Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
How To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Air filtration is a complex topic. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
The global pandemic has increased awareness of the need for upgraded indoor air quality. But what it hasn't done is foster clarity about exactly how to accomplish this goal.
In fact, for many of our CleanAir Solutions customers, heightened urgency and media attention has created more confusion rather than less.
Terms sound frighteningly similar. Media reports are sometimes wildly inaccurate. And no one seems to know exactly which type of air quality system does what.
This blog post is going to change all that. Read on to learn the facts you need to know now in order to make intelligent, informed indoor air quality choices today.
Air Filtration Versus Air Purification Versus Air Ventilation
The first step to demystify indoor air quality is to clearly define three terms that get used interchangeably far too often in popular media: filtration, purification and ventilation.
Here is what you need to know.
Air filtration is a medium that traps airborne particulate solids, effectively removing them from your indoor air supply.
The gold standard in indoor air filtration is HEPA, or high efficiency particulate air.
What is a HEPA filter? First developed during World War II to assist scientists working with radioactive matter in a laboratory setting, a HEPA filter is still our first line of defense against solid microparticles.
A HEPA filter (or MERV filter 17-20 equivalent) can effectively trap and remove microparticles as small as 0.3 microns (or 1/100th the width of a single human hair).
A HEPA filter is also used widely in COVID-19 patient wards - worldwide!
Air purification is very different from air filtration - even though the two terms are often used as if they are one and the same.
Here is what you need to know about air purifier technology.
The most powerful air purifier on our planet is the ultraviolet light bands produced by our sun.
The sun produces three bands of ultraviolet light - UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-A and UV-B. These bands of light are effectively blocked by our planet's ozone layer (which is why it is so important to pay attention and stay inside on "ozone alert" days when the ozone layer is thin!).
UV-C, the most powerful natural light band, is also the only one that the ozone layer cannot block. This is why doctors tell us to wear sunblock when we go outside.
While there are several types of air purification processes, short wave UV-C air purifier systems are considered to be the most effective. They are also the most common purification technology being used by hospitals for air purification on COVID-19 patient wards.
Ultraviolet air purifier systems harness a synthetic version of UV-C light that irradiates the air and changes the molecular structure of organic airborne gases and liquids, including airborne droplets containing active coronavirus RNA.
This is all well and good, but then what the heck is air ventilation? And why is ventilation so important?
On hospital wards where COVID-19 patients are being treated and monitored, the goal is to cycle through six complete air changes per hour. This is a tall order and is only achievable with the help of state-of-the-art indoor air ventilation systems.
The most energy efficient and cost effective ventilation system is called the heat recovery ventilator.
A heat recovery ventilator separates fresh incoming air and stale outgoing air so that the two airstreams never meet. This is essential to ensure air that potentially contains active airborne viral droplets gets safely exhausted to the outside.
But HRV systems do more than this. They also recycle heat energy that would otherwise drive up your energy bills. HRV systems also help to balance indoor air humidity levels, which is another essential in helping to combat the threat of COVID-19.
Which COVID-19 Indoor Air Quality System Do You Need?
So, now you have met the three primary types of technology being used today to create safer indoor spaces as the global pandemic continues.
But which type of system do you need?
The system you need will depend entirely on the risk level inside your space. Here, risk factors to consider include each of the following:
- Do you share an HVAC system with other individuals (such as a multi-unit living or workspace)?
- Is anyone in your home currently recovering from COVID-19?
- Is anyone in your home very young, elderly or immunocompromised?
- Does anyone in your home or workplace smoke or suffer from any type of chronic respiratory condition or other known risk factor?
- What existing air filtration, purification or ventilation aids do you have?
Why are these five criteria so important?
Research has confirmed that multi-unit spaces with shared HVAC ductwork are capable of spreading airborne infectious droplets longer distances. We also know that individuals who fall into certain health categories are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
And some spaces have access to existing air quality controls such as windows and doors that open to the outside, ceiling or floor fans, exhaust or attic fans and higher MERV-rated HVAC systems.
But if your home or workplace does not fall into any of these categories, you may be best-served by installing a combination of aids.
A HEPA air filter can handle solid airborne particulates that may carry infectious droplets or otherwise compromise immune function and overall respiratory health.
Ultraviolet air purification can sufficiently damage SARS-CoV-2 RNA so as to render it unable to replicate and cause COVID-19.
And air ventilation (or heat recovery ventilator) can flood your space with a continual influx of fresh air to dilute the impact of airborne toxins and exhaust them to the outside in a safe and effective manner.
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, Handles All Your Indoor Air Quality Needs
Upgrade your indoor air quality with a cutting edge HEPA filter, ultraviolet air purification and heat recovery ventilator!
Be sure to ask us about contactless estimate, service, invoicing and payment options.
How to Breathe Cleaner Indoor Air At Home & Save Money With A Heat Recovery Ventilator
If you haven't yet heard of the heat recovery ventilator, you are in for a treat.
Or rather, your lungs and wallet are in for a treat.
Because this wonder appliance can protect your respiratory health and trim your energy budget - all at the same time!
The heat recovery ventilator is so good at its job that the city of Toronto recently changed its building code to require these appliances to be installed for new construction projects.
But while ventilation itself has become somewhat of a hot topic since the onset of the global pandemic, too many of us still aren't sure exactly why it is so important, let alone how to add ventilation back into our home or workplace.
This blog post is designed to answer both of these important questions. Keep reading as our indoor air experts at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton break this down!
What Is Ventilation?
If you are already familiar with ventilation, you can skip ahead to the next section. But what we find to be more true is that ventilation is one of those words we tend to think we understand better than we actually do.
The true textbook definition of ventilation is to add fresh air back into a space.
The simplest way to ventilate is to open a window or door. This, however, is not always possible, let alone practical or safe.
Bringing in a new fresh air supply then becomes more complicated. You want the air to be clean. You need this air to be temperature appropriate. And you require your new supply of air to be reliable and steady.
What Is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?
Heat recovery ventilation is actually not a new invention. What is new is mass production and availability of affordable versions of this technology.
With a heat recovery ventilator, or HRV, you are actually getting three appliances in one: an energy recycler, a fresh air ventilator and an air filter.
1. Heat Recovery
The term heat recovery is actually a little bit misleading. A more accurate term might be “heat exchange” - and in fact, these appliances are sometimes called heat exchangers.
During the cold months, heat energy is retained and used to preheat the fresh incoming (and very cold) outside air. This, in turn, reduces workload and energy draw on your furnace to do that same job.
During the warm months, heat energy from the fresh incoming (and very hot) outside air is drawn out as it passes through the heat exchanger core. Then, that excess heat is pushed back out through the exhaust, reducing the workload and energy draw on your air conditioner.
You might assume you don't need an extra ventilator when you can just run your HVAC fan continuously in order to get the same, basic effect.
However, this will cause a tremendous amount of wear and tear on your HVAC system, potentially shortening its useful life while also running up your energy bills all year long.
The heat recovery ventilator uses two completely separate air pathways to recover heat energy in winter and exhaust it in summer.
These two separate air pathways ensure a steady supply of fresh outside air that never mixes with stale outgoing air.
Heat recovery ventilation also includes a filtration element.
While heat recovery ventilators are best known for their energy recycling and ventilating benefits, these appliances also house a specialized air filter. I’m
This filter works to pull allergens like pollen, mould and mildew spores, dust, ash and other particulate matter out of the incoming fresh air stream before it gets distributed through your air ducts.
So what you get is a double layer of air filtration from the heat recovery ventilator filter and your HVAC system filter.
What Is An Energy Recovery Ventilator?
Heat recovery ventilators and energy recovery ventilators are closely related - and their names are similar enough to cause a lot of confusion. However, the latter is not as popular here in the far north.
The reason is because energy recovery ventilators add yet another layer of indoor air management - humidity control.
Excess humidity isn't typically a big problem here in Canada. In fact, just the opposite tends to be the case, especially during our long, cold winters.
And now that we know humidity has COVID-19 fighting properties, there is even less incentive for us to remove excess indoor humidity.
Health researchers tell us that while elevating indoor humidity cannot prevent the spread of COVID-19, keeping indoor humidity between 40 and 60 percent may be able to reduce the threat.
If you are having trouble maintaining sufficient indoor humidity at 40 percent or higher, we recommend installing a whole home humidifier system. These systems can typically retrofit with any existing ducted central HVAC system.
Can You Benefit From a Heat Recovery Ventilator? I’m
Heat recovery ventilation seamlessly and silently delivers three vital indoor air quality benefits:
- Removes stale indoor air loaded with toxins and pollutants.
- Adds back a continual, reliable supply of fresh filtered air.
- Reduces workload and energy draw on your existing HVAC system (and saves you money).
Heat recovery ventilators need virtually no routine maintenance and can recapture up to 95 percent of heat energy that would otherwise be lost and wasted.
Does the idea of enjoying fresher, cleaner indoor air, combined with lower energy bills for heating and cooling sound appealing? You may benefit from adding a heat recovery ventilator to your existing HVAC system.
Contact CleanAir Solutions For Ventilation Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario
With another projected hot and sticky summer just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about how to trim your energy bills. If you can do it while adding back ventilation, even better!
* Free contact-less estimates, quotes, service calls and payment options are available.
Make Sure Your Spring Cleaning Includes Indoor Air Quality and Duct Cleaning in Hamilton, Ontario
After what felt like the longest year and then the longest winter season on record, we are all ready for spring!
We are especially craving the warmth, the sunshine, and the chance to feel safe seeing friends and family with the greater protection of gathering outdoors.
But even as our brief warm season slowly arrives, it brings with it the usual host of indoor air quality issues, including pollen, dust, mould and mildew.
Add to it that Ontario, Canada appears to be experiencing the most severe outbreak of COVID cases since the pandemic began. This year's spring cleaning has an urgency we have never felt before!
In this timely post, learn CleanAir Solution’s recommendations for upgrading your air quality and purity to support staying healthy as the threat level rises once again.
Duct Cleaning in Hamilton Is An Unsung Indoor Air Quality Hero
Over the last year, our experienced and knowledgeable service technicians have had more conversations about indoor air quality than at any time since we opened our doors.
We are aware of how closely our health is linked to the air we breathe. But starting the process of deciding what to do about your indoor air quality concerns can feel like a vertical learning curve.
This is especially true with so many products and services on the market, many of which feel somewhat faddish or gimmicky rather than tried and true.
Here at CleanAir Solutions, all the services and products we provide and recommend are well known and trusted throughout the industry.
This is why we always tell our customers to start with our superior air duct cleaning. How does duct cleaning work? Well, indoor air duct cleaning is literally the unsung hero of the air quality industry.
Why? Imagine right now that you had never learned how to dust. So every day, day after day, your floors, your countertops, your shelves and furniture are constantly accumulating dust.
A year of this would be bad enough. But imagine if you went 10 or 20 years without dusting, sweeping, vacuuming or cleaning! What do you think your home would look like?
This is exactly what is going on inside your ducts.
But because you can't easily see inside the duct system, you don't know it. You don't realize how thick the dust and debris has gotten and how much of it gets pushed out through the air registers every time your HVAC system cycles on again.
Most of our air duct cleaning customers are still having their ducts serviced for the first time ever. They are often shocked by two things
1. How dirty the inside of their ducts look (we use a tiny camera to show them before we start the cleaning).
2. How clean the air feels and smells as soon as we finish the duct cleaning service.
If you wonder why you or someone in your family may suffer from chronic allergies, asthma, itchy eyes or skin, sniffly nose, headache, mental fogginess and similar symptoms, it could be that your dirty ducts are to blame.
NOTE: We also recommend scheduling our professional dryer vent cleaning on the same day as your superior air duct cleaning. This traps the maximum contaminants in a single service call and also reduces fire risk from operating your clothes dryer.
How Much Is Duct Cleaning?
The average cost of duct cleaning in Hamilton depend on the size of the job. If you have a large house with extensive duct work, this job could take quite long. Thankfully, at CleanAir Solutions, we offer FREE, No Obligation quotes BEFORE we get started. Find out how much duct cleaning is for your home by contacting our qualified indoor air specialists today!
Your Air Purifier and Filtration Are Indoor Air Quality Game Changers
Have you ever wondered how to test air quality within your home? At CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, we have the tools, equipment and know-how to test air quality properly. Learn more on how to test air quality in your home HERE.
Once you have had your superior air duct cleaning and your dryer vent cleaning, sanitized and deodorized, this is when you want to move ahead to implement more permanent indoor air quality safeguards.
Otherwise, the most you will accomplish with other air quality upgrades is to keep moving the contaminants in your space around.
But once you have thoroughly cleaned, deodorized and sanitized your whole air duct system and dryer vent, your home has essentially been reset to zero. In the air ducts, your home is brand new!
This is when you want to start adding enhanced indoor air quality cleaners to maintain clean indoor air and guard against future airborne pathogens and toxins.
Here again, today there is an ever-wider variety of indoor air quality aids that makes it seem like the moment you actually commit to one, it will be out of date the next day.
This is not the case with the two time-tested, research-backed solutions we are about to recommend to you here. Both of these solutions can go the distance and then some to keep your indoor air safe and clean.
Ultraviolet Air Purifier
Ultraviolet light has gotten a bad rap over the last several decades and doctors regularly warn us to avoid it.
But UV light is still the most powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial treatment on the planet.
Air treated with short wave concentrated UV light is air free from pathogens, including viral and bacterial and fungal matter, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mould and mildew, volatile organic compounds and much more.
Both portable and central UV air purifier systems are available.
What is a HEPA Filter? HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. A HEPA filter is the gold standard in air filtration and has been since it was invented during World War II.
Frontline healthcare workers and workers who have interaction with the general public favour HEPA face masks for precisely this reason. This is also why HEPA air filter is now used in all hospital floors where COVID patients are being treated.
When a HEPA filter system is used inside the home, it can filter out airborne particulates to an incredibly tiny size.
Contact CleanAir Solutions For Indoor Air Quality and Duct Cleaning in Hamilton, Ontario
This year's spring cleaning is about a lot more than just dusting and vacuuming. With all eyes on indoor air quality, we are standing by to assist with your indoor air quality questions and needs.
Not sure how to test air quality?
Asking yourself, “how does duct cleaning work...really?”.
“What is a HEPA Filter?”
“How much Is duct cleaning?”
We can help!
Free contact-less estimates, quotes, service calls and payment options are available.