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Time to Clean Your Air Ducts

Do you think the air you're breathing indoors is cleaner than the air outside? You might want to rethink that, especially if your air ducts haven't been cleaned in a long time. Schedule and appointment now so that you can be sure to breathe clean air!

Do you think the air you’re breathing indoors is cleaner than the air outside? You might want to rethink that, especially if your air ducts haven’t been cleaned in a long time. Schedule an appointment now so that you can look forward to breathing clean air!

Studies have shown that indoor air can be anywhere from two to five times more polluted than outside air. Most disposable filters remove about 10% of these pollutants allowing 90% to enter the air system, even during the construction of a new home. The pollutants contain dust, pollen, mold spores, animal dander and much more. These materials collect in the furnace, air conditioner and duct surfaces, just as they do on the furniture and floor surfaces.

From Where does the Dirt in your Vents Come?

All inside air was once outside air, so all of the dust, chemicals, pollen, insects and mold spores in the outside air can be pulled into your central air system. People shed millions of tiny dead skin cells every hour. Cooking smoke, household insect sprays and personal care products are also a source of pollutants. Many construction materials, carpets, wood products and plastics give off pollutants as well. During construction or remodeling activities, many types of dust are produced and can find their way into your ductwork. If the duct components were stored outside prior to construction, they may have collected dust, rainwater and even mold before they were even installed in your system.

Clean Systems Use Less Energy

The air in your home circulates through the air ducts of your heating and cooling system five to seven times daily, carrying with it the dust and debris of everyday living. There are three major parts to your air system:

  • The supply and return grills;
  • The interior surfaces of the supply and return vents;
  • The furnace/air conditioner air handler.

All three components need to be cleaned periodically. If only one or two of the components are cleaned, the contaminants from the third component will rapidly contaminate the ones that were cleaned. Depending on the amount of contamination and its location, energy consumption could be increased. If the fan blades, evaporator coil or other control components of the system are heavily contaminated, the system may have to run much longer to cool or heat the occupied space, thereby wasting a lot of energy in the process.

Contaminants Lead to More Problems

Your furniture and floors are cleaned regularly but the duct surfaces are hidden from view and can only be reached by specialized duct cleaning equipment. These pollutants can migrate out into the room again, or become a food source for mold and bacteria, which can thrive in this dark comfortable environment from high humidity or moisture from the air conditioner or humidifiers. Biological growth can release mold spores or toxins into the air system.

Once an air system is thoroughly cleaned, it should remain clean for three to seven years if properly maintained. A standard disposable filter only stops about 10% of the airborne contaminants, allowing 90% of the dust in the room to flow back into the air system. To maintain protection against biological growth, your qualified duct cleaning professional may recommend applying an EPA-registered biocide annually.

According to the 55 (NADCA), the average six-room house collects about 40 pounds of dirt, dust and allergens in its ductwork every year. This accumulation of contaminants greatly decreases your system’s ability to effectively and efficiently operate. All of this can take a large, unwelcomed bite out of your wallet. So what are you waiting for? Give the pros at Above & Beyond Chimney Service a call to clear the air in your home today. We’ll enable everyone to breathe a little easier!

Converting to Gas Logs

What is Involved

When the weather turns cold, many people start thinking about converting their wood-burning fireplaces to gas logs. There is no denying that pushing a button or flipping a switch is certainly easier than bringing in logs and building a fire. However, it is important to have all of the information about the conversion before making any plans and setting them in motion. You also may want to consult with an experienced professional. We’d love to help you make the best decision for your home.

Converting a wood fireplace to one using gas logs isn't a DIY job. It is critical your chimney functions properly.

Converting a wood fireplace to one using gas logs isn’t a DIY job. It is critical your chimney functions properly.

For most people, the main factor that they are concerned about is how much the conversion will cost. This depends, in large part, on what exactly they are hoping to accomplish with the conversion to gas logs. A homeowner who wants their gas logs to produce a great deal of heat should expect to spend more. However, it may cost less than for someone who is more concerned with the ambiance than the heat. In addition, the more detailing the job requires, generally the higher the price as it will involve more labor to complete.

Easier, but Not Problem-free

It is true that a fireplace with gas logs is more convenient for most people than a woodburning model. This is because it is usually as simple as pushing a button on a remote control to have a roaring fire going in moments. However, it is important to keep in mind that a fireplace with gas logs requires very much the same maintenance as a woodburning fireplace. Both need to be cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep on an annual basis.

When choosing gas logs, some homeowners are surprised at how many different options are available. Regardless of what choice they finally make, it is vitally important that they are vented logs and not unvented logs. Vented logs allow smoke and other combustible materials to safely exit the home, while unvented logs will allow them into the home and quickly create a dangerous situation.

Even those who consider themselves to be handy around the house should not take on this conversion themselves. Dealing with gas can be extremely hazardous and must be done by someone who is properly trained for the job. Even if it seems that things worked out well, there could be dangers that an untrained person would never know about until it was too late.

It is important to research every aspect of the conversion before hiring a contractor and getting things rolling. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a great resource for all kinds of information concerning the fireplace and chimney. In addition to a number of great articles, their website features a tool that helps homeowners find certified professionals in their areas.

Many people love the convenience of gas logs in their fireplace but there is much more to the conversion that just convenience. Homeowners should understand the cost and the maintenance involved with this type of project before they get involved with it. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a great starting point for doing important research prior to making a decision.

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