Recent Posts

Why YOU should recycle

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

Alabama's Recycling Economy

?During 2011, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) determined that Alabama spent $25 million to throw away over $193 million worth of recyclable materials.

According to the Alabama Solid Waste Management Plan of 2008, the total average daily solid waste generated by Alabamians is9.9 pounds per person, compared with the national average of 4.5 pounds. In 2010, the EPA MSW Characterization Study Report stated the total average daily solid waste generated by Alabamians is 6.3 pounds per person, compared with the national average of 4.3 pounds per person.

A 2016 Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC) study determined that Alabama is home to 42 manufacturers who rely on recycled content feedstock. These companies generate more than $7.8 billion in yearly sales and employ more than 17,350 Alabama citizens directly working in the manufacture of recycled content products.

With more than 300 employees, KW Plastics in Troy, Alabama is the world's largest recycler of HDPE and PP plastic resins. Currently, KW receives enough plastic from Alabama to run the plant for only two days out of every year. Source: KW Plastics.

The Barton, Alabama SCA Tissue Plant recycles roughly 250,000 tons of paper per year. This is equivalent to almost 3% of the state's waste generation. Source: SCA Tissue/State of Alabama.

If Alabama recycled just 10% more materials each year, the potential economic impact would equate to over 1,400 jobs, over $66 million annual personal income, and $3 million annual state tax revenue. Source: SERDC.

Landfills generate revenue by imposing "tipping fees" when waste is placed in a facility. These fees average about $25/ton in Alabama. The national average is $45/ton, whereas some states, such as Vermont, charge upwards to $72/ton. Source: State of Garbage in America.

US Waste

Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic beverage bottles every hour.

The United States of America is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.

Americans toss out enough aluminum every 3 months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2 billion trees per year.

Every month, we throw out enough glass bottles and jars to fill up a giant skyscraper.

Manufacturers produce more than 15 million tons of expanded polystyrene (aka, StyrofoamTM) each year, but we recycle less than 1% of it.

According to theEPA, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 24% of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.

The highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio (near Cincinnati) is "Mount Rumpke." It is actually a mountain of trash at the Rumpke sanitary landfill towering 1045 ft. above sea level.

The US population discards each year 16 billion diapers, 1.6 billion pens, 2 billion razor blades, and 220 million car tireseach year.

Recycling & Energy

Recycling aluminum requires 95% less energy than making aluminum from raw materials, and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.

Only 10% of the 140.3 million cell phones retired in 2007 were recycled. If we recycled all of the cell phones retired each year, we would save enough energy to power 18,500 homes for a year.

Recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,657 American homes in a year.

Recycling paper takes 60% less energy than making paper form raw materials.

Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.

Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials.

Over a ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass recycled, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar. Source: Keep America Beautiful

The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.

Courtesy of: aeconline.org

NADCA

6/27/2017 (Permalink)

NADCA had some fantastic frequently asked questions so I had to share...

Are there any health benefits that come from HVAC system cleaning?

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been shown to collection a variety of contaminants such as mold, fungi, bacteria and very small particles of dust that have the potential to affect overall health, The removal of such contaminants from the HVAC system and home should be considered one component in an overall plan to improve indoor air quality.

How can I determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective?

The best way to determine if the HVAC system cleaning was effective is to perform a visual inspection of the system before and after cleaning. If any dust or debris can be seen during the visual inspection, the system should not be considered cleaned. While you can perform your own visual inspection using a flashlight and mirror, a professional cleaning contractor should be able to allow you better access to system components and perhaps the use of specialized inspection tools. In addition, following the Residential Cleaning Checklist can help to ensure a top quality job.

How often should residential HVAC systems be cleaned?

 

Frequency of cleaning depends on several factors, not the least of which is the preference of the homeowner. Some of the things that may lead a homeowner to consider more frequent cleaning include:

  • smokers in the household
  • pets that shed high amounts of hair and dander
  • water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
  • residents with allergies or asthma who might benefit from a reduction in the amount of indoor air pollutants in the home’s HVAC system
  • after home renovations or remodeling
  • prior to occupancy of a new home.

How should a residential HVAC system be cleaned?

The most effective way to clean air ducts and ventilation systems is to employ source removal methods of cleaning. This requires a contractor to place the system under negative pressure, through the use of a specialized, powerful vacuum. While the vacuum draws air through the system, devices are inserted into the ducts to dislodge any debris that might be stuck to interior surfaces. The debris can then travel down the ducts to the vacuum, which removes it from the system and the home.

What are antimicrobial chemicals and why would they need to be used?

Antimicrobial chemicals are applied by some companies to the interior surface of the air ducts to treat microbial contamination such as fungi (mold), viruses or bacteria. Before any antimicrobial chemicals are used, the system should be thoroughly cleaned. It is critical that any antimicrobial treatment used in your system be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specifically for use in HVAC systems. The use of antimicrobial chemicals is an additional service that is not part of a typical air duct cleaning project. Review the NADCA White Paper on Chemical Applications in HVAC Systems for more information. 

What criteria should I use when selecting an HVAC system cleaning contractor?

You should interview as many local contractors as possible. Ask them to come to your home and perform a system inspection and give you a quote. To narrow down your pool of potential contractors, use the following pre-qualifications:

  • Make sure the company is a member in good standing of NADCA.
  • See if the company has been in business long enough to have adequate experience.
  • Get proof that the company is properly licensed and adequately insured.
  • Verify that the company is certified by NADCA to perform HVAC system cleaning.
  • Make sure that the company is going to clean and visually inspect all of the air ducts and related system components.
  • Avoid advertisements for “$99 whole house specials” and other sales gimmicks.
  • Ask if the company has the right equipment to effectively perform cleaning, and if the company has done work in homes similar to yours.
  • Get references from neighbors if possible.

You can also use the Residential Cleaning Checklist as part of the contractor selection process. 

What is the normal price range for the air duct cleaning service?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that “duct cleaning services typically – but not always – range in cost from $450 to $1,000 per heating and cooling system, depending on the services offered, the size of the system to be cleaned, system accessibility, climactic region and level of contamination” and type of duct material. Consumers should beware of air duct cleaning companies that make sweeping claims about the health benefits of duct cleaning, as such claims are unsubstantiated.

Consumers should also beware of “blow-and-go” air duct cleaning companies. These companies often charge a nominal fee and do a poor job of cleaning the heating and cooling system. These companies may also persuade the consumer to pay for unneeded services with and/or without their permission. (If you have knowledge of a practicing “blow-and-go” air duct cleaner, contact your local Better Business Bureau to report the company, and your local, federal and state elected officials to demand legislation.)

What kind of equipment is best for cleaning - truck mounted vacuums or portable vacuums?

NADCA does not endorse one kind of equipment over another. There are two main types of vacuum collection devices: (1) those mounted on trucks and trailers, and (2) portable units. Truck/trailer mounted equipment is generally more powerful than portable equipment. However, portable equipment can often be brought directly into a facility, allowing the vacuum source to be located closer to the ductwork. Both types of equipment will clean to ACR, the NADCA standard. All vacuum units should be attached to a collection device for safe containment prior to disposal. Any vacuum collection device which exhausts indoors must be HEPA filtered. A vacuum collection device alone will not get an HVAC system clean. The use of methods and tools designed to agitate debris adhered to the surfaces within the system, in conjunction with the use of the vacuum collection device(s), is required to clean HVAC systems. (For example: brushes, air whips and “skipper balls.”)

Why should I choose a NADCA member to have my air ducts cleaned?

NADCA members have signed a Code of Ethics stating they will do everything possible to protect the consumer and follow ACR, the NADCA Standard, for cleaning to the best of their ability. Find a NADCA professional near you. Air duct cleaning companies must meet strict requirements to become a NADCA member. Among those requirements, all NADCA members must have a certified Air System Cleaning Specialist (ASCS) on staff who has taken and passed the NADCA certification examination. Passing the exam demonstrates extensive knowledge in HVAC design and cleaning methodologies. ASCSs are also required to further their industry education by attending seminars in order to maintain their NADCA certification status. View the NADCA Code of Ethics.

Will HVAC system cleaning reduce our home energy bills?

Research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has demonstrated that HVAC system cleaning may allow systems to run more efficiently by removing debris from sensitive mechanical components. Clean, efficient systems are less likely to break down, have a longer life span and generally operate more effectively than dirty systems.

Courtesy of nadca.com

Seasonal Watering Tips

6/20/2017 (Permalink)

INDOOR WATERING TIPS:

Don’t forget to check your faucets for leaks ?! Leaks waste water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Everyday Water Use
    • Do not let the faucet run while brushing your teeth. Just wet your toothbrush and fill a small glass with water for rinsing out your mouth.
    • Limit showers to no longer than 5-minutes.
    • Select the appropriate water level for the size of your load of laundry or dishes.
Watering Plants
    • Rotate plants toward the light whenever you water them to keep them growing straight.
    • Water hanging plants with ice cubes to keep water from spilling out of the bottom.
    • Use pots made from non-porous material such as plastic to help plants retain moisture longer

OUTDOOR WATERING TIPS:

Lawn care When the weather is hot, outdoor water usage increases significantly. The good news is that most lawns can thrive with less water than you think.

When to Water
    • To determine if your grass needs watering, step on it. If it springs back up, it doesn’t need watering. If the blades of the grass lie flat, it’s time to water.
    • Turn the sprinklers on at a low speed to avoid wasteful run-off. Remember, over-watering promotes shallow root growth, making your lawn less hardy.
    • Water early in the morning or in the evening after the sun has set to help prevent losing water to evaporation. As much as 30% of water can be lost to evaporation.
    • If using automatic sprinklers, install a rain sensor to avoid watering on rainy days.
How to Water
    • Water slowly and thoroughly during cool, windless hours, and as infrequently as possible. Never water to the point of run-off.
    • If necessary, water in several short sessions rather than one long one. Three ten-minute sessions spaced 30 minutes apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture.
    • Let grass grow taller in hot weather. Most southern lawns will thrive if they receive one inch of water per week during the summer.

For more information check out www.bwwb.org

Duct Cleaning

6/13/2017 (Permalink)

Duct Cleaning Process:

  • The process begins by using patented equipment including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct's shape an diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
  • Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container.
  • Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the environment clean.
  • As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor to microbial concerns.
  • Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.

Duct cleaning may not always be necessary. SERVPRO of Birmingham will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This inspection can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.

In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, SERVPRO of Birmingham can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.

Alabama Forest Facts

5/5/2017 (Permalink)

When was the last time you remember hearing of or seeing a wildfire in Alabama.. especially the Birmingham area. You usually think of tornadoes and flooding when you think of natural disasters. But look at these facts as of May 2017:


Jefferson County:


Last 30 Days: 6 Wildfires & 184.00 Acres


Year To Date: 26 Wildfires & 363.55 Acres


Shelby County:


Last 30 Days:6 Wildfires & 8.50 Acres


Year To Date:12 Wildfires & 111.50 Acres


Per The Alabama Forestry Commission:


Wildfire Prevention is an important aspect of Forestry Commission operations. A good fire prevention program makes citizens aware of fire hazards and leads to a reduction in the number of wildfires in the state. The Forestry Commission actively works with local fire departments, schools and civic groups to present messages on safe outdoor activities and how to keep an area “fire-safe.”


Make sure you know the phone number to your local fire department in case of emergencies! SERVPRO of Birmingham covers ALL of Jefferson and Shelby Counties, so if you have smoke and/or fire damage whether from a wildfire or any other source; give us a call! 


http://www.forestry.alabama.gov/

Flood Facts

5/1/2017 (Permalink)

Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States.

There is always potential for flood damage no matter where you live. According to the American Red Cross floods cause more damage in the United States every year than any other weather related disaster. The American Red Cross offers these flood safety tips:

-Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.

-If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are riding rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

-Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water. 

If a flood occurs and affects you, call SERVPRO of Birmingham.  Even minor floods have potential to cause major damage. We are faster to ANY size disaster. Let us help you get your life back in order. 

What to do until SERVPRO arrives!

5/1/2017 (Permalink)

If you have a water damage from a clean source such as water supply lines, sink overflows, tub overflows, or appliance malfunctions, here are some things to do before SERVPRO arrives.

  • Shut off the source of the water.

  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if the access panel is safe from electrical shock.

  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting

  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items

  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying

  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting

  • Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.

  • Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors

  • Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors

Seasonal watering tips

5/1/2017 (Permalink)

INDOOR WATERING TIPS:


Don’t forget to check your faucets for leaks ?! Leaks waste water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Everyday Water Use


  • Do not let the faucet run while brushing your teeth. Just wet your toothbrush and fill a small glass with water for rinsing out your mouth.

  • Limit showers to no longer than 5-minutes.

  • Select the appropriate water level for the size of your load of laundry or dishes.


Watering Plants


  • Rotate plants toward the light whenever you water them to keep them growing straight.

  • Water hanging plants with ice cubes to keep water from spilling out of the bottom.

  • Use pots made from non-porous material such as plastic to help plants retain moisture longer


OUTDOOR WATERING TIPS:


Lawn care When the weather is hot, outdoor water usage increases significantly. The good news is that most lawns can thrive with less water than you think.


When to Water


  • To determine if your grass needs watering, step on it. If it springs back up, it doesn’t need watering. If the blades of the grass lie flat, it’s time to water.

  • Turn the sprinklers on at a low speed to avoid wasteful run-off. Remember, over-watering promotes shallow root growth, making your lawn less hardy.

  • Water early in the morning or in the evening after the sun has set to help prevent losing water to evaporation. As much as 30% of water can be lost to evaporation.

  • If using automatic sprinklers, install a rain sensor to avoid watering on rainy days.


How to Water


  • Water slowly and thoroughly during cool, windless hours, and as infrequently as possible. Never water to the point of run-off.

  • If necessary, water in several short sessions rather than one long one. Three ten-minute sessions spaced 30 minutes apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture.

  • Let grass grow taller in hot weather. Most southern lawns will thrive if they receive one inch of water per week during the summer.


For more information check out www.bwwb.org


 

What's the difference?

5/1/2017 (Permalink)

Lately there has been flooding all over the United States: if you are unfamiliar with the difference between a flash flood warning, flood warning, and flood advisory; then read below! 

 

What is the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service?

  • Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

  • Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

  • Flood Watch: Be Prepared:A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

  • Flood Advisory: Be Aware: An Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Information from http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/

What to do AFTER a water damage

4/28/2017 (Permalink)

Understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical. 

Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. Gray water is slightly contaminated water; clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, and chemicals. Black water is usually caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should ALWAYS be handled by a trained professional.

Make sure you...

-Shut off the water source if possible or contact someone to do it

-Turn off circuit breakers if safe from potential electrical shock. DO NOT enter rooms with standing water.

-Remove excess water by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing tabletop items. Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.

-Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions.

-Move any paintings, art, computers, documents, and other items of value to a safe place.

-Do not leave any books, newspapers, or magazines on wet carpet.

-Do not use your household vacuum cleaner since there is potential for electrical shock. 

-Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and do not enter the room if the ceiling is sagging.