DIY Series: How to Install Windows

by Cheney Hines

If you live in an older home, the presence of lead in your paint and asbestos in the walls can be a serious problem. These substances were commonly used as recently as the 1970s, before we realized how dangerous they were. Chips from lead paint or airborne fibers from asbestos can lead to blood poisoning, respiratory issues and even cancer. When you replace a window in your home, you need to be careful about exposure to dangerous substances such as these.

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How to Prepare for the Arizona Monsoon Season

by Cheney Hines

Arizona-Monsoon-SeasonThe Arizona Monsoon season — June through September — is coming for homeowners in the Southwest, and it is time to get ready. It is important to defend your home against the driving rain, pounding winds and environmental damage that can result every year from these weather events. Be organized and use a checklist to make sure the following areas are secured against monsoon conditions.

Drainage

Make sure that all of your drainage areas are secured, free of debris and working effectively. This includes grates, basins and underground pipes. Inspect all areas and schedule regular cleanings to keep them free-flowing. If you have a homeowners association, make sure it is doing due diligence when it comes to common drainage systems, and work with your neighbors on areas between your homes.

Roofs and Gutters

Gutters and downspouts get clogged easily with twigs, leaves and dirt. Clear them with tools and your hands (be sure to wear gloves), and flush them with a garden hose. While you are on the ladder, visually inspect your roof for problems with loose or missing shingles or any debris that needs to be removed. Be sure that your chimney is solid and does not need to be re-pointed.

Surrounding Grounds

Make sure that any hills or slopes around your property are clear of loose gravel, stones, brush or even soil. These can create mudslides during a severe storm, which can deal a lot of damage to your property. Any concrete swales around your home should be checked for damage, cracks and leaf or silt clogs.

After The Arizona Monsoon Season

Your preparedness extends after a storm, to make sure that if and when the next one comes, you are ready for it as well. Check the surrounding grounds for erosion issues as well as cracks or settling problems and have these addressed right away. Repeat all of the steps above to make sure that your roofs, gutters, drainage and grounds are all intact and solid.

When you engage in landscaping, pay close attention to the way your property was originally developed and don’t disrupt the patterns of flow in your land. Check your retaining walls to keep them solid and sturdy.

Asbestos Removal

If your shingles or walls contain asbestos, it may be a good opportunity to call a qualified asbestos removal company. Once used commonly as an insulator and fire-proofing material, we now know that loose asbestos can be a serious health hazard which can be dislodged during a monsoon. Breathing in airborne fibers can create many health issues, from emphysema to cancer.

You should never attempt to remove this material on your own. Only a qualified abatement company is able to take care of the process without placing your or the surrounding environs in danger.

Do you have experience with locking down your home against a monsoon? We are interested to hear any thoughts, tips or tricks you might have to offer. Drop us a line in the comments section below and let’s discuss!

Quality Aire’s Specialized Flooring Removal Equipment

by Cheney Hines

flooring-removal-equipmentAny demolition company can tear up a floor. What is important in this scenario is the equipment they use. That affects the efficiency of the job, as well as any collateral damage to other surfaces in the house. A cheap company using the wrong tools could mean a much higher bill in the long run.

Flooring Removal equipment

Quality Aire uses some of the best flooring removal equipment from on the market — made by National Flooring Equipment — to make sure your floor removal is a smooth process. These specialized tools make quick work of taking up flooring material while doing minimal, if any, damage to other structures. That way, you are only replacing what needs to be replaced while being able to save what is still in good condition. Here are just some of the tools Quality Aire uses:

Adjustable Handle Scraper

This tool is great for smaller spaces while still giving a lot of power. It can handle carpet, ceramics, adhesives and other surfaces. In addition, the angle of approach can be adjusted, so we can go as deep or as shallow as required to get all the layers you need taken up. Because of this feature, less force has to be exerted, meaning there is a far less chance of causing unnecessary damage.

All Day Battery Ride-On Machine

If you have a larger surface area that needs to be removed, we love using our all day battery ride-on machine. It can last at least 8 hours on a charge, and because it doesn’t use any kind of fuel, you don’t have to worry about us leaving behind noxious fumes or odors. It is able to handle more kinds of flooring, including hardwood. And with safety features built right in, such as being inoperable without someone in the driver’s seat, you can rest assured that the job site is being managed safely.

Hydraulic Scraper

The hydraulic scraper is similar to the adjustable handle scraper, but much more powerful. The self-propelled machine can handle the worst soft surfaces, like gummy carpet, rubber tile, solid vinyl, roofing materials, sports surfaces and more. Its hydraulic system means faster completion times because it can easily move forward and backward. Speed and torque can be easily adjusted to the size of the flooring area you need removed, adding to the safety aspect of our job.

Heavy Duty Hydraulic Scraper

This is the big brother of the hydraulic scraper and can handle even the toughest jobs. It is designed to cut through both soft and hard surfaces, like a hot knife through butter. Like the regular hydraulic scraper, the fact that this machine is self-propelled, both forward and backward, cuts down on the job time considerably. If you need the floor of a small space like a freezer or a bathroom removed, this is the tool we would use.

Without experience, operating this equipment can be extremely dangerous, both to the building and to you. If you need to get flooring removed in Phoenix or the surrounding area, be sure to contact Quality Aire today. We are experts in safely removing and disposing of unwanted flooring

How to Safely Remove Asbestos Flooring

by Cheney Hines

Asbestos-flooring-removalOne of the most common home improvement activities out there is installing new flooring. You may want to replace an old tile floor with hardwood, or you may simply want to repair and reface your existing material. Many people do not realize, however, that there are risks involved with tearing up old flooring, and care should be taken to protect your health and safety.

Asbestos in the Floor

Most people consider asbestos to be something that is in the walls, attics and ductwork of buildings. It is an insulation and fire retardant; certainly it is not something found in the floors. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Many flooring materials including asphalt, vinyl and adhesives can contain asbestos which were added during the production process to increase the strength and durability of the flooring.

If this asbestos becomes friable due to heat, water or even age, it can crumble and release particulates into the air. Breathing these particulates can present major health hazards and can even cause cancer.

Removing Asbestos Flooring

There are many risks involved in removing asbestos flooring, not the least of which is the aforementioned carcinogens in the dust and particles should the material crumble. When removing flooring which may contain asbestos, you should always seek the services of a qualified abatement company.

An abatement firm knows the right tools and methods to handle the disposal and extraction of hazardous materials like asbestos, lead and other toxic substances. They can ensure that the flooring is properly taken out and disposed of without polluting the air in your home.

Going It Alone

Again, removing this kind of flooring yourself is not recommended, but if you do decide to do it yourself, be sure that you wear the proper personal protective equipment such as a respirator, work suit, gloves, boots and goggles to keep the toxins from causing you harm.

Be sure that your work area is completely clear of any objects that could be contaminated by the foreign substances, and that it is extremely well ventilated. Cover doorways, walls, windowsills and the like with poly plastic and seal them with duct tape. Be sure all necessary tools and equipment are in the room with you so you will not track toxic materials into other areas of the home.

Clean-Up and Disposal

After you have removed the flooring, it is essential to thoroughly clean the area to avoid the potential of future exposure and contamination. Wipe down the entire area with a damp cloth, including equipment, tools and any disposable sheeting you used to cover doorways, windowsills and the like. Rinse and clean the water often. Use heavy-duty waste disposal bags to get rid of the offending material, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Clean and re-clean until everything is immaculate, and then shower and wash yourself thoroughly to remove dust and fibers from your skin. When disposing of the waste, either contact a local waste hauler or abatement contractor who can take the material to a landfill.
Handling asbestos is highly dangerous. If you are removing flooring that you suspect might contain this material, give us a call for help today.

When and Why to do Air Quality Testing

by Cheney Hines

Air-Quality-TestingAir quality concerns are not something many people think of in their everyday lives. The sheer variety of risks we face when driving, flying, working and playing are stunning. While there is not much we can do on a daily basis about air pollution as we go about our lives, we can exercise some control over indoor air pollution in our homes.

Growing Evidence

Over the past few years there has been an increasing body of evidence that shows the severity of pollution in our homes is much higher than previously thought. Since we spend most of our time indoors, the health risks can be great.
Those most susceptible to air pollutants include the young and elderly, and those with chronic illnesses. Ironically, these also tend to be those who are most exposed to indoor pollutants.

Sources of Pollution

Sources of pollution indoors are broad and varied. Particularly in a home that is not properly ventilated, foreign substances can back up and accumulate to levels which can pose health risks.

Some common sources of air contamination include:

  • Radon gas, which can enter the home through well water, or from uranium in the soil, or rock on which the home is constructed.
  • Tobacco smoke can be a significant health risk, even when no smoking is going on. The particulates and pollution from smoke can accumulate in carpets, curtains and even the general air in the home.
  • Mold, Bacteria and Viruses, also called biological contaminants, can build up in poorly ventilated areas, especially those that accumulate moisture.
  • Greenhouse Gasses like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are invisible, colorless and odorless, and can be deadly in high concentrations.
  • Household chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia and other cleaning products can create noxious and even toxic fumes which can linger after the product is used. Pesticides are also a common source of indoor air pollution.
  • Formaldehyde can be found in pressured wood products such as particle board and fiber board.
  • Asbestos and lead are commonly found in older homes in the insulation and paint. These materials can cause poisoning and cancer if ingested or particulates are inhaled. If you have asbestos insulation or lead paint in your home, you should have these substances removed by a qualified abatement company.

How to do Air Quality Testing

Keeping your home well ventilated is the first line of defense against indoor air pollution. This can be a problem for many, as homes are heavily insulated to keep heat in during the winter months, and cool air in during the summer. It is, then, important to open the windows and use fans or air conditioning units to keep air circulating in the home.

Clean or replace the filter in your furnace or HVAC unit at least four times a year. Have an air quality inspection done annually, or more often if you have had problems in the past. Never take indoor pollution problems for granted. You will be amazed at how much your quality of life improves when you clean up the air in your house! If you need help with air quality testing in your home, give us a call today.