the ground outside your home, absorbing the warmth of the Earth. Then, the warm coolant is pumped into your home through a network of pipes that radiate heat.

This method is effective and requires no additional fuel or energy.

Micro Combined Heat and Power (MCHP) Systems

Relatively new to the game are so-called MCHP systems. These heating systems have on-board power generators with high-efficiency computer modules attached. The power module interfaces with the thermostat, calling for heat when necessary. That activates the generator system, which quietly and efficiently generates all the necessary power to run the heater.

These systems are incredibly efficient and can slash the cost of your heating bill. As an added benefit, they continue to work during power outages, which has obvious utility in areas that experience harsh winter storms.

Solar

Then, of course, there is the most obvious and readily available source of heat to the whole planet: the sun. Solar heating systems can be either active or passive, which essentially just depends on whether additional specialized equipment is to be installed.

Obviously, solar heating systems are a better choice for areas that get a lot of sunlight year round.

Whichever environmentally friendly heating solution you choose, they have the added benefit of lowering your heating bill, which is always welcome.  Call Clean Air Act if you have any questions

Preventative Maintenance For Your Home Heating System

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” His famous quotation can apply to many things in life, including the heating system in your home. While heating systems in Ben Franklin’s time consisted of wood burning stove and fireplaces requiring little maintenance, today’s sophisticated furnaces and building controls require a good dose of preventative maintenance in order to avoid mechanical failures and inefficient operation.

For example, a furnace runs better and lasts longer when you maintain a regular schedule of filter cleaning or replacing. A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow from the furnace into your home’s ventilation system and cause the furnace to work harder, putting more wear and tear on it and taking months, if not years, off of its useful life. If your furnace uses disposable filters, check them every month and replace them if necessary. If your furnace uses an electronic filter that requires cleaning, check it on a monthly or semi-monthly basis and clean it with soapy water and a hose. Be aware of the change of seasons which could add extra pollutants into the air like pollens, ragweed, and cottonwood. This debris easily finds its way into the filters and creates an unhealthy indoor environment.

You can also perform a simple visual inspection of working components inside your furnace by removing the access cover and checking – with a flashlight – for loose fan belts, frayed electrical wires, or a build-up of dirt and dust. Simple solutions include tightening or replacing belts, repairing wiring, and vacuuming out dirt and dust with a hose attachment. All of these actions will keep your furnace working better and prevent future failures.

You can also do a visual check of your home’s ventilation system, paying close attention to any cracks in duct seams or holes in flex ductwork. Using sealing cement or duct tape can usually fix these problems and allow for better, unrestricted air flow. Again, these actions will help your furnace work more efficiently and avoid premature failures.

Maybe the best advice for preventing heating system breakdowns is to have a regular maintenance schedule with a local qualified heating contractor. Most contractors can set you up with annual furnace and ventilation system inspections. Having a service agreement – as a rule – gives you priority emergency repairs and discounts on parts and services. Besides that, planned maintenance is also preventative maintenance, something that will give you peace of mind in the long run.  Please contact your HVAC experts at Clean Air Act if you have any questions about these preventative maintenance ideas.

How to Fix a Faulty Furnace Blower

Monday, December 5th, 2011

The blower fan on your furnace is designed to distribute warm air through the ductwork in your Troutdale home evenly, ensuring you use all of the energy consumed by your furnace. If the blower doesn’t turn on when the furnace turns on or it continues to run when the furnace is off, it can cost you money and result in cold rooms. Here are some tips on how to fix a faulty furnace blower.

What is the Problem?

First, check to see what the problem is. If your furnace blower remains on all of the time, it may be a thermostat issue. Make sure the fan isn’t set to stay on continuously (a common setting for most air handlers). You should also check the limit control switch to make sure it is working properly. If this is broken, it needs to be replaced which is a relatively simple fix.

If the furnace blower isn’t turning on at all, you may have a belt problem. This can be fixed by you if you have the proper tools. To repair the belt problem, first turn off all electricity to the device. You’ll need to remove the old furnace blower belt, so release the tension in the pulleys before removing the belt.

Installing a new belt is not unlike doing so for your car. Make sure to check the blower or your user manual for proper tension when you install the new belt. Make sure you purchase the right size belt and set it to the right tension. If you cannot or you do not feel comfortable doing so, you should call a professional to inspect and repair the problem for you.

Getting the Blower Back Up and Running

Once your new belt is in place, test the system carefully, starting with the lowest setting (if there are variable settings). If it does not yet work or if something sounds strange, call a technician right away. You don’t want the motor to burn out or something else more substantial to go wrong with your furnace or air handler during the middle of the winter.

What Is Geothermal Heating?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Having a geothermal heating system installed in your Hubbard home means that you will actually be able to heat your home with heat extracted from the ground. If this sounds a bit preposterous to you, you are certainly not alone. But this type of home heating does actually work and the technology is not actually that much different from what is used in a standard heat pump system.

Regular heat pumps are able to remove heat from the outdoor air and transfer it into your house to maintain a comfortable temperature in the winter. You may think that there is no heat in the outdoor air in the winter, but that is not actually the case.

Air contains a substantial amount of heat even at very cold temperatures, and heat pumps are able to work quite well, particularly when the outdoor temperature is above freezing. Conveniently, the same process used to heat your house in the winter can be reversed in the summer to extract heat from the indoor air, providing you with a year round home comfort solution.

Geothermal heating works in much the same way, except that geothermal heat pumps extract heat from the ground rather than the air. In order to accomplish this, a loop of pipes is installed in the ground near your house and your geothermal heating system will pump a liquid, generally either antifreeze or water, through those pipes.

As it passes through the pipes, the liquid will absorb heat from the ground and carry it back to a heat exchanger within your house. At that point, the heat from the liquid will be released into air, which is then blown throughout your house.

And just as conventional heat pumps can cool your house in the summer by removing heat and pumping it outside, so too can geothermal heating systems. They do this simply by letting the liquid flowing through the pipes absorb the heat from inside air and then release it into the ground as it travels through the pipe loop below your house.

Because the ground is never as cold in the winter or as hot in the summer as the air, geothermal heat pumps are actually able to work effectively in more extreme conditions than many traditional heat pumps. However, because they require an entire system of pipes to be installed underground, they can be quite a bit more expensive initially as well.