Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
Improving Indoor Air Quality During The COVID-19 Pandemic
It has finally happened. Everywhere we go these days, people are talking about air quality - really talking about it!
COVID-19 has created a world where learning about "good" and "bad" air quality is a top priority. Good thing your trusted team of air quality experts at CleanAir Solutions Hamilton has the answers and (clean air equipment) that you’re looking for!
If you are reading this, you probably want to know what you can do to improve your own indoor air quality while you shelter in place at home.
And when you return to work (if applicable) you want to know that the air you breathe at the office will be clean and safe as well.
What does it mean to say the air is polluted? What types of toxins can make you sick? Where do those toxins come from?
Most importantly, how can you get rid of them so the air you need to survive doesn't harm your health or your lungs? Read on to find out!
What Is Air Pollution
At CleanAir Solutions Hamilton, we have yet to meet a customer who is unaware of the concerns about outdoor air quality. Smog, carbon emissions and even pollen often feel like dangers beyond what we personally can control.
Indoor air quality is a whole different story.
2020 helped a lot of people realize just how toxic our indoor air has become - up to five times more toxic than the smog and pollen-laden outdoor air according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Improving indoor air quality also feels more do-able to most of us. We are working with a smaller area. Often, it is an area we bought and paid for or at least visit every single day.
But while you may feel like you can control the air quality inside your space, you may not know exactly how to do that, which is what we will talk about here next.
Controlling the Quality of Your Indoor Air
Before you can clean up your indoor air, you have to know what is making it dirty.
The types of toxins in your indoor air will drive the indoor air quality solutions you implement to reduce air pollution.
Here is a very simple example.
Let's say you have a cozy wood fireplace inside your home. You love gathering around it at night with your family. But you notice that you often wake up with a scratchy throat and watery eyes the next morning. What is going on?
Here, there are two different types of toxins that are dirtying your indoor air.
The first type is solids - particles of ash that are produced by the burning wood. The second type is gaseous - volatile organic compounds, dioxins, carbon monoxide and others.
This means you need two different types of air cleaners to address the air pollution your fireplace is causing.
How To Check And Control Air Quality In Your Home
In the previous section here, we identified two categories of indoor air pollution your warm fireplace is causing: solids and gases.
1. HEPA filtration addresses air pollution from particulate solids.
What is a HEPA filter? To deal with the solid particles, you need a HEPA air filter system. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air.
A HEPA filter is a special type of incredibly dense air filter that can trap up to 99.97 percent of all airborne solid particles as small as 0.3 microns (about 1/100th the width of one human hair).
There are two basic types of HEPA air filter systems:
- Ducted (central)
- Non-ducted (portable).
NOTE: Whatever you decide to do, don't try to change out your HVAC system's existing air filter for a HEPA filter. This can cause your HVAC blower motor to overheat and start a home fire! Only MERV 17-20 HVAC systems can handle a HEPA filter.
Is it time to install a HEPA filter in your home this year? Contact CleanAir Solutions Hamilton for more information or to schedule an installation appointment.
2. Ultraviolet purification addresses air pollution from gases.
With your HEPA filter system in place, your lungs no longer have to cope with breathing in solid ash as the wood burns brightly in your fireplace.
What about all those toxic gases that are now swirling about inside your space though?
The best air purifier on Earth is our own trusty Sun. The sun produces three different bands of ultraviolet light: A, B and C.
Of these three bands, UV-C is the most powerful. It is also the only band that our planet's ozone layer cannot block out, which is the reason your doctor tells you to cover up or wear sunscreen when you go outside.
How can you harness the power of UV-C to neutralize and purify the toxic gases pouring out of your fireplace?
Here, what you need is an ultraviolet purification system.
UV air purifiers, like HEPA air filters, come in two basic types:
- Central (ducted)
- Portable (non-ducted) models.
A UV air purifier emits a synthetic focused short-wave band of UV-C light that purifies the air that passes through it. All of the air inside your space must pass through the UV air purifier in order for it to be fully effective.
Interested in installing a UV Air Purifier? CleanAir Solution Hamilton supplies the highest quality UV Air Purifiers for our HVAC clients.
Clean Air Can Still Be Stale Air Unless You Add A Heat Recovery Ventilator
It sure feels great to know your indoor air is no longer chock-full of toxic particles and gases.
Minimizing health symptoms from air pollution, whether that pollution arises from ragweed seasonal pollen, a festive home fireplace or COVID-19, is not just about cleaning up your indoor air though.
It also requires the regular addition of fresh, oxygenated outside air.
The best way to add back fresh air to your home or work place is to give your space its own set of lungs.
A heat recovery ventilator can keep a steady stream of fresh, clean air flowing in.
Hamilton Ontario CleanAir Solutions Has Your Indoor Air Quality Solutions
Together with our sister company, Shipton's Heating and Cooling, we are helping homeowners and business owners to make smart, safe indoor air quality upgrades that can keep you healthier.
Two Top Indoor Air Quality Solutions This Winter
Throughout 2020, all we heard about was how much worse coronavirus was going to get this winter in Southern Ontario.
It will be so cold, they said. The air is so dry, they warned us. We will be fighting cold and flu as well as COVID-19, they predicted.
All three of those projections has came true, of course.
After all, winter here in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is nearly always cold and dry....and it is always cold and flu season, just like it is in other wintery places throughout North America.
What the powers-that-be spoke about far less is what we can do to lessen our risk of catching the flu, the common cold or the new novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Luckily, while we don't have a cure for COVID-19 yet, we do at least know now what works to keep us safer. Indoor air quality!
In this article, Our CleanAir Solutions technicians introduce you to the two TOP indoor air quality solutions that will safeguard your family's health all winter long.
1. Professional indoor air duct cleaning.
Until this last year, the average indoor air duct system didn't get a lot of love. It usually didn't even get noticed at all - at least unless all other HVAC troubleshooting options were exhausted.
2020 could reasonably be nicknamed the "year of the air duct” though!
Why? Because air ducts are central conduits for airborne toxins, including COVID-19 infectious droplets.
If your home or commercial space doesn't have a ducted HVAC system, rest assured there are still lots of other effective ways you can reduce your risks.
For our customers with duct systems, however, making sure your ducts are cleaned and sanitized is a top preventative strategy for two key reasons.
1. All the other trapped detritus and toxins aren't doing your already over-stressed lungs any favours.
2. All the other air quality aids in the world will only be as effective as the conduit through which your indoor air regularly travels (that is, your air ducts).
Are you looking for superior air duct cleaning services in the Hamilton, Ontario area? Our technicians at CleanAir Solutions provide air duct cleaning appointments within Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford and surrounding areas. Contact our qualified team of HVAC specialists today to schedule your air duct cleaning!
P.S. We recently devoted a whole blog post to this topic because so many CleanAir Solutions customers were calling with questions about how to limit airborne spread. If you have additional questions, we recommend giving it a read!
2. Indoor air quality testing & regulating.
Even in summer, the typical adult spends over 90% of the typical day indoors. This has been more true over the past year than at any other time in recent memory.
In fact, we really haven't had many other options when you factor in the continual lockdowns that have kept us sheltering in place for much of 2020 and beyond.
Unfortunately, even before the new novel coronavirus burst upon the scene, we already knew our indoor air can be up to five times more polluted and toxic than our outdoor air.
In parts of Hamilton Ontario, air toxicity is even worse due to high levels of industrial smog, pollution and elevated radon levels (you can read our recent urgent blog post about radon pollution in Hamilton here).
Did you know that many of the toxins that most harm our lungs are colourless and odourless. Even those that do produce odour are often disguised with other common home toxins like so-called commercial air "fresheners" and cleaning products.
It sounds like a cliche, but we live by these words: “you can't fix what you don't know is broken”. If you can't see it or smell it, how will you even know it is there, at least until mysterious health symptoms force you to look further?
Speaking of which, one of the most common reasons our CleanAir Solutions customers ask us to run an indoor air quality test is when a family member has a "mystery" health issue that doctors have failed to properly diagnose and address.
Here is an example: Chronic radon poisoning is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers here in Canada.
Here is another example: Mold and mildew causes vague health symptoms ranging from asthma and rashes to episodes that keep recurring regardless of treatment.
Perhaps you are worried enough that you want to make some improvements to your indoor air quality at home or at work. Without an indoor air quality test to guide you, however, you won't know what types of air quality upgrades to invest in.
Our CleanAir Solutions technicians in Hamilton are ready to help with air quality tips and air purifier equipment!
Our silent, inconspicuous indoor air quality test takes 72 hours. Our testing apparatus takes continuous air samples and presents you with a full-colour, multi-page printout of toxin levels along with customized remediation recommendations.
This is why we called this section "air quality testing and regulating." The first step is testing. Then we can do effective, targeted regulating to keep your indoor air fresh and healthy.
After running your customized, personalized indoor air quality test, you will know exactly what steps to take next.
You will be able to decide right away whether a HEPA air filtration system, a combination media air cleaning system, a heat recovery ventilator, an ultraviolet light purification system, a humidifier (or de-humidifier) or some other combination of ongoing indoor air quality aids will best serve your respiratory and overall health concerns and needs.
Contact CleanAir Solutions for more information on air quality testing and equipment!
Stay Healthy With High Value Indoor Air Quality Service Discounts
We want you to stay healthy and safe this winter. To help you do that, we are offering special reduced prices on our two top winter indoor air quality solutions to help you achieve that goal!
Right now, we are offering $50 off any of our popular professional air duct cleaning packages.
Contact Hamilton Ontario's Trusted Indoor Air Quality Specialists
Our safe, contact-less service, invoicing and payment options give you total peace of mind as we work to help you improve your indoor air quality this winter season.
Winter Air Quality Issues & How to Fix Them
As we enter the new year of 2021, it’s hard to believe that we’ve spent almost an entire year in a global pandemic. This year Canadians are gearing down for the winter months while Ontario continues in lockdown mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With more families staying indoors, working from home and homeschooling this year, our indoor air has become a fairly common topic. At CleanAir Solutions Hamilton, our team of qualified technicians is committed to your home’s clean air solution!
What Leads to Toxic Indoor Air During The Winter Months?
The global pandemic has cast an increasingly harsh light on the toxicity of our indoor air at home and at work.
For a long time, we have known that our outdoor air is becoming increasingly polluted.
The truth is, the state of our outdoor air is only mildly concerning when compared to the state of our indoor air.
Current estimates indicate that the air we breathe inside our homes and workplaces may be anywhere from two to five times MORE toxic than the air outside.
This might not be so concerning if we spent more time outdoors, but the average Canadian spends upwards of 90 percent of the typical day indoors, especially in winter!
Winter is also the time of year when our air is most likely to be at its most toxic, due to the use of candles, fireplaces, heating equipment and cooking, each of which introduces new toxins into the air we are all sharing.
More toxic air equals dirtier air. Dirtier air equals lungs that have to work harder to breathe. And lungs that have to work harder to breathe can equal increased risk of illness and disease.
Three Keys to Better Indoor Air Quality
To summarize, winter is the time when your lungs need the most help to do their job and stay healthy.
While we don't have a solution to COVID-19 yet, we do have effective solutions to improve winter indoor air quality!
Keep reading and learn about Clean Air Solutions Hamilton top winter air quality solutions!
Ventilation is the word we use to describe adding more fresh, oxygenated air to a space.
This can be done by opening a window or door to the outside, using a fan or installing a heat recovery ventilator (aka a set of mechanical "lungs" for your HVAC).
Ventilation helps your home breath in a way that is very similar to how your own lungs breathe.
There is a steady stream of fresh incoming air and a steady stream of stale outgoing air.
This keeps the concentration of any toxic or infectious airborne matter diluted with clean, fresh air at all times.
Humidity may just be the underdog hero in the early fight against the coronavirus. In the earliest days, researchers believed that heat could repel the spread of COVID-19. They were wrong.
Humidity actually does have a proven protective effect. The reason for this relates to how humidity helps your immune system produce beneficial mucus in your respiratory passages.
The mucus traps particles so they can't travel more deeply into your respiratory passages and reach your lungs.
Winter is typically a very dry time when humidity can drop to nearly zero. This dries your respiratory passages and tissues out. Your lungs become very vulnerable to viral, bacterial, fungal and toxic airborne agents.
Adding back moisture to maintain a constant 40 to 60 percent indoor humidity level helps your body keep making mucus to defend against toxicity, infection, illness and disease.
Not sure how to test the humidity levels in your home? Contact our team of qualified clean air experts in Hamilton!
3. Filtration And Purification
Cooking, using a fireplace, running heating equipment, smoking or vaping, burning candles or incense, using cleaning products or air fresheners - all of these release toxic gases and solids into your indoor air.
Removing solid particles from the air is called filtration. Removing liquid or gaseous particles from the air is called purification.
Because the virus that causes COVID-19 is primarily transmitted via an airborne liquid droplet that can travel on an airborne solid micro-particulate, both filtration and purification are necessary to protect against infection.
Have you installed a media air cleaner in your home this winter? Contact CleanAir Solutions Hamilton to book your installation appointment.
A Four Step Process to Ensure Clean Winter Indoor Air
At CleanAir Solutions Hamilton, we highly recommend taking these four steps to keep your indoor air from filling up with harmful toxins this holiday season.
1. Opt for natural fragrances instead of chemicals.
Make the switch from perfumes and holiday scented air fresheners over to essential oils and natural soy or beeswax candles.
2. Open a window or door to let the fresh air in.
Even if your 2021 budget won't stretch to cover a heat recovery ventilator, you can still crack open a window or door and run a fan to help add back fresh air to your home space.
3. Add back humidity to your indoor air.
Humidifiers, houseplants and even bowls of water can help add extra healthy humidity back to your dry winter air.
4. Keep your air filters changed.
Be sure to change your HVAC system's furnace filter every 30 days.
Get in Touch With CleanAir Solutions Hamilton's Indoor Air Quality Specialists
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we believe clean indoor air is a vital part of fighting back against COVID-19.