Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
Holiday Indoor Air Safety: 5 Things Not to Do & 5 Things to Do to Stay Healthy
Normally, we view the approach of the festive holiday season with smiles of delight, but not this year.
Thanks to the global pandemic, this year's holiday season is sparking some intense debate about how to balance personal safety with popular customs and traditions.
It nearly goes without saying that no one wants to catch COVID-19, but with no end date in sight, and still no solid news about a vaccine, it can be equally hard to fight that restless inner feeling that panics at the thought of a never-ending lockdown.
So what should you do? Go out or stay in? Say yes or say no? Plan ahead or scrap all plans?
In this post, we share our CleanAir Solutions knowledge as well as what research is saying about the five riskiest group activities to avoid and the five best strategies to staying healthy this winter.
Reviewing What We Know Now About How COVID-19 Spreads
Do you remember way back in January of this year when news about the new novel coronavirus was just starting to trickle out of China and into the world?
We had so many questions and exactly zero answers. Now, thankfully, that is beginning to change. So let's take a moment to review what we now know about how COVID-19 spreads.
1. COVID-19 spreads through close contact and airborne transmission.
COVID-19 primarily spreads through the air, both through close (less than two meters) social contact and by aerosol airborne delivery at greater distances.
2. COVID-19 spreads through direct contact with contaminated surfaces.
COVID-19 infectious droplets can transmit when they land on a surface such as doorknob, light switch or counter top.
3. COVID-19 may spread from people to animals.
The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a statement saying that COVID-19 potentially spreads from infected people to animals.
Meet the Five Riskiest Group Activities You Need to Avoid During The Holidays
With COVID-19 cases once again on the rise here in Ontario, the spotlight is now firmly focused on indoor group activities as the most probable cause.
Research into new COVID-19 outbreaks is looking closely at patient age as an indicator of where to look next to find the riskiest group activities.
These are the five top activities to avoid if your priority is to avoid exposure to coronavirus droplets.
1. Eating indoors at a restaurant.
By far, the riskiest activity is eating indoors at a restaurant. Why? Because you have to take down your mask to eat and drink.
Recent research indicates newly infected individuals are three times more likely to report eating at a restaurant indoors during the 14 days leading up to diagnosis.
2. Participating in indoor group sports.
Indoor group sports such as ice hockey and boxing are considered high-risk because they require close physical contact - to the point where both airborne and surface contamination becomes possible.
3. Working out in a gym or fitness club.
The high-profile Hamilton Ontario SpinCo "super-spreader" incident has now been linked to more than 80 new primary and secondary (friends and family) COVID-19 infections. It all started from a single non-symptomatic infected patron.
4. Visiting a bar or club.
According to local Hamilton Ontario health officials, the index patient linked to the SpinCo outbreak had previously visited a Toronto-area bar...
5. Attending indoor holiday gatherings.
This is going to be a tough one to navigate for many of us. However, the recent Thanksgiving holiday readily spawned a number of new confirmed COVID-19 infections, which makes indoor holiday gatherings a clear high-risk activity.
Meet the Five Indoor Air Safety Helps You Need to Adopt
On the one hand, it is nice to see new mask designs coming out that permit better airflow and respiration.
On the other hand, it is not so nice to realize we have these new designs because we will likely be wearing masks for a long time to come!
The reality is that masks can only do so much to protect you and your loved ones during the holiday. This is especially true now that winter temperatures are here to stay for the next long while.
These five indoor air safety pointers can step in when even your mask can't protect you.
1. Keep your furnace filter clean.
How often should you change your furnace filter? It is vital to change your furnace filter every 30 days.
Our CleanAir technicians in Hamilton are happy to replace your furnace filter during your annual furnace preventative maintenance tune-up and safety inspection service.
2. Improve indoor fresh air ventilation.
Ventilation is the number one means of reducing the concentration of toxins inside a space.
You can leave your furnace fan to the "on" setting, open a window or add a heat recovery ventilator as a reliable set of artificial "lungs" for your space.
Contact CleanAir Solutions technicians in Hamilton for more information on how to check the air quality in your home.
3. Add ultraviolet light purification.
Why are we all being urged to hold group meetings and gatherings outdoors? In a word - it=t’s because of the sun. Our sun produces ultraviolet light. And ultraviolet light damages organic matter like the viral RNA that causes COVID-19.
When you add ultraviolet light purification inside your space, you get a synthetic version of that same benefit indoors.
Are you interested in installing a UV air purifier system? CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton has the highest quality UV air purification systems. Let our team of qualified technicians install and maintain your indoor air quality professionally throughout these upcoming cold months of winter.
4. Install a HEPA filtration unit.
HEPA filtration is the gold standard to remove microscopic airborne solids that could be transporting aerosol coronavirus droplets.
Do you have a HEPA filter installed in your indoor heating system? CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton can help you decide on which HEPA filter to purchase, install it on your behalf and provide service maintenance for the duration of the winter months.
5. Add a central humidifier.
Humidity is positively correlated with a reduced risk of contracting COVID-19. Winter air is traditionally dry, which is why winter is called "cold and flu season."
Adding a humidifier helps your tissues manufacture more beneficial mucous to trap toxins, including active virus droplets, before they can make it down into your lungs.
CleanAir Solutions supplies whole house humidifiers in Hamilton, Ontario. Contact our HVAC technicians today for more information or to schedule an appointment with our indoor air specialists.
Get in Touch With Our Hamilton Indoor Air Specialists at CleanAir Solutions
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we are considered an essential business and remain open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Is It Time to Get Your Indoor Air Tested?
Indoor air quality has never been a more popular topic than it is this year.
The surprise of the global pandemic and COVID-19's known impact on lung health has created an urgent need for more education and improved home and workplace air quality resources.
Understanding the why, what, when and how of improving and maintaining indoor air quality is less simple than it appears however.
For instance, is it enough to just buy a better furnace filter? Should you add extras such as an ultraviolet air purifier or HEPA filter? Could you protect your kids by installing a whole-home humidifier during the dry winter season just ahead? Is it time to get your indoor air at home or work tested for toxins?
Get answers to your most urgent indoor air quality questions from qualified HVAC experts at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton.
3 Steps to Assess Indoor Air Quality
The term indoor air quality sounds deceptively simple, however the quality of the air we breathe extends far beyond whether it is oxygen-rich or sweetly scented.
In fact, many of today's so-called air "fresheners" and odour control products are actually concocted of noxious chemicals that do our lungs zero favours.
Indoor air quality is determined through working through these three key steps:
1. Collect and analyze air samples (indoors, near-outdoors).
There are two major players that contribute to the health (or lack thereof) of your indoor air at home or at work.
The first is the obvious - your indoor air itself.
The quality of your indoor air includes any introduced toxins (incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, smoking or vaping, burning candles or incense, cleaning products etc.) and also the presence of natural gases or toxins (radon, mould, mildew, pollen).
But the quality of your near-outdoor air can also have a major impact on the air you breathe inside your space.
For example, if you live near a major manufacturing or refining sector, the air surrounding your home or business will probably have a higher concentration of potentially toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other gases. With Hamilton being located in the GTA area, these higher concentrations of air pollutants. Are you wondering how to test air quality in your Hamilton home, industrial or commercial location? Contact Clean Air Solutions today!
2. Assess air flow and refresh (ventilation).
Over the last several weeks, local and national news has been full of scary headlines about inadequate indoor air ventilation inside Canadian schools.
If the air inside your living, working or educational space is allowed to get stale, two things occur:
- Oxygen content goes down.
- Present airborne toxins become potentially more impactful and/or harmful.
The more clean, fresh, oxygenated air is flowing into your space, the less harmful the concentration and impact of present airborne toxins, including active viral particles.
In fact, new construction in the Toronto area now requires installation of a heat recovery ventilator, a standalone appliance that could be described as the "lungs" of the building.
Heat recovery ventilators, or HRVs, are continually "breathing" - inhaling fresh clean air and exhaling stale toxic air. Is it time to install a proper air cleaning system within your home? Contact our qualified team of indoor air quality specialists today!
3. Evaluate level of airborne toxin control (filtration and purification).
There are two main methods for addressing toxic indoor air:
It is easy to get the two confused, especially since many indoor air quality manufacturers tend to use the terms interchangeably. However, they describe two different processes.
The main mechanism of filtration is the air filter. Air filtration traps solid organic particulates, quarantining and removing them from the air supply.
Air purification changes the molecular structure of liquid and gaseous particles, rendering them inert and harmless as they move through the air. The main mechanism of purification is short-wave ultraviolet band-C light.
Many homes and workplaces do not have either system in place to handle the toxic load in the indoor air.
(To address a pervasive myth: unless your HVAC system is rated at MERV 17 or higher. your furnace filter is woefully inadequate to the task of filtering out micro-toxins.)
Are you wondering how to check the air quality in your home? Our HVAC specialists at Clean Air Solutions have the knowledge and experience you need to obtain cleaner indoor air for your family.
Why Start With Indoor Air Quality Testing?
You might be wondering why you should start at the beginning with indoor air quality testing when there are only a handful of appliances and systems that can work to improve your indoor air quality.
The reason is because you don't know which one(s) to use if you don't know what toxins you are dealing with!
For instance, your home may sit over land with a higher emission of radon gas. Your neighbour's home might not be similarly affected.
You may not smoke at home, but may work with colleagues who vape or smoke near to or inside the building.
Each space is going to be different. From the location of commercial facilities to areas of high ragweed concentration, the key to cleaning up your individual indoor air quality issues begins with understanding precisely what those issues are.
Then you can use your available budget wisely to add the optimal indoor air quality systems to address your specific concerns.
How Does Indoor Air Quality Testing Work?
Indoor air quality testing is completely silent and unobtrusive. The test runs continuously for 72 hours, taking tiny air samples every 60 seconds and analyzing the toxic load.
At the end of the testing period, the system compiles the results and delivers a comprehensive indoor air quality report that includes recommendations for short-term and longer-term air quality solutions.
You will find out which indoor air quality aids and systems can be of most benefit in cleaning up your indoor air at home or at work.
After your indoor air quality test concludes, you will know if you need a carbon monoxide detector or a radon gas detector in addition to your smoke alarm.
You will also find out if your indoor air is oxygen-poor and you need improved ventilation that a heat recovery ventilator can provide.
Get in Touch With Our Qualified Indoor Air Specialists in Hamilton
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we are considered an essential business and remain open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Is Your Filthy Furnace Affecting Your Lungs This Fall? Act Now to Stay Healthy!
Appliance maintenance can easily become a full-time job, especially if this is your first time owning your own home.
The list of appliances you are in charge of is long. The time you have is short.
If you are nodding your head right now, changing out your furnace filter is likely down at the bottom of an already lengthy winter preparation to-do list.
This year is different however. This year, COVID-19 exists. This year, we are collectively and individually fighting against the cold and flu season AND coronavirus.
So this year, the state of your furnace filter is urgent - as urgent as keeping your family's lungs clear and healthy.
Be sure to read to the end of this post for a special high-value offer we think your lungs and your furnace will love!
Recommends for Safe & Effective Fall Furnace Maintenance
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we have decades of research and experience to back up the indoor air quality solutions we recommend to you, our valued customers.
Our sister company, Shipton's Heating & Cooling, has nearly 100 years of HVAC and home appliance expertise.
We share this so you can know what we are about to say is research-backed and eminently trustworthy....
A dirty furnace filter = dirty lungs
This isn't easy to hear, but luckily it IS easy to fix!
Your Furnace Filter Has One Job to Do: Remove Quarantine Dirt
After years or even decades of benign neglect, suddenly news about furnace filters - and filters in general - are actually making headlines.
This is because a filter is to your furnace what your lungs are to your own body.
Your furnace filter's one and only job is to keep dust and dirt out of your home or workplace. It does that by trapping the dust and dirt and quarantining it until you come along and clean it or replace it.
Unfortunately, the average furnace filter is far less well-equipped to do its job than are your lungs.
In fact, the majority of the furnace filters our service technicians at CleanAir Solutions Hamilton handle while making their preventative maintenance or repair calls are well past their expiration dates.
They are often nearly black with dust and debris, clogged and basically useless. Some are actively causing harm to both the furnace itself and to the people who own that furnace.
3 Steps to Help Your Furnace Filter Perform Better
If ever there was a year when you would want your furnace filter to deliver its very best work, this would be the year.
In this section we will tell you exactly what to do to make that happen in your home or workplace (or both).
Step 1: Schedule a basic furnace inspection, cleaning and tune-up service.
A dirty furnace filter basically means you have a dirty furnace.
When your furnace filter is no longer able to trap and hold any more dust and debris, all kinds of bad things start to happen.
Airflow gets restricted and energy bills increase. The inner components of your HVAC get dirtier and more debris is pushed back out each time your furnace cycles on. Dirt-covered components and blower motor overheating can lead to a fire.
It can seem hard to believe that a simple furnace inspection, cleaning and tune-up service can take care of all three of these dangers, but happily it can! Does your furnace need a service appointment? Contact our qualified technicians at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton!
Step 2: Upgrade to the highest MERV filter your system is rated for.
Once you have a squeaky-clean furnace that is operating like a well-oiled machine, the next issue to address is the filter itself.
Are you using the highest MERV filter that your furnace is rated to handle?
If not, make the change. Your furnace filter will last longer between changes (offsetting any cost increase of choosing the upgraded filter) and so will your furnace. Contact our furnace technicians at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton! We can help you assess your furnace and filter in order to provide you with the best furnace products moving forward
Step 3: Add a standalone HEPA filtration system.
Every day we get calls from our customers asking if it is possible to just put a HEPA filter into their regular furnace.
HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air, is the gold standard in terms of indoor air filtration. Unfortunately, however, these filters are so incredibly dense that only a HEPA-rated furnace can take them.
Only furnace systems rated to take MERV 17 filters or higher can handle HEPA-grade filters. If you put a HEPA filter into a furnace rated MERV 16 or lower, this will send your energy bills skyrocketing. It could also start a fire!
There is a way to add the extra protection of HEPA filtration to your home or workplace though. It is easy and safe.
By adding a standalone HEPA filtration system, you get all the benefits of hospital-grade air filtration with none of the energy cost increase or fire hazards.
Both portable and whole-home HEPA filtration systems are available to work with the type of heating system you currently use.
Fall Is Full of High-Value HVAC Deals - Reserve Yours Today!
This fall, we want to make staying healthy safe and stress-free for you, your family and your workers.
When you enrol in our economical furnace maintenance plan and schedule your first preventative inspection, cleaning and tune-up service, we will inspect and clean or replace your air filter at no charge!
You will also be able to order the duct cleaning package of your choice at a 10 percent discount and take an extra $50 off any whole-home humidifier installation.
Make this winter the healthiest season for you, your family and your workers. Reserve your special savings bundle from CleanAir Solutions Hamilton today!
Contact Our Qualified Hamilton Indoor Air Quality & HVAC Technicians
Here at Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, we are open to serve all of your HVAC and indoor air quality needs with safe, contact-less service, invoicing and payment options.