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Why Trust Diamond Certified Indoor Air Quality Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Degree HVAC, Inc. (2016)

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose an indoor air quality company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified indoor air quality specialist. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated indoor air quality company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE San Mateo County – Air Quality – Indoor CATEGORY

Rick Lazzarini is a veteran of the HVAC industry and co-owner of Degree HVAC, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 530-0989 or by email.

Rick Lazzarini

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Rick Lazzarini: A Joint Venture

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

REDWOOD CITY — When asked how he became the owner of an HVAC company, Rick Lazzarini says it was a joint venture. “I started Degree HVAC in 2005 with my business partner, Trini Gudino. We originally met in trade school, where we spent five years training to be union pipefitters. One day, I told him I was thinking about starting my own business, to which he replied, ‘Really? So am I.’ One thing led to another and we decided to partner up to achieve our mutual goal. We started out in my garage; today, we’re in an 8,500-square-foot building.”

As co-owner of Degree HVAC, Inc., Rick says his favorite part of his job is improving his customers’ quality of life. “Most people don’t realize the difference a new, energy-efficient HVAC system can make in their energy bills and level of comfort. It’s very satisfying to upgrade a customer from old, inefficient equipment to a new system that’s going to make them happy for the next 20 to 30 years.”

A resident of Redwood City (where he lives with his wife, Christina, and their children), Rick expresses his appreciation for the temperature and temperament of his Bay Area locale. “The weather is always good, the people are nice and the atmosphere is pretty laid back. It’s California living, so we’re pretty fortunate to be here.”

Outside of work, Rick engages in a variety of active pastimes. “I have a Harley-Davidson, so I like to get out and ride whenever I can,” he says. “I go up to the Russian River a lot, both on my bike and with my family. I also like reading and having family get-togethers—I have a lot of family in the area, so we’re always celebrating birthdays and holidays.”

In his life and career, Rick espouses the wisdom of the Golden Rule. “My philosophy is, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’” he affirms. “In terms of my business, that means being sensitive to my customers’ budgets and never selling them something they don’t need. Not everyone can afford a new furnace in the dead of winter—which is when they usually break down—so we do what we can to provide affordable solutions to their problems.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Rick says he’d hit the road. “We live in a great country and I’d like to see more of it, so I’d probably take a long road trip around the United States. South Dakota, New Orleans, the Great Lakes…I have a pretty long list!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s one book that has been particularly influential for you?
A: The Bible.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Redwood Grill in Redwood City.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My Red Ryder BB gun.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music.

Q: What kinds of music do you like?
A: All kinds, from jazz to country to rock ’n’ roll.

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Simple Tip for Fresher Indoor Air

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REDWOOD CITY — When your HVAC system is running, it’s not only heating or cooling your home, it’s also circulating the air. That’s why in mild seasons like spring (when your system is seldom in use), your indoor air can become… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Tip for Fresher Indoor Air

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Complete Video Transcription:

REDWOOD CITY — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you want fresher indoor air, you’ll be glad to know there’s a simple way to get it. Today we’re in… Read more

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • Lennox

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  • American Standard

  • Bryant

  • Carrier

  • Trane

  • Honeywell

  • Payne

  • TLC

  • York

AllerAir Air Purification
Vornado Air Purifier
Holmes Air Filters
Aprilaire Air Filters
Filters Fast Air
Hunter Air Filters
Trion Air Filters
White Rodgers Air Filters
AccuClean Air Filtration Systems
Delta Air Cleaners
Coway Air Filtration Systems
Fresh-Aire UV Air Filtration Systems
Miracle Air Room Air Purifiers
Pure Air Filtration Systems
HealthMate Air Purifiers
Enviracaire Air Purifiers
Biozone Air Filtration Systems
Lennox Home Air Filters
Honeywell Air Cleaners & Filters
DuPont Air Filters
Trane Indoor Air Filter Systems
Bryant Air Filters
Oreck Air Purifier
3M Filtrete Air Filters
Ionic Pro Air Purifier
Alen Air Purifiers
IQAir HealthPro Air Purifiers
Austin Air Purifier
BlueAir Air Purifier

indoor air quality testing
electronic air cleaner
carbon air filter
permanent air filters
air cleaner replacements
smoke air filters
whole house air filters
asthma air purifiers
electrostatic air cleaners
filterless air purifiers
filterless air cleaning systems
whole house air purifier systems
air quality testing
indoor air pollution removal
air sterilizers
clean air delivery systems
home air purification system repair
home air filters
home air cleaners
commercial air filters
furnace filters
HEPA air purifiers
complete air filtration systems
air conditioner filters
allergen air filters
ultraviolet / UV air purifiers
single room air cleaners & purifiers
replacement air filters
ionic air purifiers

Atherton
Belmont
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Broadmoor Village
Burlingame
Colma
Daly City
East Palo Alto
El Granada
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ASA American Subcontractors Association (http://www.asaonline.com/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.com/)
CSLB Contractors State License Board (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)

EPA US Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/)
ACCA Air Conditioning Contractors of America (http://www.acca.org)
CPSC US Consumer Product Safety Commission (http://www.cpsc.gov)

Know What You Want
What to Know Before Hiring An Indoor Air Quality Testing Company in San Mateo County

Few things have greater long term bearing on your health and comfort than your indoor air quality system. Even in a culture obsessed with healthy living through diet and exercise, the purity of indoor air we breathe is often neglected. Because people typically spend more time at home than in any other single location, it is always worth the investment to ensure that your indoor air quality and climate control system is serving your needs every day.

However, every home environment, due to varying sizes and ages, brings its own specific set of climate control features and issues. Add to this that air quality is not visibly detectable, and most ductwork and climate control systems are hidden, and you’ll find that the process of achieving satisfactory indoor air quality is complex and mysterious to most consumers. Fortunately, a qualified San Mateo County indoor air quality contractor can assess the needs of your home and offer an array of modifications or installations to ensure that the air in your home is as clean and comfortable as possible. How do you find the right contractor for the job? You can start by doing your own basic assessment of your home and your needs.

Rate the Air Quality and Identify Air Quality Deficiencies in Your Home
Air quality contractors in San Mateo County address a great range of home air quality problems, but these problems fall into three basic categories: comfort, health, and energy efficiency. If your existing air quality system does not serve all of these areas to your satisfaction, you need not suffer through sub-par home air quality, and in the case of a toxic home environment, it may be downright dangerous to neglect the problem. Your first task, therefore, is to rate your system’s effectiveness in these three areas, and identify which you wish to improve.

Indoor Air Comfort in San Mateo County
The most common service that air quality contractors provide is improving the comfort of a home environment. Few things affect the enjoyment of one’s living environment as dramatically as temperature, humidity, and purity. It’s hard to put a price tag on the comfort and well being provided by such air quality upgrades. If your current heating or air conditioning system does not deliver maximum comfort, you need not resign yourself to a subpar home environment. There are several basic and cost effective steps you can take.

Improving Temperature Distribution
Industry studies routinely demonstrate that half of all homes contain rooms that are too hot or cold relative to the rest of the house, and basements are often 15 degrees cooler than the upstairs. Seasonal humidity or dryness also greatly affect the comfort of one’s home. Fortunately, these problems can all be identified and remedied with energy efficient, long term solutions that eliminate variations in temperature, even in the rooms are far from the climate control unit.

A common culprit in uneven heating or cooling is a leaky or inefficient duct system. The Department of Energy states that a typical duct system loses 25-40% of the furnace, heat pump, or air conditioning unit’s energy output. This rate of inefficiency not only impairs comfort, but also has a dramatic effect on a utility bill. Fortunately, if your home has uneven heating or cooling, a licensed San Mateo County air quality contractor can test and locate any duct leaks using an Infiltrometer.

An Infiltrometer is a device created by the Department of Energy that tests how airtight your house is and identifies air leaks by creating a 15 MPH wind on all sides of your home. Essentially, it is like a leak MRI for your home. It only takes about an hour, and once leaks are pinpointed, they can be sealed using fiber-reinforced elastomeric sealants. This quick solution pays for itself by lowering utility bills, and provides the added benefit of evening temperature distribution throughout the house.

A second remedy for improving temperature distribution is adding return air vents. A central heating or air conditioning system utilizes two different kinds of vents to circulate air through each room: supply vents and return vents. The supply vents supply a room with air heated or cooled to the desired temperature, while the return vents take air from the room and heat or cool it to the desired temperature, after which it is passed through the ducts back into the room.

A room with a supply vent but no return does not allow adequate circulation, but rather causes pressure to build, cutting down on the amount of air that can get into the room, and pushing more air into other parts of the house. This creates a secondary problem, causing the heat or air conditioning system to shut off by creating a build-up of hot or cool air in only one part of the house, before less ventilated areas have been heated or cooled to a comfortable level.

A third common cause of uneven temperature distribution is lack of proper insulation and the presence of thermal bypasses. Most homes have at least one area that does not have enough insulation to properly maintain the temperature of the room. This is especially prevalent in rooms near attics and garages. An Infiltrometer test will identify these low insulation areas as well, along with any gaps between walls, known as thermal bypasses. Thermal bypasses must also be sealed to avoid persistent loss of temperature stability.

Comfort: Improving Humidity Control
A second area that has a dramatic effect on air quality and comfort is the level of humidity, or alternatively dryness, depending on the season or climate. In areas of high humidity the most practical, cost effective solution is to reduce the number of moisture sources in the home. This calls for covering up any dirt floors, capping sump pump pits, checking for air leaks in basement walls, and installing better exhaust fans in bathrooms. Second, humidity levels can be improved using many of the same techniques contractors employ for improving temperature distribution-namely, improving the air tightness of a home, since during spring, summer, and fall in some areas, outdoor air is the biggest source of high humidity. This includes sealing any air leaks in walls, especially near garages and attics, and installing an appropriately sized air conditioning unit that will not shut down before dehumidification is complete. You may also consider installing an air conditioning unit with enhanced dehumidification features like humidity sensors, which wrings more moisture out of the air before shutting off. In extreme, high humidity areas, you may even remedy the problem by installing a high capacity ducted dehumidifier, which supplements the air conditioning unit by removing humidity from within the ductwork, then draining condensed moisture.

Alternatively, during the winter, or in especially dry areas, a humidifier can provide added comfort by infusing a desired amount of moisture into the air. Humidification systems come as freestanding, single room units or as central units installed and distributed via your HVAC system. Such units have the added benefit, in winter, of reducing heating costs, as humid air retains heat better than dry air. Your San Mateo County air quality contractor will be familiar with both the common problems and available solutions in San Mateo County, and help direct you to an HVAC system that takes into account factors like climate, season, and personal preferences.

Indoor Air Safety
While many prospective air quality customers call on contractors to help solve issues of comfort, which are the most easily detectable air quality issues, many of them discover that poor ventilation or humidity control over the long run can adversely affect one’s health, and sometimes pose serious consequences. Insulation, pets, furnishings, the type of heating, the outdoor environment, and the occupant’s lifestyle all have a bearing on the safety of indoor air quality. But just as comfort can be dramatically improved through a variety of HVAC renovations, so can the safety of one’s home environment be improved. Your licensed San Mateo County air quality contractor will provide you with all the options you need to ensure that the air you breathe every day is as clean and safe as possible for you and your family.

Installing Electronic Air Purification Systems in San Mateo County Homes
The purity of your indoor environment depends on many factors, including outdoor air, humidity, the presence of pets and smokers, and proximity to major thoroughfares and garages. One of the best ways to ensure that the air you breathe is healthy and safe is installing an air purification system. Unlike a filtration system, which simply traps airborne particles, a purification system uses ultraviolet light or electrical charge to actually clean the air, removing irritants, contaminants, viruses, mold, and other elements down to 0.01 microns in size.

In such a system, larger particles are first removed through filtration, then smaller particles are irradiated or electrically charged, which eliminates them from the air or “magnetizes” them to a purification plate, from which they are removed through periodic cleaning. This kind of system can also help your HVAC system function more efficiently, as it removes airborne debris and particles before they can clog up your ductwork. Ask your San Mateo County air quality contractor about the options and special environmental considerations relevant to your particular home environment.

Eliminating Contaminated Air Infiltration
One of the most common ways air quality is compromised is through air leaks. Contrary to popular belief, only 20% of a home’s air leaks result from windows and doors. 80% of all leaks come from improperly sealed garages, attics, crawlspaces, and basements, and chances are, the air that comes into a home through such leaks is not fresh outdoor air, but rather air contaminated by carbon monoxide, insulation fibers, mold spores, or radon gas. Ones again, an Infiltrometer test will precisely locate these leaks, and allow your San Mateo County air quality contractor to assess the best way to eliminate them.

Another common culprit for contaminated air is recessed can lighting. These ceiling fixtures provide dirt, dust, and insulation fibers with a gateway into the living environment. A qualified air quality contractor can inspect and seal or repair many light leaks. Attic openings pose a similar problem, but can be sealed through similar means as well.

Improving Pressure Balance, Mechanical Ventilation, and Air Filtration in San Mateo County
Pressure imbalances come from a lack of ventilation or air return mechanisms in rooms that are closed off from the rest of the house, or from unduly large exhaust fans and leaking ducts. The result is air pressure that is lower inside a room or section of the house than it is outside, which causes impure air to be sucked through air leaks in attics, garages, and basements. Such pressure balances can also backdraft appliances, leading to carbon monoxide leaks. Indoor home air pressure that is slightly higher than outdoor air pressure is optimal, as it prevents contaminated air from flowing in through leaks or porous materials.

New homes, by contrast, may be excessively air tight, preventing adequate circulation of fresh air. This issue can be remedied through improved mechanical ventilation that can range from powerful exhaust fans that remove moisture and odors to more complex and energy efficient units. One example is an energy-recovering ventilator, which preheats and cools incoming air using the indoor air that it exhausts. A ventilating dehumidifier is a second option, filtering, dehumidifying, and injecting outside air for improved circulation.

A final important step for optimizing indoor air purity and safety is installing an improved air filtration system. This may call for upgrading replaceable filters in your existing system, or purchasing freestanding, single room units. The most effective filtration method, however, is a permanent high efficiency air filtration system. This uses permanent filters that remove more impurities and invisible particles than replaceable filters, and is often lower maintenance, usually requiring only one cleaning per year. Though more expensive, they are more efficient and over the long run, cost less because of the reduced utility burden.

Installing More Effective Indoor Humidity Control in Your Home
Because long term health problems can result from both too much humidity or too little humidity, it is vital to maintain a healthy amount of moisture in your home environment. The CDC, EPA, and AMA all recommend humidity between 30-50% year round. During winter or in dry climates, lack of humidity can cause sore throats, dry sinuses, and infections. In this situation, your contractor will first seal all air leaks, then install a central humidification system that will maintain a constant, comfortable level of humidity. On the other hand, excessive airborne moisture during summer or in wet climates not only leads to discomfort, but also increases allergens, mold, and dust mites. Indoor toxic mold is an especially serious consequence, and prolonged exposure can cause allergic reactions, toxic reactions, asthma, infections, and respiratory damage. Mold will keep returning unless you identify the source, which could be any organic material, from drywall paper to wood to a food source. If your indoor environment is too humid, all air leaks should be sealed, and an enhanced dehumidification system should be installed, either as a feature on a new higher-powered dehumidifying air conditioning unit or as a ducted dehumidification system.

San Mateo County Home Carbon Monoxide Tests and Detection Systems
Carbon monoxide leaks, even at a low level, can have lasting health implications, and consumer detection units are less reliable and ill-equipped to detect low level CO leaks. They can come from a variety of sources, such as gas heaters, leaking chimneys and furnaces, gas stoves, automobile exhaust, or old boilers and furnaces. Such leaks are impossible to detect without the proper equipment and can lead to fatigue and chest pain at low levels, and impaired vision, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and death in high concentrations. The typical consumer CO detector only lasts 2-4 years and gradually loses its effectiveness, leaving you vulnerable to undetected leaks. A qualified San Mateo County air quality contractor will have the equipment to detect and locate even the smallest CO leak, eliminating this prominent home health hazard. Have a trained professional perform an annual inspection of your home to tune-up and clean any central heating systems.

Breathe Safer with Asbestos Removal Services
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was prevalent in insulation, and in many homes built before the 1970s, asbestos is often found around steam pipes, boilers, furnace ducts. It can also be used in vinyl flooring, roofing, and siding. A common misconception is that the presence of any asbestos poses a health hazard. In fact, the danger of asbestos only arises when it is tampered with or its condition deteriorates, which releases asbestos fibers into the air. Airborne asbestos fibers are known to increase the risk of lung cancer and cause scarring of the lungs. If you suspect your home contains asbestos and you are unsure of the condition of the material, the best thing to do is leave it alone and call an air quality professional who can assess the situation and provide removal services if necessary.

Energy Efficiency: Routine Maintenance and Replacement of Old Home Air Units
Many of the repairs and installations that improve the safety and comfort of your home air environment will also improve your air quality system’s energy efficiency. In addition to these steps, several maintenance procedures can greatly reduce your utility bills. In anticipation of extreme weather, before winter or summer, you might have your climate control unit tuned up. This routine maintenance will ensure that your unit does not break down mid-season, and provides the most efficient climate control service to you.

Your system may need to be cleaned, filters may need to be replaced, the ignition, exhaust, and blower systems should be checked, fan belts should be inspected and adjusted, and all safety sensors should be tested. Another important maintenance step is duct inspection and cleaning. Your ductwork is the delivery system for cooled or heated air, and if it is dirty or blocked, it cannot delivery air efficiently. The ductwork in many homes is plugged with years of built up mold, pet dander, dust, dirt, and airborne debris. Your ducts should be inspected at least every two years for defects and cleanliness, and your entire duct system should be cleaned every 5-7 years, depending on indoor air quality factors such as the age of your home or the presence of pets.

Heating or cooling systems experience wear and tear and reduced effectiveness with age. If your HVAC system has more than 12 years of use, and you don’t intend to sell your home for a few years, a new system may provide a safer, more comfortable and reliable alternative, and can be up to twice as energy efficient, saving you money in the long run.

Request an Infiltrometer Test From a San Mateo County Air Quality Specialist
As you can see, you have a huge range of air quality system repairs, upgrades, and replacement options at your disposal, and only you can assess which best fits your needs and your budget. A good way to start assessing your options is to request an Infiltrometer test from a local San Mateo County air quality contractor. This simple, standard test is relatively inexpensive, takes about an hour, and will identify air tightness and circulation problem areas that cause reduced comfort, safety, and efficiency.

Once you obtain the results of your Infiltrometer test, you will know whether the biggest culprits are leaky walls, an oversized heating or air conditioning unit, or poorly functioning ductwork. The licensed contractor can talk you through a range of options for addressing any problems that the Infiltrometer test reveals.

Look for Licensed Air Quality Contractors in San Mateo County

Be sure to look for San Mateo County contractors that possess both the necessary experience and contractor’s licenses for the specific type of work you need. All San Mateo County air quality contractors must be licensed by the California State Contractors License Board. The CSLB offers 43 different license classifications. You can verify a prospective contractor’s current license on the CSLB website.

Licensed San Mateo County air quality contractors service all the major San Mateo County cities.In addition, you can ask for references from previous customers, which go a long way in providing you the information you need to make the best-informed contractor selection.

Look for Diamond Certified Air Quality Contractors in San Mateo County
You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a San Mateo County air quality contractor that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified air quality contracting company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee.

Obtain Permits If Necessary

Under the California Building Code, no building or structure can be altered, repaired, or improved without obtaining a permit. Codes vary greatly by city and county, so you can find out more about your specific San Mateo County air quality project on the CSLB website, which details requirements by city and county. In addition, your licensed San Mateo County air quality contractor can help you identify whether your project requires a permit and how to obtain a permit, if necessary.

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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask San Mateo County Air Quality Contractors

Finding the right San Mateo County air quality contractor requires you to ask a few simple questions. Local air quality contractors have unique qualifications, specializations, and experience, so it is important to find a contractor that has the expertise in your specific area of need and will provide you with quality work in a timely manner.

  • Has the air quality contracting company earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  • How much experience does the air quality contractor have?
  • Is the air quality contractor experienced in and equipped to perform every aspect of your project (for instance, duct cleaning, sealing, air conditioning unit installation, and Infiltrometer testing)?
  • Does the contractor have any technical input on your specific project? What specific features would best accommodate your specific needs? What are the relevant considerations with regards to the age, size, and layout of your home?
  • Does the contractor have references you may contact?
  • What is the contractor’s timeline for bidding, contracting, and completing the work?
  • Does the air quality contractor have current workers’ compensation and liability insurance coverage?
  • Will the contractor provide a free written estimate?
  • How does the contractor price parts and labor?
  • What type of warranty does the contractor provide?
  • Will permits be needed for any installations or modifications? If so, who will be responsible for getting them?
  • Do the contracting company’s employees actually complete the work, or do they hire subcontractors for certain aspects of the job? Can the air quality contractor complete all phases of the job?
  • How and when do the contractors clean up after their work?
  • Will the contractors provide a written contract detailing costs, payments, and a plan for necessary unforeseen modifications?
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  • What To Ask References
    Learn from Previous Air Quality Company Customers in San Mateo County

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified air quality contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from an air quality contractor in San Mateo County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    Request a list of the contractor’s five most recent customers and contact them with questions about their experience with the contractor and satisfaction with the finished product. Some relevant questions include:

    • What was the nature of your air quality renovation project?
    • If you installed new heating or air conditioning units, what features, models, or manufacturers were you especially impressed by? Are there any additional features you wish you would have selected?
    • Was the work completed in a timely manner?
    • Were you satisfied with the quality of the work you received?
    • Did you encounter unanticipated costs or contractual disagreements?
    • Did you feel you received a fair price?
    • Why did you choose to work with this specific air quality contractor?
    • What were you most pleased or displeased with?
    • Would you hire this HVAC contractor for another project?
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  • Review Your Options
    Obtain and Compare Free Written Estimates of All Costs Involved in Your Project

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    After you have discussed your air quality needs in detail with prospective licensed San Mateo County contractors, you should obtain a complete, written estimate of charges for all labor and itemized costs of all materials involved. This may include sealants, cleaning services, Infiltrometer testing, new filters, and brand new heating, air conditioning, or dehumidification units. Be sure to also get an estimate of labor hours for each phase of the project along with the cost per hour.

    Write a Contract for Indoor Air Quality Testing and Cleaning Services

    Once you’ve decided which air quality contractor best suits your needs, the last step before work begins is to negotiate and sign a contract. A contract is a written legal agreement that outlines and protects the interests of both parties involved in the project. This indispensable step will make sure that both parties are clear about what a job will entail in costs, payments, and timeframe. Your contract should detail how and when the work will be done, which materials are required, and how much each item costs. A good contract can spare you legal headaches down the line.

    Start your contract by making a list of all responsibilities of both parties. For example, is the contractor in charge of purchasing and moving materials? Who is going to obtain the permits, if necessary? Next, solidify the agree-upon price for all the required materials and labor. This is where you can refer to your preliminary pricing research. This list may include sealants, cleaning services, Infiltrometer testing, new filters, and brand new heating, air conditioning, or dehumidification units. If you found materials cheaper elsewhere, tell your contractor where. Also, don’t be afraid to refer to estimates that other contractors provided you, if they are lower than the contractor you’ve selected. This can help in negotiating a better price for installation and cleaning services.

    Finally, review the estimate your chosen San Mateo County air quality contractor has provided and recommend any changes. Be sure to include a clause dictating that you wish to approve any costs above the agreed-upon amount. Finally, a guarantee of the quality of the work and all warranty time periods should be specifically noted. Once you have settled on a cost that fits your budget, a timeline in which the work is to be completed, and a schedule for submitting payments, your contractual agreement is ready and your contractor can begin your air quality improvement project.

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  • How To Work With
    Find and Hire a Good Air Quality Contractor

    Now that you have all the available information in front of you, including estimates, references, credentials, and if available, the endorsement of Diamond Certified, you’re ready to select the contractor that provides the best fit for your air quality project. First, consider the following questions:

    • Which indoor air quality contractor’s estimate is within your budget?
    • Which air purity contractor has the most experience for your particular job?
    • Which contractor’s Diamond Certified reports and previous customer responses are the most enthusiastic?
    • Which contractor is able to complete the work within your desired timeframe?

    With a Diamond Certified rating in your corner, you are well on your way to the safest, most comfortable and energy efficient home environment.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good San Mateo County Air Quality Client?

    It’s your air quality contractor’s responsibility to provide you with quality services using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your air quality improvement project too. Here are some steps to ensure that you’re a good customer when hiring a San Mateo County contractor.

    • Be clear and upfront with the contractor. Let them know what you want from your walk-in, the long-term outcome you’re expecting, and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Before you hire an air quality contractor in San Mateo County restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your air quality contractor if you should reach out to check on the progress or if he will contact you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you while they’re working in your home. The work will often move along more smoothly if your San Mateo County indoor air quality contractor can reach you with necessary updates, questions, or required work authorizations.
    • When your air purification system contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the project on schedule.
    • Pay for all materials and services promptly according to your contract.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Air quality contractors in San Mateo County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest, and easy to work with. Your good behavior as a customer creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go more smoothly and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Inspect and Verify the Completion and Quality of the Work Against the Written Invoice

The last step in your San Mateo County air quality improvement project is to make sure that the work you receive is the work you desired. It should be visibly apparent if your contractor has installed a heating, air conditioning, or dehumidification unit that is different from what you selected or that do not meet your specifications.

In addition to this, be sure to inspect that all parts are in working order. Check buttons, thermostats, and filters to ensure all new materials are functioning properly. If you notice odors or don’t see an improvement in the air purity or home humidity levels over time, follow up with your air quality contractor and let him or her know.

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Written Warranties
Save Copies of All Warranties in Writing

Most HVAC systems and services come with warranties, so if your brand new unit stops working properly after your San Mateo County installation, chances are the manufacturer or contractor is responsible for a replacement or repair. Manufacturer warranties on furnaces are typically close to 20 years, whereas an air conditioning unit typically carries a 10-year mechanical warranty. Refer to your written warranties for the terms of coverage and the specific parts and services for which the relevant parties are responsible. Then contact the manufacturer or contractor and describe the problem. If you are unable to get your warranty honored, contact the appropriate consumer’s rights advocacy organization.

Ask to keep copies outlining the details of all warranties and guarantees that apply to both the materials used in your air quality project and the service provided. Warranties should include:

  • A physical address for the manufacturer or service provider.
  • A list of all products or services covered by the warranty.
  • What your responsibilities include in the event that products or services received are defective.
  • The length and transferability of the warranty term.
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Top 10 Requests
Air Cleaning Service Requests for Local Air Quality Contractors in San Mateo County

Air quality projects address a wide range of areas and problems, from duct cleaning to asbestos removal. The most commonly requested San Mateo County air quality services are:

Air Duct, Garage, Attic, and Thermal Bypass Sealing 
Air duct leaks are common, and result in a drastic decrease in HVAC efficiency and much higher utility bills. Similarly, improperly sealed garages, attics, and thermal bypasses allow outdoor air to leak into your indoor environment, compromising temperature distribution and control. Your contractor can locate any leaks using an Infiltrometer test, then seal them using fiber-reinforced elastomeric sealants. This quick, relatively inexpensive fix pays for itself by lowering utility bills, and provides the added benefit of evening temperature distribution throughout the house.

Routine HVAC System Maintenance 
Just like an automobile, your heating and air conditioning system needs a regular tune-up, especially when heading into high activity seasons like summer and winter. In addition to ensuring that your unit is working as efficiently as possible, this will also reduce the likelihood that your HVAC system will break down when you need it most.

Installation of Energy Efficient Replacement Heating or Air Conditioning Units 
Like all other appliances, heating and air conditioning systems wear out over time, resulting in loss of efficiency, higher utility bills, and lack of effective climate control. Properly sized, energy efficient replacement units come with enhanced features such as humidity sensors, customized room-to-room control, and air purification/filtration options. In addition, they help eliminate uneven temperature distribution, improve ventilation, and can reduce pressure imbalances. If your HVAC system has more than 12 years of use, and you don’t intend to sell your home for a few years, a new system will provide a safer, more comfortable and reliable alternative, and can be up to twice as energy efficient, saving you money in the long run.

Asbestos Removal 
Asbestos is found most often in steam pipes, boilers, furnace ducts, flooring, roofing, and siding in homes built before the 1970s. The danger of asbestos only arises when it is tampered with or deteriorates, which releases asbestos fibers into the air. Airborne asbestos fibers are known to increase the risk of lung cancer and cause scarring of the lungs. If you suspect your home contains asbestos and you are unsure of the condition of the material, the best thing to do is leave it alone and call an air quality professional who can assess the situation and provide removal services if necessary. In some cases, if the asbestos bearing material is intact, tampering with and removing it poses a more serious health hazard than leaving it untouched.

Carbon Monoxide Testing 
Carbon monoxide leaks, even at a low level, can have lasting health implications, and consumer detection units are less reliable and ill-equipped to detect low level CO leaks. Leaks can come from a variety of sources involving combustion or burning, such as gas heaters, chimneys and furnaces, gas stoves, automobile exhaust, or old boilers. Such leaks are virtually undetectable without the proper equipment and can lead to fatigue and chest pain at low levels, and impaired vision, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and death in high concentrations. The typical consumer CO detector only lasts 2-4 years and gradually loses its effectiveness, leaving you vulnerable to undetected leaks. A qualified San Mateo County air quality contractor will have the equipment to detect and locate even the smallest CO leak, eliminating this common home health hazard. Have a trained professional perform an annual carbon monoxide inspection of your home.

Installation of Enhanced Humidity Control Systems 
Both low humidity and high humidity can contribute to health and comfort issues, so it is important that your air quality system monitors humidity levels at both ends of the spectrum. Mold and dust mites thrive in high humidity, but die when humidity stays below 50%. In humidity below 30% however mucus membranes can dry up, asthma may become aggravated, and nosebleeds or infections can result. An enhanced humidity control system will keep your indoor humidity levels within the 30-50% range suggested by the EPA, AMA, and CDC. Options include an enhanced dehumidification air conditioning unit for high humidity areas and seasons or a central humidification system for dry areas and seasons.

Installation of Enhanced Mechanical Ventilation Systems 
Pressure imbalances can result from a lack of ventilation or air return mechanisms in rooms that are closed off from the rest of the house, or from unduly large exhaust fans and leaking ducts. This causes impure air to be drawn into the room through any existing air leaks, or prevents even temperature distribution and air circulation. Having an appropriate balanced number of air returns and sends eliminates pressure imbalances and greatly improve air circulation and quality. They also help dehumidify and filter, likelihood the presence of mold and mildew.

Infiltrometer Testing 
This immensely useful test is often the first step in air quality improvement. An Infiltrometer is a device created by the U.S. Department of Energy to tests air tightness and identify air leaks. It is set up in an outside doorway and creates a 15 MPH wind on all sides of your home, using sensors to determine the precise locations of any internal air leaks. The test only takes about an hour, and once leaks are pinpointed, they can be sealed using fiber-reinforced elastomeric sealants. This quick fix pays for itself by lowering utility bills, evening temperature distribution throughout the house, and preventing contaminated air from infiltrating your home.

Installation of Air Purification Systems 
One of the best ways to ensure that the air you breathe is healthy and safe is installing an air purification system. Unlike a filtration system, which simply filters out airborne particles, a purification system uses ultraviolet light or electrical charge to actually clean the air, removing irritants, contaminants, pollutants, germs, viruses, mold, and other elements down to 0.01 microns in size. In such a system, larger particles are first removed through filtration, then smaller particles are irradiated or electrically charged, effectively removing them from the air.

Air Duct Cleaning 
Your ductwork is the delivery system for cooled or heated air, and if it is dirty or blocked, it cannot delivery air efficiently. The ductwork in many homes is plugged with years of built up debris, mold, mildew, pet dander, dust, and dirt. Your ducts should be inspected at least every two years for defects and cleanliness, and your entire duct system should be cleaned every 5-7 years, depending on indoor air quality factors such as the age of your home or the presence of pets.

 

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms Used By Local Indoor Air Quality Companies

In your quest to perfect your home air quality system, you’ll encounter a large volume of extra features and technical specifications. The following glossary provides definitions and descriptions of all the air quality related jargon you need to know:

air conditioner
The air-cooling unit that is typically located outside the home, and provides dehumidification, ventilation, and temperature regulation.

air handler
The part of an air conditioning system that regulates and directs air through ductwork, distributing air throughout the home.

airflow volume
The measurement of an air conditioner’s air output, typically in cubic feet per minute. This should be sized appropriate to the area of your home.

asbestos
A naturally occurring mineral that was prevalent in insulation in many homes built before the 1970s. Asbestos is found around steam pipes, boilers, furnace ducts, and can also be used in vinyl flooring, roofing, and siding.

backdraft
When air is drawn into a depressurized environment, for instance, a home or gas burning appliance, leading to potentially dangerous concentrations of gases.

blower
The part of an heating system that circulates heated air throughout the home.

Also known as: furnace blower

carbon monoxide
A deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas produced by burning of coal, wood, charcoal, and natural gas.

Also known as: CO, CO gas

CFM (cubic feet per minute)
The amount of air that flows through an air conditioning system.

compressor
The part of an air conditioner that pumps refrigerant into the system.

dehumidifier
The equipment or feature that extracts water content from the air by cooling air until water vapor turns to liquid condensation, which is then removed.

dry bulb temperature
A measurement of heat independent of humidity. A measurement of the raw heat content of air.

ducts
The system of pipes that transports air of the desired temperature from the heating or air conditioning system to the rest of the house.

Also known as: duct work, air ducts

energy efficient
The transfer of energy from one source to another without loss.

EPA
Environmental Protection Agency, a U.S. Federal government agency that promotes energy efficient, environmentally friendly equipment.

exhaust system
A pipe and/or fan system that expels or exhausts gases, directing them outside or away from a combustion environment such as those present in HVAC systems.

filtration system
A system that removes airborne particles of varying size from the air by trapping them in layers of various filtration materials.

Also known as: filter

flue
The part of an HVAC system or fireplace that vents out exhaust gases.

Also known as: flue pipe

furnace
A heating system that burns fuel to produce heat which is then distributed by air throughout a home.

humidifier
A device that adds water vapor or moisture to the air. Typically used in dry environments.

HVAC
Stands for Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning. Most HVAC contractors perform air quality related work.

ignition system
The part of a heating system that starts the combustion process by lighting a gaseous mixture.

Infiltrometer
A device created by the U.S. Department of Energy to test air tightness and identify air leaks. It is set up in an outside doorway and creates a 15 MPH wind on all sides of your home, using sensors to determine the precise locations of any internal air leaks

insulation
Material that blocks the transfer of heat, used in homes to surround hot water pipes and prevent heat from escaping the interior home environment.

ionization system
A device that purifies air on a microscopic level by using high voltage to electrically charge and “magnetize” airborne particles, causing them to attract to grounded surfaces like walls, floor, and ceilings, or surfaces housed within the purification device.

Also known as: ionic air purifiers, air ionizers

pressure imbalance
A state in which neighboring air environments are not equal in pressure, causing air to flow from an area of higher pressure into one of lower pressure.

purification system
A system that cleans the air either chemically (usually through ozone) or electrically (through ionization), rather than simply trapping airborne particles in a filter.

Also known as: air purification system, home air purifiers

return vent
The part of an air conditioning system that prevents a pressure buildup within an enclosed area by providing an “outlet” for air to counteract the supply vents which blow air into a room.

Also known as: air return

sealant
A water based or putty like material that provides air tightness within a home environment by sealing of ducts, garages, and other porous areas, and preventing infiltration and loss of heated or cooled air.

Also known as: fiber-reinforced elastomeric sealant, duct sealant

supply vent
The part of an HVAC system that blows heated or cooled air into an area of the house.

temperature distribution
Refers to the uniformity of the temperature in different regions of a home. Even distribution occurs when all areas of the home are heated and cooled equally, while uneven distribution occurs when some areas of the home are warmer or cooler than others.

thermal bypass
An area within exterior walls of the home in which there is no insulation, allowing heat to escape.

thermostat
A device that allows users to monitor and regulate the temperature and settings of an HVAC system.

ultraviolet purification system
A purification system that disinfects and purifies air using ultraviolet light, eliminating mold, bacteria, and other harmful airborne substances.

Also known as : UV purification, UV air purification

ventilation system
A system that facilitates the circulation of air into and out of a room or building.

Also known as: ventilation return, ventilation supply

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Local Air Quality Testing Companies

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified air quality contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose an air quality contractor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only air quality contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified air quality contractor.

Q: What is the difference between purification and filtration?
A: Air purification consists of actually cleaning, sterilizing, and/or disinfecting the air using ionization, UV light, or ozone to eliminate harmful bacteria and particles as small as 0.01 microns from the air. Filtration on the other hand, simply traps particles in a system of fibrous materials, and typically does not remove particles as small as those that purification systems remove.

Q: What should I do if I suspect that my home contains asbestos products?
Asbestos was used in many homes built before the 1970s, often found around steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts. It can also be used in vinyl flooring, roofing, and siding. A common misconception is that the presence of any asbestos poses a health hazard. In fact, the danger of asbestos only arises when it is tampered with or deteriorates, which releases asbestos fibers into the air.

Airborne asbestos fibers are known to increase the risk of lung cancer and cause scarring of the lungs. If you suspect your home contains asbestos and you are unsure of the condition of the material, the best thing to do is leave it alone and call an air quality professional who can assess the situation and provide removal services if necessary. It is possible that, if the asbestos product is still in good condition, the safest way to maintain air quality is to leave it as is.

Q: How long does a typical air quality project take?
This depends on the nature of your project. An Infiltrometer test only takes about an hour, while a complete HVAC system overhaul can take several weeks. Expect simpler procedures like air conditioner installation or duct cleaning and sealing to take no more than 2-3 days. Add to this a few weeks of additional product selection and shipping time.

Q: How often should I have my ducts inspected and cleaned? How do I know it’s time for a new HVAC unit entirely?
Depending on the environment you live in, your ducts should be inspected every 2-3 years and cleaned every 5-7 years. The older the home, and the more pets and smokers present, the more frequently the ducts should be cleaned. Most HVAC units begin losing efficient functionality after 10-12 years. Your qualified contractor can assess condition and efficiency of your unit and recommend repairs or upgrades.

Q: Will my air quality contractor be able to help me choose materials and obtain permits, if necessary?
Qualified, licensed air quality contractors will definitely offer expertise in the decision-making process, steering you clear of manufacturers that may not fit your budget or quality criteria, and lending their advice on various features and types of air quality systems. They will also know the ins and outs of obtaining building permits.

Q: How much can I expect to spend for an air quality project?
Once again, this varies widely, according to the nature of your project. An Infiltrometer test is often complimentary if you purchase other services from the contractor. A duct cleaning can cost between $100-1000, depending on the size of the area and the kind of equipment used. An air conditioning unit typically costs between $1500-5000, depending on the number of enhanced features and the size of the home area.

A new furnace typically costs $2000-5000, once again depending on the energy efficiency, features, and size of the home. A central humidifier/dehumidifier is typically $100-300, while filtration systems are $150-500, and purification systems range between $500-2500 or more, depending on the type of purification and number of features.

Q: What is a typical project payment schedule?
Most contracting firms will require 30-50% up front at the time the contract is signed, an additional 30-40% upon delivery of the materials, and the balance upon completion.

Q: What is a typical warranty for HVAC units and contracting services?
Many contractors guarantee their work for one to five years after completion of an installation. You can expect most heating units to come with a warranty of up to 20 years, while air conditioning units typically have shorter 10-year warranties. Warranties on purification and humidification or dehumidification systems vary widely.

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