Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
3 Step Process to Allergy Proof Your Home in 2021
It is exciting to watch the world start to open back up again - at last! Finally, there seems to be some hope on the horizon that we’ll be able to put the pandemic behind us.
But we are not there yet. And before we can get there, we have to run the gauntlet of the spring allergy season here in Ontario, Canada.
While we still know far too little about how to prevent COVID-19, we actually know quite a lot about how to prevent, or at least minimize, spring allergy symptoms.
In this post, learn the three steps to allergy proof your indoor space - keeping your immune system strong and your spring season healthy!
3 Steps to Allergy Proof Your Indoor Space This Spring
Recent reports indicate that one in five Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies. It used to be one in six!
But with global warming spurring pollen-producing foliage on to ever greater production levels, the number of sufferers just continues to increase. And reports of seasonal allergy symptoms indicate these are worsening as well.
This was worrisome enough on its own....before COVID-19!
Now there is a new urgency to protect our respiratory and overall health.
These three allergy proofing steps have the potential to minimize, or even prevent, seasonal allergy symptoms from weakening your immune response and ruining your spring.
Step 1: Identify the Major Allergy Triggers in Your Space
Step one to allergy proof your home this spring is to identify the source of your allergy symptoms.
Common culprits include dust mites, pollen, pet dander, insects (primarily waste), mould and mildew.
These are usually the triggers you need to remove from your space in order to minimize or prevent seasonal allergy symptoms. But how can you do that?
Step 2: Identify the Correct Category for Each Airborne Toxin
Indoor air quality is not just a fancy-sounding term. It is a science. And our CleanAir Solutions technicians understand it well!
This has never been more true than it is now, when the global pandemic has called on every air quality researcher, engineer and scientist to step up their game.
What we have collectively learned is that we already have very effective technology to combat airborne toxins of every type - liquid, gas and solid.
What we do not yet have is effective implementation. In other words, all the technology in the world does us no good if we are not using it!
So, now is the time to categorize each airborne toxin so that we know what type of indoor air quality antidote is needed to combat it.
Solid airborne toxins are tiny bits of organic matter. Some are so tiny you would need a very strong microscope to see them.
Solid toxins include matter like dust, dust mites, ash from cooking and smoking, pollen, pet dander, mould spores, mildew spores and dirt.
The majority of seasonal allergy producing toxins fall into this category.
The most prevalent example of a liquid airborne toxin right now is the dreaded SARS-CoV-2 liquid droplet.
Thanks to the impact of evaporation, we now know that the initially large and heavy droplets can quickly evaporate to become lighter and more buoyant, at which point they can land on an airborne micro particle solid and travel much farther distances.
There are many other liquid toxins to worry about as well.
Many common household cleaning products contain liquid toxins like bleach, hydrogen peroxide or ammonia.
E-cigarette liquid, flea and tick sprays, liquid pesticides and repellents, drain and toilet cleaners, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze and refrigerant are other common examples of liquid allergens.
Gaseous toxins are the hardest to spot because they are typically invisible to the naked eye. Luckily, many carry characteristic odours that make them easier to detect, such as the rotten egg sulfur smell of a gas leak.
Carbon monoxide is the most famous and is called the colourless, odourless killer.
Ozone, volatile organic compounds, chlorine and other gases are also known toxins that can produce a range of serious or deadly health symptoms.
Step 3: Identify the Right Air Quality Antidote for Each Category of Toxins
Once you have completed step one - identifying the toxins inside your indoor air - and step two - properly categorizing each toxin by type - it is time to apply the correct antidote to stop your symptoms from occurring.
There are two major types of indoor air quality technologies: air filtration and air purification.
Solid airborne toxins are best addressed through indoor air filtration, while purification will most effectively neutralize liquid and gaseous airborne toxins.
So let's take a look at each now.
The type of air filtration most people recognize is a furnace filter. What most people don't know is the average furnace filter's only real job is to keep the blower motor from becoming clogged.
It is not designed to handle tiny solid microparticles like the type that can carry a COVID-19 droplet or a microscopic particle of pollen.
For these tiny toxic solids, what you need is a HEPA Filter.
HEPA filter systems can filter 99.97 percent of airborne solid toxins as small as 1/100th the width of a single human hair.
Air purification uses concentrated short-wave ultraviolet light to neutralize both liquid and gaseous airborne toxins.
By changing the organic structure of these toxins, ultraviolet air purification systems render them harmless to you and your family.
Contact CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, for Expert Indoor Air Quality Solutions
CleanAir Solutions is proud to be one of the most trusted indoor air quality providers in Hamilton, Ontario, and surrounding areas.
Our friendly, prompt, experienced and highly trained indoor air quality experts can improve the air inside your home and workplace before your allergy symptoms hit! We also offer a variety of solutions to fit every budget.
Why This Is the Year to Upgrade Your Indoor Air Quality
It nearly goes without saying that if ever there was a year to upgrade your indoor air quality, this would be the year.
COVID-19 has dug in its heels even as we continue to fight back with all the tools we have.
This means the more we can do to stay safe and healthy, the more we should do to stay safe and healthy.
Add to it that allergy season is already knocking at our door - are your sinuses ready? If you are quite literally dreading the start of the notorious spring ragweed bloom, now is the time to take action.
In this post, find out what you need to know about how to create a healthy, breathable sanctuary inside your home or workplace. Our CleanAir Solutions experts in Hamilton, Ontario, provide the indoor air quality knowledge and tools you need to keep your airways clear!
What to Do Before You Buy a HEPA Filter or UV Purifier (MUST READ)
Both technologies are highly recommended for improving indoor air quality and we will talk more about each shortly!
But all too often when our service technicians would arrive to install the customer's new HVAC equipment, they would walk into a much bigger problem....
Dirty, clogged air ducts.
Don't misunderstand - even if your air ducts are chock-full of dirt and debris, UV air purification and HEPA filtration can still offer some improvement.
But the difference is one of putting a band-aid on a broken bone versus visiting a surgeon to have the bone properly set and casted so that it can fully heal.
Air ducts are hard to see and even harder to inspect. But this is also why air ducts are the most neglected of all HVAC components. And neglected air ducts can deliver problems that no amount of spending in other areas can completely remedy.
In contrast, when your indoor air duct system is insulated, sealed, cleaned and sanitized, any other indoor air quality aid you install can deliver instant results to full capacity.
This is why we strongly recommend scheduling an indoor air duct cleaning before you make any other alterations to your HVAC system or add any other air quality components.
Is a HEPA Filter or UV Air Purifier Better?
When the COVID-19 outbreak was first announced and media sources pounced on UV air purification and HEPA filtration as potential safeguards, we were deluged with questions from anxious customers about which was better.
Should they buy a HEPA filter or an ultraviolet air purifier?
What most media reports failed to report on is that these two components do very different things. They are not interchangeable in any way!
So let's take a quick look at what each component does and how it works.
HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. And a filter is a device that traps matter and retains it. We use filters in all kinds of ways and for all kinds of jobs.
But a HEPA filter is special. HEPA technology is capable of trapping solid particles as small as 1/100th the width of a single hair on your head. This means HEPA filters are capable of trapping micro-particles carrying unwelcome passengers like tiny SARS-CoV-2 droplets.
Many people do not realize that they can't just go out and buy a HEPA filter for their HVAC unit.
Unless your HVAC system is rated at MERV 17 through 20, you will face a serious fire risk and skyrocketing energy bills. You’ll also experience possible system failure if you try to use a HEPA filter with a non-HEPA rated air conditioner or furnace system.
But there is still a way to add HEPA filtration to your home. We recommend installing a whole home HEPA filtration system for ducted spaces and a portable system for non-ducted spaces.
The HEPA filtration system can trap floating solids (and their liquid or gaseous passengers) before they enter your ducts and float out into your space.
UV Air Purifier
Now that you understand what a HEPA filter is and does, let's look at how it is different from ultraviolet air purification.
The sun is the most powerful source of ultraviolet light. And ultraviolet light is the most powerful purification agent on the planet.
Purification works differently than filtration. While filtration traps solid matter and retains it, purification changes the molecular structure of liquid or gaseous matter to render it harmless.
When ultraviolet light hits a COVID-19 droplet, for example, it damages the delicate organic membrane that surrounds the viral RNA, damaging it so that it cannot replicate.
This is what makes UV purification such a powerful way to help protect against airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
The best way to add ultraviolet purification to a home or workplace is quite similar to what we recommend for adding HEPA filtration.
What you want to do is install a whole home UV purifier for ducted spaces or a portable UV purifier for non-ducted spaces. The purifier can treat fresh incoming air before it moves into your ducts and out into each room in your space.
Should You Get Both HEPA Filtration and UV Purification?
Because HEPA filtration works on solid airborne matter and UV purification works on liquid or gaseous airborne matter, some customers do choose to install both types of systems.
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, is Your Indoor Air Quality Expert
We are proud to serve Hamilton, Ontario, and surrounding areas, with providing professional air duct cleaning and a wide variety of highly effective indoor air quality aids.
BONUS: Call now and save 10 percent on any of our popular air duct cleaning packages. Also, take $100 off the purchase of any whole home indoor air quality equipment. These spring cleaning deals are only good through May 31, 2021 - don't miss your chance!