It is true that Canada has a lot to be proud of in terms of our efforts to clean up and safeguard the environment.
According to the World Economic Forum, Canada comes in second place on the planet with an amazing 115 cities cited for clean air!
But that is our outside air. Inside our homes and workplaces, it can be a very different story.
One of the biggest air quality threats is simple soot. Smoke, smudgy streaks and stains, black or grey dust, and similar issues abound in our indoor spaces today.
While it is easy to overlook these types of small discolourations and marks, it isn’t advisable. These marks represent potent carcinogens that can build up in your indoor air over time and cause respiratory damage and cancer.
In this article, we take a close look at household soot, dust and smoke and tell you how to fix it.
Where Is All That Soot Coming From?
There are a handful of major factors that contribute to household soot, dust, and smoke.
Some you might already be well aware of, such as the use of heating boilers, fireplaces and stoves, and smoking or vaping inside,, idling vehicles, home construction and renovation projects, and various combustion sources.
But some identified sources, such as burning candles, might seem too innocuous to even register on your household air quality safety radar.
Yet burning candles inside the home is no small indoor air quality threat. Did you know that use of candles inside homes is sufficiently significant that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) actually commissioned a research survey to study the impact of candle soot and smoke on homes?
This study was small—just five houses were surveyed—and the focus was more on soot and smoke cleanup options than on air quality improvement itself, but the information generated shows that burning even a small candle regularly can create significant dust, smoke, and soot buildup over time!
When you add in the other common contributors for indoor smoke, dust, and soot mentioned in the same survey, it becomes clear that it doesn’t take long for your indoor surfaces and furnishings to become impacted by a fine build-up of toxic materials on walls, floors, window panes and sills, carpeting, filter pads, air registers and exhaust vents, cabinetry and appliances, and even inside storage areas.
What Are You Breathing In?
With the presence of soot, dust, and smoke inside your home, the obvious question then becomes: What kinds of toxins are you breathing in?
Each of these contributes to the visible presence of dust, smoke, and soot in your home:
- Mould and mildew
- Wood ash and smoke residue
- Carbon black (soot)
- Elemental carbon (diesel)
- Nitrogen oxides
- Petroleum and paraffin by-products
- Many more!
In addition to visible carcinogens like those listed here, other invisible toxins (commonly called volatile organic compounds or VOCs) are produced wherever combustion takes place, whether from a single burning candle or an idling car motor, such as:
- Carbon monoxide
- Chemicals from artificial fragrance
- Perchloroethylene (dry cleaning chemical)
- Methyl chloride
- Many more!
These lists represent just a handful of the toxins generated by the proliferation of combustion processes we rely on for just about every modern convenience, from air conditioning and heating to cooking and hot water to vehicle use and dry cleaning services. It can be hard to resolve our need for these conveniences against our human right to breathe clean, healthy air!
Luckily, there is a way to have our modern conveniences and healthy lungs, too.
Assessing Your Indoor Space for Toxins
While we are always happy to come out and perform a professional indoor air quality test to determine precisely which toxins and carcinogens are present in your indoor air supply, sometimes all that is really needed to do this is to take a good look around.
What appliances do you use regularly? Do you use commercial (chemical) home cleaning products? Are there any smokers or tobacco users in your family? Do you burn wood in the stove or fireplace or light candles for ambiance?
What about spritzing on perfumes or using air freshening products? Have you used DIY adhesives, glues, paints, varnishes, or solvents in and around your home for maintenance or renovation? What kind of HVAC system do you have?
These small daily observations can add up to an unhealthy picture of what might be floating around in your indoor air supply and going in and out of your lungs up to 30,000 times per day as you breathe.
Indoor Air Duct Cleaning, Air Filtration, and Purification
So let’s take a look now at how to clean up your indoor air.
1. Indoor air duct cleaning
If you have a ducted (forced air) HVAC system, your air ducts may be harboring a wide variety of trapped toxins. A professional cleaning is economical and quick—we can be in and out in less than a day and leave behind air ducts that are literally as clean and sanitary as the day they were installed.
2. UV air purification
Ultraviolet light is the best of the best at purifying the air of toxins—after all, it is what our own sun uses to keep up with all the toxins we create!
3. HEPA filtration
The High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration system is the reigning gold standard in air filtration and has been since World War II. This system can filter out particles the size of 1/100th of a single human hair, keeping your indoor air clean and pure.
Get in Touch
Until May 31, save 10 percent on all indoor air duct cleaning packages as a part of our spring indoor air quality specials!
Save 20 percent on all indoor air quality aids, including HEPA filtration, UV air purification, and heat recovery ventilation systems!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to learn more and claim these valuable limited-time discounts.