12 Maintenance Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Maintaining a healthy home goes beyond dusting and vacuuming. When is the last time you checked your smoke alarms? How about the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent? Follow the tips below to make sure your family and home are ready for a happy, clean spring season.

Clean Gutters

Grab a ladder, and check your gutters for debris. Remove as much as you can with your hands (Don’t forget to wear gloves!). Remove any leftover gunk with a garden hose. Take off any nozzle and have a helper turn on the water when you’re ready. Shove the hose into the downspout to power out of gooseneck bends. Make sure your downspouts channel water at least five feet from foundation walls.

Scrub Walls, Baseboards and Outlets

Scrub all the walls — in the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas — with a sponge or brush and mild soap and water. This includes baseboards and outlets. Make sure to completely dry outlet covers before replacing.

Replace Filters

Tom DiPace/AP Images

Replace all filters including water, range hood and air vent filters. You should replace these filters every 3-6 months depending on the type of filter you have.

Clean Faucets and Showerheads

Unscrew the faucet aerators, sink sprayers and showerheads, and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with warm water.

Clean Out the Dryer Vent

Sarah Wilson / Getty Images

A clogged dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.

Wash Exterior Windows

Hire a window-cleaning service to clean all exterior windows.

Keep Allergens Away

Photos: Christopher Shane/Styling: Elizabeth Demos

Keep dust, mold and pollen at bay by decluttering your home, checking pipes for leaks and keeping the air clean. Follow these 5 steps to an allergy-free home>>

Check Foundation Vents

A house with a crawl space has vents along the foundation walls. The vents provide air circulation that helps prevent excess moisture and mold growth, and they prevent critters from taking up residence underneath your home. The screens collect leaves and other debris from fall and winter. Spring is a great time to clean them out and check for damage. Clean the vents by hand or use a shop vacuum. Repair any damaged screens — critters can get through even the smallest holes.

Clean the Grill

Frank Murray

Your grill has most likely collected dust during fall and winter. Help your grill live a long life with these maintenance tips, whether you have a charcoal or gas grill.

Prep Your Garden

Julie Forney

You can’t have a successful garden without good soil. Follow these tips on how to prepare your soil to help you grow a lush garden.

Test Smoke Alarms

Test smoke alarms and CO detectors, and change out batteries as needed. It’s cheap, only takes a few minutes and can save your family’s lives.

Clean Outdoor Furniture

Emilee Ramsier

Outdoor entertaining season is just around the corner. Learn the best ways to clean all outdoor furniture (recipes included), from plastic to canvas.

https://www.diynetwork.com/made-and-remade/fix-it/12-maintenance-tips-to-get-your-home-ready-for-spring

Messy Offices Expose Workers To Harmful Bacteria

Messy and cluttered office desk

A new survey has found office workers who don’t clean up their workspace put everyone’s health at risk, according to an article on the TechTimes website.

Printerland, a reseller of printers in the UK, surveyed more than 1,000 office workers and found two-thirds of them didn’t clean up their workspace regularly. One in 10 workers said they cleaned their desk once a month, while another 9 percent said they never cleaned their space.

By not cleaning, office workers in messy environments are at risk from harmful bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The messy office showed that bugs are present on office chairs (21,000 germs per square inch) and desks, desktops (20,961 germs per square inch), keyboards (3,295 germs per square inch), computer mice (1,676 germs per square inch), and office phones (25,127 germs per square inch), according to the article.

Plus, at least 90 percent of office mugs contain harmful germs on their surface, which 20 percent of them carry fecal bacteria. Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, recommended employees take their coffee mugs and dishes home every night to clean.

Proper cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched objects and areas reduces the spread of viruses by 80 to 90 percent. Gerba suggests cleaning office items, such as phones and desks with antibacterial spray at least once a week. In addition, office chairs should be vacuumed.

To reduce cross-contamination, cleaning personnel should make sure restroom are stocked with soap and towels. However, since restrooms may be taxed, hand sanitizer should also be made available. Setting up hand sanitizer stations in common areas, such as lobbies and breakrooms, as well as frequently used collaborative spaces, will encourage use, especially by occupants who feel they are too busy to visit the restrooms to wash hands when needed.

 

https://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/Messy-Offices-Expose-Workers-To-Harmful-Bacteria–22112

Big Commercial Fans Spin Indoor Air Quality Into the Future

Large commercial ceiling fans are typically seen as making a bold statement in a building’s design, but all you have to look at is the science behind the big fan to understand that these large fans are more than just for show and more about how they make people feel. Design is being redefined according to the human comfort of the end-user, and now more than ever, design is about helping the clients become more resourceful, resilient, and regenerative. From facilities as large as industrial warehouses to buildings as small as specialty coffee shops, large industrial fans in many shapes and sizes are being utilized—seemingly everywhere—to create environments where people want to gather and thrive.

The Crack Shack restaurant in Encinitas, CA uses their MacroAir fans to help circulate the nearby cool coastal air within the restaurant via their open air concept design.
The Crack Shack restaurant in Encinitas, CA uses their MacroAir fans to help circulate the nearby cool coastal air within the restaurant via their open air concept design.
Austin Beerworks is located the in vibrant city of Austin Texas. The MacroAir fan allows the brewery to be able to serve quality beer while keeping customers cool and comfortable. Large industrial ceiling fans are a great fit for breweries!
Austin Beerworks is located the in vibrant city of Austin Texas. The MacroAir fan allows the brewery to be able to serve quality beer while keeping customers cool and comfortable. Large industrial ceiling fans are a great fit for breweries!

Breathe Well, Be Well
MacroAir invented the large ceiling fan not just for cooling or heating but for a greater purpose; the fans create comfort which ultimately leads to human wellness. If you have ever been cooped up inside a building with stale and stagnant air, you are aware of how that feeling can slow you down a bit. In contrast, if you have worked in a building that has good air movement and ventilation, you can find yourself being more motivated, productive, and collaborative.

These large commercial ceiling fans help thermally equalize a space by moving air in the most efficient way possible. The fans use their long airfoil blades to move high volumes of air at low speeds, which provides a balanced airflow without the kind of disruptive air movement that could blow the hat off of your head. The end result is a gentle breeze that circulates the air, improving comfort and indoor air quality. This puts less demand on HVAC systems, reduces moisture, and, most importantly, makes the occupants of a building feel more comfortable.

What Do the Fans Do to You?

Lift Truck Center’s MacroAir fan acts as an efficient cooling solution for the company’s warehouse. Their MacroAir fan has a light kit with custom red blades to also stand out as an aesthetically pleasing touch to the space.
Lift Truck Center’s MacroAir fan acts as an efficient cooling solution for the company’s warehouse. Their MacroAir fan has a light kit with custom red blades to also stand out as an aesthetically pleasing touch to the space.

Think about the feeling you get when you are outdoors on a day when the air is crisp and the temperature is just right. You feel motivated to engage in outdoor activities because you feel good. Running, walking your dog, eating dinner outside, or socializing with friends is more appealing when fresh air is a factor. Large ceiling fans can help bring that feeling of being outdoors by getting fresh air into an indoor space through optimal air movement. When the fans create a comfortable environment, human comfort and productivity increase.

Crave Café in Australia had a MacroAir large ceiling fan installed into their café space. They are able to effectively cool off their customers and reduce the amount of energy spent on HVAC.
Crave Café in Australia had a MacroAir large ceiling fan installed into their café space. They are able to effectively cool off their customers and reduce the amount of energy spent on HVAC.

Fans for Human Wellness
The end user’s demand for buildings to provide a human wellness factor will only continue to grow. Next-generation airflow solutions—including large ceiling fans—are becoming a primary factor that not only impacts the entire built environment but also affect how occupants feel inside of various spaces. So when you walk into building and you feel a gentle breeze and the temperature feels just right, don’t forget to look up at and see the future of indoor air quality.

Article Source : http://www.architectmagazine.com/design/big-commercial-fans-spin-indoor-air-quality-into-the-future

IAQ Issues Flare Up Schools

Indoor air quality (IAQ) remains a topic of discussion in many institutional and commercial facilities as the general public pays greater attention to the role buildings play in both environmental friendliness and the health and comfort of occupants and visitors. For some building occupants, though, IAQ is more than a topic of conversation. It is a critical health consideration. Consider the case of two schools in Laurel Bay, S.C.

Run by the U.S. Department of Defense, Laurel Bay is made up of more than 1,000 homes near the Marine Corps Air Station and Parris Island bases. Its two oldest schools — Galer Elementary School and Bolden Elementary/Middle School — serve children of military families living on the bases, according to an article in The Beaufort Gazette. The military disputes that the school buildings impacted staff members’ health, pointing to tests done in 2011 and 2012 that showed no dangerous levels of a known carcinogen, according to standards set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Learn more about the most common sources of IAQ problems.

But under different standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, three rooms in one of the schools had excessive levels of benzene. Experts say EPA standards are more protective of students’ and teachers’ health than OSHA’s. An exact number, or even an estimate, of Laurel Bay teachers who had serious medical conditions while working in the schools was unavailable. Neither union officials who represent the staff members nor a spokeswoman with the Department of Defense schools division would provide an estimate to the Packet and Gazette in 2010.

Read about the role of technology and training in preventing IAQ issues.

“The investigators indicated higher-than-average breast cancer diagnosis in the years prior to the study,” says Department of Defense Education Activity spokeswoman Elaine Kanellis. “No other major medical trends have been reported recently.”

In 2010, a number of teachers and other staff at both Galer and Bolden schools approached their union, alarmed by the number of employees being diagnosed with serious illnesses and infertility issues. About 80 staff members worked in the two schools around that time. The military said it did not know how many employees requested an investigation into the schools, though Kanellis told the Packet and Gazette that the number is “believed to be as many as nine.”

In the summer of 2010, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ruled out contamination at the schools from drinking water or asbestos.

Worries about the schools reappeared last January. That is when the wife of a U.S. Marine previously stationed at Parris Island posted the YouTube video, describing the 2015 leukemia diagnosis of her daughter, Katie Whatley. Amanda Whatley’s family lived on Laurel Bay from 2007 until 2010, and she questioned the connection the base played in her daughter’s diagnosis.

Article Source: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/iaq/tip/IAQ-Issues-Flare-Up-Schools–40536

Air Tight Buildings May Not Provide Best Environment for Employees

Some modern workplaces have gotten so efficiently air-tight and crowded that they could be making us less productive.That’s partly our colleagues’ fault: Adults breathe out a continuous (yet tiny) stream of CO2, which adds up to around 2 pounds every day.

On the ground outside, carbon dioxide concentrations typically hover between 250 and 500 parts per million, depending on how much pollution is around. Indoors, CO2 concentrations can be a bit higher, though it varies from place to place.

But extra CO2 can have a measurable effect on how well people accomplish cognitively high-level tasks at work.

A recent study by researchers from Harvard, SUNY and Syracuse suggests that when people breathe in too much carbon dioxide at their desks, their performance suffers. That jives with what brain researchers know about carbon dioxide: more CO2 causes brain metabolism to plummet and neural activity to take a dive.

That study got the science team at Business Insider wondering how much CO2 is in the air we’re breathing at work. So we conducted a test in our office to determine whether we, too, are being impacted by elevated carbon dioxide levels.

Fortunately, those results also turned out to be out well below worrisome CO2 levels.

Fortunately, those results also turned out to be out well below worrisome CO2 levels.

There was a little more CO2 wafting around our desks — slightly less than 500 ppm — but that’s still an acceptable level for work.

Clearly, we can’t blame any lack of productivity on our office air.

But we weren’t satisfied with a single result. So we headed into the middle of the crowded newsroom for a second test.

But we weren't satisfied with a single result. So we headed into the middle of the crowded newsroom for a second test.

Roughly 100 BI employees were hard at work and breathing steadily.

Our test involved sucking air into a syringe and then pushing it out into a CO2-measuring vile built for greenhouses. As it turned out, our conference room air was performance-friendly.

Our test involved sucking air into a syringe and then pushing it out into a CO2-measuring vile built for greenhouses. As it turned out, our conference room air was performance-friendly.

CO2 concentrations hovered around 300 parts per million — about the same concentration of carbon dioxide found in the great outdoors. Very conducive to good work.

First we tested the CO2 concentrations in a conference room.

First we tested the CO2 concentrations in a conference room.

We expected that the CO2 level in an empty, confined space like this might differ from our open-office newsroom, where we work and breathe together all day. Because there aren’t as many people in conference rooms ‘outgassing’ into the air, we figured there might be less CO2.

Then again, a meeting room can hold lots of groups throughout a busy day, and all those people expel carbon dioxide along with their opinions and presentations. A poorly ventilated conference room might be a perfect spot for some higher-than-ideal CO2 concentrations to brew.

Ultimately, designers and architects adopted new building ventilation standards to make sure that there’s enough fresh air indoors.

Ultimately, designers and architects adopted new building ventilation standards to make sure that there's enough fresh air indoors.

We were desperate to know how our office fared.

Indoor carbon dioxide became a problem in the 1970s, when designers began making buildings more airtight. People started reporting feeling ill and less productive at work. The term ‘sick building syndrome’ was born.

Indoor carbon dioxide became a problem in the 1970s, when designers began making buildings more airtight. People started reporting feeling ill and less productive at work. The term 'sick building syndrome' was born.

Exposure to higher-than-average levels of carbon dioxide, concentrations upwards of 2%, can leave exposed individuals feeling faint, breathless, and dizzy.

In more serious cases, taking in too much carbon dioxide can put people in a coma or kill them.

In the study, 24 workers spent six days working at different CO2 concentrations. The participants were plucked from a range of professions, including engineers, marketers and programmers. The results from the small group suggested that even a slightly elevated CO2 level can have an impact on how well people work.

In the study, 24 workers spent six days working at different CO2 concentrations. The participants were plucked from a range of professions, including engineers, marketers and programmers. The results from the small group suggested that even a slightly elevated CO2 level can have an impact on how well people work.

The researchers tested the participants with a range of decision-making tests at the end of each day.

On some days, workers went about their business in rooms where CO2 was circulating at 550 parts per million. On others, the concentration hovered at 945 ppm, and on the rest, they subjected participants to a high-carbon dioxide condition, at 1400 ppm. (The Centers for Disease Control generally considers places with CO2 levels above 1200 ppm ‘inadequately ventilated.’)

Study participants working under the heaviest concentration of CO2 performed 50% worse on cognitive tasks than they did in the low 550 ppm scenario. And when the workers were working in rooms with the medium CO2 concentrations (945 ppm), their cognitive test scores were 15% lower.

In other words, the researchers found that a little extra CO2 can make you act a lot dumber.

Article Source:https://www.businessinsider.in/The-air-you-breathe-in-your-office-can-have-major-impacts-on-your-performance-so-we-tested-ours/In-the-study-24-workers-spent-six-days-working-at-different-CO2-concentrations-The-participants-were-plucked-from-a-range-of-professions-including-engineers-marketers-and-programmers-The-results-from-the-small-group-suggested-that-even-a-slightly-elevated-CO2-level-can-have-an-impact-on-how-well-people-work-/slideshow/61597495.cms