Archive for October, 2013

What Is Radon and Why Is It Dangerous?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

“Radon” is one of the scariest words a homeowner (or business owner) can hear. This substance is one of the great boogeymen of public health in the United States—but unlike childhood boogeymen, radon is real, as is its danger.

But most people don’t know what radon actually is, or what sort of health hazards it poses that make it so urgent to get radon testing done. It’s a long subject, but in this post we will try to get to the heart of the problem so you’ll understand why radon testing in Portland, OR is something you shouldn’t delay.

Radon is a chemical element (Rn). It occurs as a product of the decay of uranium and thorium, which first produce radium, and then radon. Radon is gaseous, colorless, odorless… and radioactive.

Radon decays as well, and the product of this isn’t gaseous, but solids that can adhere to most surfaces. These “radon daughters” are the main danger that radon presents, since if humans inhale these particles, they will stick to the inside airways of lungs. The radioactivity of these radon daughter particles increases the chances of lung cancer. According to the EPA, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarettes and accounts for approximately 20,000 cancer-related deaths each year. Radon is responsible for the majority of the public’s exposure to radiation.

How does this apply specifically to housing? In 1985, an accident led to the discovery of large concentrations of radon inside many U.S. homes. At least some level of radon is present in every home: it usually enters the lower levels of a house, such as the basement, from the ground, infiltrating through cracks, the water supply, and gaps around service pipes.

You almost certainly have some levels of radon in your home, but don’t panic yet. The concentration might be low enough to pose little danger. However, you need to be certain—and radon can enter the best-sealed homes or those without have basements. Professional radon testers can detect if you have a potentially dangerous radon concentration, and then devise a mitigation solution that will give you improved air quality… and peace of mind.

You can’t see, smell, or taste radon, and so you might shrug off the possibility of it lurking around your house. Please don’t make such a potentially hazardous assumption. Contact Clean Air Act and our radon detection and mitigation specialists. We offer complete testing and abatement service to protect you and your family from one of the only true “boogeymen” you’ll find hidden in your home. Contact us today for radon testing in Portland, OR.

Common Indoor Air Quality Issues During the Heating Season

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

The U.S. Department of Health has determined that poor indoor air quality is one of the major threats to health in the country today. Because modern homes are designed as near-sealed environments to prevent heat loss during winter and heat infiltration during summer, contaminants that gather inside have little chance to escape. This lowered air quality is particularly acute during the heating season, when we close up our homes from the cold outdoor air—giving dust, debris, and other particles in the air even fewer places to get out.

At Clean Air Act, we want the Portland, OR heating season to go as pleasantly as possible for your household. Keeping your air free of pollutants is a large part of this. Here are some indoor air problems that are common at this time of the year which we can help you eliminate:

Dust and dirt buildup: Dust, dirt, and other pollutants will build up in your home during winter because of the sealed environment. If you have a heat pump or a furnace warming your home, dust will gather in the ductwork and get blown about your living spaces. A clogged air filter will increase this problem, as will breaks in the ducts that go without repair.

Humidity issues: You may not think about humidity as a problem during winter, but trouble with high and low humidity can strike at any time. If your air becomes too dry (a common trouble during cold weather), it can lead to cracked skin, nose bleeds, and dried out respiratory passages. High humidity will cause general discomfort and can contribute to the spread of common illnesses.

Mold and bacterial growth: The dark spaces inside ductwork offer an ideal spot for the growth of mold, fungus, and unwanted bacterial infestations. Increased humidity will encourage this growth. This can create a serious drop in your air quality.

There are a number of ways to combat these problems and keep the air in your home safe for your whole family. Have your ducts cleaned and your air filters changed regularly. Install mechanical filters or electronic air cleaners to remove contaminating particles. Place UV germicidal lights near vents to eliminate mold and prevent it from returning. Look into getting a humidifier or dehumidifier to control unusual humidity levels.

Clean Air Act can help you get quality indoor air with your heating in Portland, OR. We install different air filters and electronic air cleaners, as well as humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and we can find the right one for your home. We can also take care of bacterial infections with UV germicidal lights and perform top-quality duct cleaning. Contact us today to get the heating season started with indoor air quality products and services from clean air from Clean Air Act.

Take Care of Your Heating Repairs Before the Cold Hits

Monday, October 14th, 2013

In Beavercreek, OR, heating issues take center stage during the winter months when temperatures are coldest. We don’t think about heating much during the summer or fall, which can actually be a mistake. Indeed, the early fall makes an ideal time to take care of heating repairs, whether you have something significant that needs fixing or you just want to do a little maintenance. Here’s why you should take care of your heating repairs before the cold hits.

The most important answer is the most obvious. You don’t want your heater to be out of commission in the depths of winter. You never know when the next storm or cold front is going to move through, which can put a great deal of pressure on you to get the repair done quickly. In the fall, when temperatures are warmer, the need for the heater is not as dire, and you’ll have more time to plan and accommodate a repair session. Furthermore, most service technicians are less busy during the fall than they are during the winter, when heating malfunctions are more common and require speedier solutions.

Then there’s the question of our warm summers, which means your heater has likely sat unused for several months. That means it’s built up dust and debris, and lingering issues from last heating season have not gotten better on their own. The fall is the perfect opportunity to schedule a maintenance session to clean the accrued dust, or to note areas where the idle heater could use a repair.

The benefits of taking care of your heating repairs before the cold hits are obvious. It leaves your heater in optimum shape when winter sets in, reducing the risk of further repairs just when the unit is needed the most. It also ensures that your heater is functioning at peak capacity, reducing inefficiency and saving you money on your monthly bills. If you live in Beavercreek, OR, heating issues can be resolved by the heating repair professionals at Clean Air Act. Call us today to schedule repair service in Beavercreek, OR.

How to Save Money on Your Heating Bill this Season

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Oregon City OR heating issues are no different from those in other Oregon cities. We have wet, cool winters, meaning that an effective heating system is the best way to keep your home warm and cozy when the temperatures drop. Because of that, we often accept high heating bills as the price of fending off the cold and the damp. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. With a few easy steps, you can cut down on costs without skimping on reliable heat from your furnace. Here’s how to save money on your heating bill this season.

The obvious steps are those you’ve likely heard about since elementary school. Set your thermostat a few degrees cooler than you’re accustomed to and wear warm clothes in the house instead of just depending on the heater to warm you. Don’t run the heater if you’re not going to use the whole house, and turn the heat down before you go off to work in the morning to avoid unnecessary expenditure of energy.

You can use upgrades to your existing energy system to help meet some of these goals. Zone controls, for instance, let you tailor the heat settings to warm only one or two portions of the house while leaving unused sections alone. Similarly, programmable thermostats let you automatically set the heat to turn off when you leave in the morning and turn back on again ten minutes before you arrive home.

In addition to such features, you can ensure that your heater is running at maximum efficiency by scheduling regular maintenance sessions to tighten loose fittings and clean dirty parts. That will ensure that your heater isn’t wasting unnecessary energy.

If you need more tips on how to save money on your heating bill this season, or you want to schedule an upgrading or maintenance service for your existing heater, call the Oregon City, OR heating experts at Clean Air Act. We handle heating issues, and will work to ensure that our wet winters don’t impact your family’s health and comfort. Contact us to make an appointment today.

Benefits of Radon Testing in Portland

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Radon is a radioactive gas, which appears whenever there are significant quantities of uranium in the soil or water. It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. (behind only cigarettes): it gets caught in your lungs when you breathe it in, damaging the tissue and resulting in long term health problems. Radon testing is a comparatively simple process designed to determine the levels of radon in your home and whether they constitute a danger. The benefits of radon testing in Portland and other Oregon cities are obvious – to alert you to any danger to you or other members of your household – but a little more information can help you understand the particulars betters.

Radon can get into you house through any kind of crack or crevice, such as a fracture in the floor or walls, or a gap to allow plumbing or electricity in. It can also get in through crawlspaces, and can infiltrate your water supply as well (especially if you get your water from a well). If radon is in the water, it can get into the air once it passes through a faucet.

You can’t predict when or where radon will get into your home. It has nothing to do with your home’s location or the proximity to hazardous sites. The only way to spot it is with testing, which a qualified professional can perform safely and efficiently. You should always have a test performer before buying or selling a home. It’s also a good idea to have it tested before having a baby, bringing a new pet into the home or before undertaking any large home improvement projects.

A good Portland, OR radon testing technician will perform both short-term and long-term tests, then discuss your options with you when he test comes back. In the case of high radon levels, you should first re-test to confirm, then discuss adding radon resistant features in your home, such as sealing or plastic sheeting. Radon testing in Portland can be performed by Clean Air Act. Our Portland radon testing technicians are dedicated to the highest quality of service, so give us a call today.