Fixing The Problem

[Editor’s note: This letter is in reference to John R. Hall’s June 17 column, “This Guy Doesn’t Like Forced-Air Systems; What Say You?”]

Regarding John R. Hall’s column on Jeffrey May’s book, My House is Killing Me!, I believe Mr. May is simply misinformed. Doesn’t he realize that many, if not most, of the indoor air quality that cause allergy and asthma problems are caused by items within the home itself?

Certainly many of the synthetic manufactured items like carpets, drapes, etc., are capable of emitting fibers which can cause all types of air quality problems. What about the kitchen and foods we bring into the home? What about pets and pet hair? What Mr. May says is actually the opposite of the truth. What we can offer with a forced-air circulating heating and/or air conditioning system is the ability to filter, deodorize, and with some of the new light systems, do a great deal to purify the air.

If a home had no circulation system, there would be no movement of the air nor would there be a method to remove the contaminants that would be in the air. Can you imagine how stale and uncomfortable a home would be without any method of filtering and cleaning the air?

We know that in the normal course of coming and going from our homes, we bring in thousands of items which emit different amounts and types of contaminants into the air we breathe. If we didn’t have an air circulation system, we would have no way of removing these contaminants. With all of the new filtering and air cleaning systems that are available, we can remove most of the harmful effects of these contaminants.

If we listen to Mr. May and suggest that our customers live without forced-air systems, those contaminants are going to remain in the home with no way of collecting and then reducing or eliminating them.

I don’t believe Mr. May has thoroughly researched the positive effects that an HVAC system has on the indoor air quality of a home. The problem of air quality in the home isn’t created by a forced-air system — it is created by the lifestyle of the people in the home. Our industry doesn’t create the problem, but we do a great deal to eliminate it.

Butch Welsch, Welsch Heating & Cooling Co., St. Louis, MO

Looking For Stachybotrys

In the first installment of the mold series [“Mold and HVACR Systems,” June 24], I was quoted as saying, “It is rare to find this mold in a heating system.”

In fact, of the hundreds and hundreds of dust samples I have taken from furnaces, A/C and duct systems, over 75% contained very significant mold growth, including extensive networks of hyphae — most often due to Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus — but not Stachybotrys. Microbial problems in these systems are almost always due to inadequate maintenance.

Jeffrey May, Author of My House is Killing Me! The Home Guide for Families with Allergies and Asthma, J. May Home Inspections Inc., Cambridge, MA

Good Relations

Dale Watterson brings up a good subject [in his letter “What Do You Do When The Alarm Sounds?” May 20]: Who should pay for the cost to run the response call when a CO detector alarms? One solution is the service agreement. Our customers who own an energy savings agreement pay only $25 for a diagnosis fee 24-7-365. We respond to any emergency or perceived emergency for this cost. Of course we benefit from having the customer under agreement, and we can afford to run calls (at a loss) because of all the customers that don’t need to call. Not to mention running the call at a low cost is a great relationship builder with the customer.

Scott Robinson, President, Apple Heating Inc., Ashtabula, OH

Publication date: 07/15/2002