Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
Lung Damage, COVID-19 and Radon: Urgent Hamilton News and What To Do
Public health officials recently released some truly alarming data. One in seven homes in the Hamilton Ontario area have dangerous indoor radon levels.
Radon itself is never safe. While it is a naturally occurring chemical gas, radon exposure is also a cause of lung damage in non-smokers.
If ever there was ever a season to do our best to avoid anything that might damage our lungs, it would be right now during this already worrisome COVID-19 winter season.
We simply don't need to add any more fuel to the fire (so to speak) of health crises still raging across Canada.
In this blog post, our clean indoor air specialists at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton share our best guidance on how to test for radon and how to take further action to stay safe (and COVID-19 free) this winter.
Keep reading for useful information on how to test air quality in your home during COVID-19!
What Is Radon and How Do You Get Exposed?
Radon is quite similar to carbon monoxide in that it is odourless and colourless.
However, unlike carbon monoxide, radon exposure typically doesn't kill you quickly. It makes you sick over time.
This is because radon is radioactive.
And while radiation exposure can cause all kinds of cancers, radon exposure can cause lung cancer specifically.
Why Is Radon So Dangerous?
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is emitted from decaying uranium in the soil and rocks. It rises up from the ground in the form of tiny gaseous particles you inhale without even realizing it.
These tiny particles damage the inner cells of your lungs and, over time, can cause lung cancer.
The esteemed U.S. Duke Cancer Center recently hosted an event explaining how risk for COVID-19 may increase in the presence of two key toxins: tobacco and radon.
However, there is still far too little information being shared with the general public about how radon and COVID-19 co-exposure may lead to irreparable harm. Your clean air experts at CleanAir Solutions Hamilton have all the important information you need in regards to your indoor air quality and the health of your family.
How to Find Out How Much Radon Is In Your Home
There is one bright spot in all this bad news.
Just as with carbon monoxide, you can test levels and install a home monitoring and alarm system to detect spikes in radon levels.
It is important to test and monitor your home for radon because levels can increase over time. And because you can't see it or smell it, monitoring is the only way you will know if levels increase.
The radon test will give you an initial benchmark level that lets you know if you need to take remediation action right away or if you can afford to wait and monitor.
Contact our qualified technicians at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton for more information on how to check the air quality in your home for radon levels this winter.
If your radon test results are worrisome, you can move on to remediation. However, if your radon test results are within normal limits, you can decide whether to implement preventative measures or simply install a monitoring alarm to keep an eye on things.
Should You Test for Radon Gas in Your Home or Workplace?
Choosing whether or not to test for radon gas inside your home is a personal decision. It is also a decision that can impact others, including your loved ones and workers.
Winter is peak season for radon off-gassing. And recent public health studies confirm that at least one-quarter of all Hamilton Ontario area homes have risky levels of radon present in their air.
Given the additional threat of COVID-19, a disease which also targets the lungs, CleanAir Solutions recommends that our customers proceed with home or workplace radon testing immediately. Do you need your indoor air quality tested this winter? Call our qualified team of clean air experts at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton and we’ll get the job done for you!
How to Test for Radon Gas in Your Home or Workplace
You have two main options to test your home or workplace for radon levels: home testing kits and professional radon testing.
Home Radon Testing Kit
A home radon testing kit approach requires you to buy a home test kit locally or online and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
It can take up to five months to complete the test and wait for the laboratory to analyze the information and return your results, however.
Professional Radon Testing
A much faster way to get your results is to hire a professional radon testing service. Look for a company that has been certified to offer indoor air quality testing. Like CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton!
Professional radon testing involves a simple 72-hour test that will quickly return the results you need.
Did you know that CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton is certified to offer professional grade indoor air quality testing?
Our silent, low-profile, 72-hour indoor air quality test delivers comprehensive results about the quality of your indoor air - and not just for radon levels!
You will also learn about other potential harmful contaminants and have unlimited access to our Indoor Air Quality Specialists to discuss monitoring and remediation options.
Our CleanAir Solutions team can assist you to select, install and learn to use a radon monitoring and alarm system, if desired.
Start Out the New Year With Squeaky Clean Indoor Air
Winter is the longest, coldest, darkest season of our Canadian year. We spend more time cooped up indoors. We breathe warm, dry air and often enjoy festive holiday fireplace gatherings.
This is the stuff holidays - and compromised lungs - are made of.
That is why, this holiday season, CleanAir Solutions is gifting you with 10 percent off the price of any of our popular indoor air duct cleaning packages.
Duct cleaning removes trapped toxic debris, dust, dirt and dander from your entire duct system, finishing with a deodorizing and sanitizing sealant.
Customers tell us the difference is so striking they can often smell how clean their indoor air is after a duct service!
Complete this easy online form to claim your discount on clean indoor air this winter!
Get in Touch With CleanAir Solutions Hamilton's Indoor Air Quality Specialists
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we have implemented safe, contactless service, invoicing and payment options to better serve you during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can Duct Cleaning Eliminate Pathogens At Their Source
All year long, we have been on a nearly vertical learning curve trying to stay one step ahead of the pandemic.
Now, here we are back in lockdown again with the holidays just weeks away!
This isn't an easy time, that’s for sure, but the good news is that we are getting through it. We know a lot more now about what works and what doesn't, especially when it comes to keeping highest-risk loved ones safer.
The most recent edition of Canada's indoor air quality improvement guidelines states that eliminating pathogens at their source is the number one way to fight back.
In other words, you can't get sick if there are no pathogens in the air!
In this post, our CleanAir Solutions technicians talk about the role that air duct cleaning can play in achieving this vital safety measure.
What Is Duct Cleaning?
Pre-pandemic, duct cleaning was once pretty low on the list of conversational topics. Boy has that changed!
While the surge in interest is directly connected with COVID-19, duct cleaning also offers a wide array of other health benefits! At CleanAir Solutions, this is one of our favourite topics!
Duct cleaning isn't as simple as it sounds, either. After all, it isn't like you can just crawl inside your ducts and sweep them out. Even if that were possible, you wouldn't want to do it. Why? Because the act of sweeping would release all those trapped toxins into your indoor air!
Duct cleaning is a highly specialized service that should only be undertaken by experienced and highly trained service providers, like your friends at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton!
The first step is to insert a micro-camera up into the duct system to examine their condition. This step will help identify if there may be an issue with mould and will also tell us how dirty the ducts actually are.
The next step is to connect a negative pressure vacuum to the duct itself. This will securely remove all trapped toxins and pathogens with zero risk of contaminating the surrounding indoor air.
The final step is to sanitize (and deodorize, if the client wishes it) the duct network before disconnecting the vacuum.
In most spaces, all of this can be completed in less than a day.
Do you need your air ducts cleaned before winter truly sets in? Contact our qualified indoor air cleaning experts at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton and we’ll schedule your air duct cleaning appointment.
When Should Duct Cleaning Be Done?
Duct cleaning is generally not required in brand new construction for obvious reasons - the ductwork, along with the remainder of the space, is shiny and new!
What we have found over the years of serving indoor air quality customers in the Hamilton and surrounding areas is that most homeowners have no record of ever having duct cleaning services performed.
Depending on when your current home was built, this may mean your ducts have been in continual use for anywhere from 5 - 30+ years without ever once being cleaned.Imagine for a moment if you left your carpet un-vacuumed or your counters un-dusted for 30 years. What might they look like? How might they impact the quality and breathability of your indoor air?
Ducts typically don't get much (if any) attention because they are literally out of sight and out of mind. Many homeowners also simply do not realize that dust, dirt and other debris can get inside the ducts and accumulate over time.
Certain events can cause an increase in this accumulation. These are times when it is especially smart to schedule an air duct cleaning and sanitizing service:
What is the best time to schedule air duct cleaning?
- After completing a home renovation.
- After mould is found and remediated.
- After the home has flooded or caught fire.
- If someone in the home smokes or vapes inside regularly.
- If anyone in the family experiences chronic respiratory distress with no other known cause.
Why Scheduling Air Duct Cleaning During a Pandemic Makes Sense
You may be wondering about the safety of scheduling air duct cleaning during this unprecedented pandemic.
Is it a good idea? Are there any risks to be aware of? How often should it be done?
The main reason to schedule indoor air duct cleaning now isn't actually to clear out any aerosol droplets that may be lingering in your indoor air. If you were doing it primarily for this reason, you would have to have it done daily!
The main protective benefit comes from clearing out all those other pathogens, toxins and particulates that are making your immune system work extra hard to keep you healthy.
Winter is cold and flu season here in Canada and now it is pandemic season too.
It is also a time of low humidity, shorter daylight hours and lots more time spent in too-close quarters indoors breathing in secondary volatile organic compounds from fireplaces, gas stoves and furnaces, candles and other sources.
This is not the season to be breathing in the dust, dirt, insect remains, mildew, bacteria, viral matter and carcinogens that get pushed back out into your indoor air every time your furnace cycles on again.
You want your indoor air to be squeaky clean so that all your lungs have to do is extract the oxygen and send the carbon dioxide back out again. This is precisely what an indoor air duct cleaning service can accomplish.
How to Schedule Your Air Duct Cleaning With CleanAir Solutions
All you have to do is review our three popular duct cleaning packages at CleanAir Solutions and pick the one that works best for your residential and commercial indoor air needs.
Right Now, Get 10% Off a Duct Cleaning Service At CleanAir Solutions, Hamilton
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, offers three popular duct cleaning packages. Right now, claim your 10 percent discount off the package of your choice!
We are also offering $50 off installation of a whole-home humidification system. There is a documented link between increased indoor humidity and reduced risk of COVID-19 cases.
Get in Touch With Hamilton's Indoor Air Quality Specialists at CleanAir Solutions
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we have implemented safe, contactless service, invoicing and payment options to better serve you during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can Humidity Stop COVID-19?
It feels like it was only yesterday when the news first leaked out about the new novel coronavirus back in January.
This certainly wasn't the way any of us expected to kick off the new year for a whole new decade, but here we are, several months later, about to enter yet another Canadian winter, in partial lockdown and feeling the strain of the year nearly past.
We know more than we did about how COVID-19 transmits and spreads. We have learned the ropes of how quarantine works. We have watched several holidays come and go and adapted and adjusted for everyone's safety.
Here comes the big finale now. We have the winter holidays, winter itself, cold and dry weather and cold and flu season all wrapped up with an uncomfortably festive bow.
Is there anything we can do to stay healthier, safer, stronger? As a matter of fact, there is! Read on to learn about humidity's role in fighting COVID-19. Our CleanAir Solution experts have the right info at the right time to keep you healthy this winter!
What Is the Right Level of Indoor Air Humidity to Fight COVID-19?
For years, we have heard that it is best to keep the humidity level inside our homes and workplaces between 30 and 50 percent. We have even written about these recommendations on this blog in the past, but then the new novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was discovered.
Now, the humidity recommendations have changed.
For increased resistance against COVID-19, you want to keep your indoor humidity between 40 and 60 percent.
The data we just shared with you comes from a 2013 Harvard Medical School research study that linked lower humidity levels to a higher incidence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) - basically, how well viral matter transmits in places where infections spread more easily.
So, we've known about the link between viral transmission and humidity for quite some years now. We just didn't need to apply it outside healthcare facility settings until now.
To summarize, when your indoor air humidity falls below 40 percent, your risk for contracting COVID-19 through aerosol airborne droplets that may be present in your indoor air supply rises. Not sure how to maintain a specific level of humidity in your home? Contact our air purity specialists at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton!
Why Is Indoor Air Humidity More Important in Winter?
Remember, winter is called "cold and flu season" in part because the use of heating equipment causes the air inside your home to dry out - often to a significant degree.
While most people have no trouble keeping their home's indoor humidity at 30 percent or higher during the warm season, in the cold season humidity can readily plunge to 10 percent, or even lower.
With drier outside air and drier inside air, humidity often all but disappears indoors.
This ,in turn, dries up the beneficial mucus in your airways - mucus that would otherwise catch and quarantine microbes and viral matter before it can get into your lungs.
To get your body producing that protective virus-trapping mucus again, you need to add back moisture to your air.
How Can You Increase Indoor Air Humidity to Reduce COVID-19 Risk?
Now, the next logical question is how to effectively manage the amount of humidity you have in your indoor space. Our air quality specialists at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton have the knowledge and expertise needed to help you maintain the ideal home temperature and humidity for your safety this winter.
There are two steps needed to achieve this goal.
1. Measure the amount of humidity in your indoor air.
The first step is simply finding out how much humidity you have in your air right now!
To do this, you need a simple and inexpensive humidity reader called a "hygrometer." These are easy to find online or in local home goods stores or garden centres.
A hygrometer measures the amount of moisture in the nearby air.
You will need to take it from room to room in order to identify areas where humidity may be higher or lower. Most homes have these zones because some rooms encourage higher ambient humidity (kitchen, bathroom, laundry room).
The areas that you should be most concerned about include common use areas where the air might naturally remain drier.
Still note sure how to test the air quality in your home? Contact CleanAir Solutions and one of our technicians will walk you through the process.
2. Decide on your indoor air humidity strategy.
There are two basic ways to go about adding back humidity to your indoor air.
The first way is to go room by room, adding portable humidifiers only in the areas where humidity is consistently lacking.
However, this strategy can backfire as areas with higher humidity, like the bathroom or laundry room, dry out in between uses.
The second way is to install a whole-home humidifier that automatically adds humidity back into the air for your entire space. At CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, we supply the highest quality whole-home humidifiers for your convenience and safety throughout the dry months of winter.
A lot can go into deciding which strategy works best for you, including your room use patterns, the size of each room, whether a loved one is immune-compromised, if your home has a basement, how often you are home and much more.
This is why Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton offers our customers a complimentary consultation and no-obligation estimate for any humidifier needs you may have.
Other Easy Ways to Add Back Humidity Back Into Your Indoor Air
We understand that 2020 has been a difficult year financially for many of us. If this describes you and you are feeling panicked about how to boost indoor air humidity without investing in extra equipment or appliances, these suggestions can help.
- Place bowls of water near radiators or any heat source.
- Steam a pot of water on the stove with the lid off.
- Open windows on humid or rainy days.
- After showering, open the door to let the steam out into the rest of your home.
- After bathing, let the bath water stay in and cool naturally and open the door.
- Add houseplants and keep them well watered (but not over-watered).
- Inhale over warm steaming water for direct humidity.
Get in Touch With Hamilton's Expert Indoor Air Specialists at CleanAir Solutions
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we have implemented safe, contactless service, invoicing and payment options and we remain open to serve all your indoor air quality needs.
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.
The Role of the HVAC Duct in Spreading COVID-19 & How to Stop It
For several months, we have had to collectively endure international bickering regarding whether COVID-19 is or is not an airborne virus.
Now we know that it IS IN FACT airborne.
We also understand how the large droplets that contain active viruses become airborne and travel to infect people even when we are practicing proper social distancing guidelines.
We even know that there are two basic strategies that can help reduce the threat of infection:
1. Add more fresh air.
2. Remove the active virus from the existing air.
The former is easier to achieve than the latter. The reason removing active viruses from the air is so difficult is because there are so many places the droplets can hide.
One of the most overlooked places that coronavirus droplets can hide is inside air ducts. This makes air ducts a potential conduit to spread COVID-19. In this post, our Clean Air Solutions specialists will tell you how to stop that from happening inside your space.
PSSST. Be sure to read through to the end for a special limited time offer!
The Problem With Ventilation
Ventilation - the process of adding more fresh, oxygenated air to a space - is always a good idea. At least in theory...
Since the onset of COVID-19, we have one big problem though: how does all that fresh air get into your home or workplace?
In most cases, it isn't because you opened a window or left the door ajar. You are using your HVAC fan and blower to pull fresh air in from outside and push it into your space.
If you have a central (ducted) HVAC system, what this means is all that fresh air has to pass through your duct system to get to you.
This was fine when we still thought that COVID-19 could be stopped by simply social distancing from the virus. The moment we discovered it was an airborne virus, all that changed.
Now, guess what the fresh incoming air is likely to pick up along the way? If you guessed "coronavirus droplets" you now understand why indoor air duct cleaning is suddenly on everybody's radar.
True, the increase in fresh incoming air can have a diffusing impact on the density of active virus particles, but it is still moving them in the wrong direction - sending them into your space rather than out of your space.
The threat is especially severe in spaces where the minimum recommended ventilation rate is not being met. (The current recommendation is for six complete air changes every hour for a room sized 100 square meters, or 10 x 10, that contains three to four people.)
Unfortunately, the vast majority of homes, workplaces and now schools do not meet this minimum requirement.
How Indoor Air Duct Cleaning Helps to Stop the Spread Of COVID-19
The average air duct has never been cleaned since its original installation. Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we can personally attest to this as fact.
Most of our customers have inherited their air duct system along with their home or commercial building. They have no record of past maintenance from the prior owner. This means that the majority of our clients who schedule an indoor duct cleaning service with us have never done so before.
Even if we didn't know that though, it is easy to tell as soon as we hook up our tiny camera and take a look inside the air ducts themselves.
(Curious to see what we see inside the average air duct before we clean it? Watch this short video and find out.)
We now know that the reason COVID-19 is airborne has to do with evaporation and air quality, or rather a lack thereof. At first, the droplets are large and heavy, but as evaporation goes to work, the droplets get smaller and lighter.
If the air is filled with floating micro-particulate solids like dust, pollen, dander, mould spores and ash, the smaller droplets can hitch a ride on top of them and travel greater distances.
They can enter air ducts and travel from room to room and floor to floor. This is how COVID-19 has spread in some multi-unit dwellings, infecting people who are using common areas like elevators and laundry facilities.
Once COVID-19 has entered the air duct system, there are only a handful of options to remove it.
Adding a HEPA filter can trap some of the circulating droplets as they re-enter the duct system.
Adding an ultraviolet air purifier can de-activate some of the droplets as they pass over the HVAC coils.
As for the rest of the harmful droplets? They will have to be manually removed from the ducts. They must be removed in such a way that none of the particles can escape during the removal process, thus re-entering the air supply.
How Indoor Air Duct Cleaning Works to Remove Droplets
Air duct cleaning can:
- Reduce the levels of dirt and debris.
- Reduce the levels of mold.
- Reduce the levels of pollen.
- Reduce the levels of dust mites.
- Improve the efficiency of your HVAC system.
- Reduce asthma and allergy symptoms.
- Improve your home's indoor air quality.
There are many different types of indoor air duct cleaning technologies. Our qualified HVAC technicians at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton use a negative-pressure, commercial grade, RotoBrush hose and brush system with a built-in HEPA filter-equipped vacuum.
The whole duct cleaning process takes about half a day for our HVAC technicians to complete. Trapped matter is dislodged and extracted securely so that there is zero discharge back into the indoor air.
At the end of the process, many of our Clean Air Solutions customers remark that they suffer much less from seasonal allergies, cold and flu. It is also possible to safely add extra ventilation after duct cleaning.
Take 10 Percent Off Any Duct Cleaning Package!
Our commercial-grade indoor air duct cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing service at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton features the unstoppable RotoBrush System.
Right now, take 10% OFF any of our three popular duct cleaning packages.
When you book now, we will also give you a $50 credit towards any whole-home humidifier purchase and installation.
Contact Our Qualified HVAC Technicians At Clean Air Solutions Hamilton
Here at Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton, we are considered an essential business and remain open to serve our customers safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Ragweed Versus COVID: What You Need to Stay Healthier This Fall
After the year we've had so far, the annual arrival of ragweed season may feel distinctly anti-climactic…or it would feel that way, except for all those bothersome allergy symptoms.
Mid-August through October is quite simply prime time for ragweed allergies here in Ontario province, and this year the irritating pollen started showing up as early as late July.
Right now, however, is when pollen counts are highest. This is especially scary this year because ragweed can produce health symptoms that sound eerily similar to the onset of COVID-19.
How can you tell which one is causing your respiratory and health symptoms?
Even more importantly, how can you bolster your defences against all of it? Read on to find out!
Bumper Crop of Ragweed This Year in Ontario
Ragweed is an opportunistic plant - a weed, if you will. And guess where ragweed grows most abundantly here in Canada?
If you guessed southern Ontario, you know why many of us have ragweed on the mind right about now. This year, ragweed season came a full two weeks early. Warmer than usual temperatures have also helped this year's ragweed crop thrive.
And by "thrive," consider this: one single ragweed plant can easily release more than one billion pollen grains into the airspace around it. If you have allergies, this is about the worst time of year for flare-ups.
While ragweed season is never a highly anticipated annual event here in Ontario, this year it is even less welcome at a time when we are all trying to stay as healthy as possible to avoid catching COVID-19.
Ragweed Allergy Versus COVID-19 Symptoms
The symptoms of ragweed allergies versus COVID-19 can look quite similar because both ragweed and COVID-19 primarily attack the respiratory system.
First, let's take a look at what to watch for if you are sensitive to ragweed pollen.
- Post-nasal drip
- Runny nose
- Respiratory congestion
- Sinus pressure, pain and headache
- Itching of the nose, mouth and eyes
- Eyes that are red and watery
- Feeling of pressure in and around the nose and upper face
- Coughing, wheezing.
- "Popping" or blocked ears
- Skin rash
- Blue-tinged or swollen area under the eyes
- Decreased sense of smell
- Decreased sense of taste
- Decreased sleep quality
Do any of these sound like another set of even more worrisome symptoms we are all concerned about right now?
Next, let's take a look at some commonly agreed-upon symptoms of COVID-19.
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Nasal drip or runny nose
- Chills or fever
- Body aches
- Blue-tinged lips or face
- Chest pain or congestion
- Mental confusion
- Excessive sleepiness
- Loss of sense of smell
- Loss of sense of taste
It is true that there is a wider range of potential symptoms associated with the onset of COVID-19, but what matters more is both ragweed allergies and COVID-19 share less typical symptoms, such as loss of sense of smell or taste along with the more typical respiratory symptoms.
Do You Have a History of Ragweed Pollen Sensitivity?
Because ragweed allergies and COVID-19 do share some unusual symptoms, take a moment now to think back to previous years. Do you have a known sensitivity to ragweed pollen?
If you are not sure, consider that fully one-third of Canadians self-report as being seasonal allergy sufferers, and nearly all of these report sensitivity to ragweed as well as other seasonal pollens.
So, if you have suffered from any type of seasonal allergies in years past, you have a higher than average chance of being sensitive to ragweed pollen as well.
Preventing or Treating Ragweed Allergies or COVID-19
Another area where ragweed allergies and COVID-19 are too similar for comfort is in the steps recommended to prevent exposure.
There is no cure for ragweed allergies and no foolproof prevention. But you can take steps to reduce your exposure while out and avoid bringing the pollen into your home. This will protect your indoor air quality.
The best prevention is to avoid contact, just as it is with COVID-19.
This requires taking extra precautions when returning home after being outside. Wash your hands and your clothing. Leave your shoes at the door. Wash all produce thoroughly.
Just as with COVID-19, there is currently no cure, but there are medical treatments to ease the discomfort of some of the health symptoms.
There are also three indoor air quality systems that offer protection against exposure to ragweed and SARS-CoV-2.
Installing HEPA Filtration to Guard Against Ragweed and COVID-19
HEPA filtration is the best way to reduce airborne exposure to ragweed pollen. HEPA filters can block airborne solid particles like pollen with 99.97% efficiency.
Traditional HEPA filters will not work with any HVAC system rated MERV 16 or below.
The best way to add HEPA filtration is to install a standalone HEPA filtration system to work with your central (ducted) HVAC.
If you have window units or ductless HVAC, a portable freestanding HEPA filtration system will do the same job.
Ultraviolet Air Purification Adds Extra COVID-19 Protection
To guard against COVID-19 exposure, you will need more than just a HEPA filter.
You also need ultraviolet air purification, which can neutralize liquid and gaseous droplets that contain active SARS-CoV-2 viral matter.
Ultraviolet air purification systems are available for both ducted (central) and non-ducted indoor spaces.
Indoor Air Ventilation Is Critical to Increase Indoor Air Safety
Finally, pairing HEPA filtration and UV air purification with enhanced indoor air ventilation will give you the most protection against contact with SARS-CoV-2 and ragweed pollen exposure.
Get in Touch With Clear Air Solutions In Hamilton
Here at Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton, we are considered an essential business and remain open to serve our customers safely with contact-less options during this difficult time. Interested in improving your indoor air quality? Give Clean Air Solutions a call at 1-905-549-2470 or visit us online.
Researchers Just Confirmed COVID-19 Is Airborne: Steps to Protect Yourself
Even as our planet’s outdoor air becomes noticeably cleaner in the wake of the worldwide pandemic, our focus is increasingly shifting to a concern about the quality of our indoor air.
And with good reason, as it turns out.
Just this past week, a research team working at the University of Florida finally captured what researchers worldwide are calling a “smoking gun.” They were able to culture and grow live SARS-CoV-2 virus taken from airborne circulating infectious droplets.
What the team found simply confirms what 239 researchers previously stated in an open letter to the World Health Organization (WHO). Social distancing is not enough protection. More must be done to contain the spread of COVID-19.
So now that we know, what can you do? That is the focus of this blog post.
4 New Research-Backed Lessons About COVID-19 in Indoor Spaces
Given that this new research is barely days old, it is too early to say for sure what the ripple effect will be at workplaces, in schools and even in the home.
What is clear already though, is that it is time to stop splitting hairs about how big or small the airborne droplets have to be, how fast or far they can travel and even the concentration that “must” be present to infect someone who encounters active airborne coronavirus.
The truth is, each of these variables still doesn’t factor in the health of the individual that encounters the virus. We must remember we still know very little about why some people get COVID-19 and some people do not get it.
This means more caution rather than less is absolutely the order of the day.
These are the four main lessons that have come out of this breaking research:
- COVID-19 lives quite well and lasts a relatively long time in an airborne state.
- Active, live virus particles can travel much farther than two meters.
- The smaller the aerosol particles are, the higher the risk of transmission.
- Social distancing alone is completely ineffective to stop the threat in indoor spaces.
4 Key Ways to Protect Yourself from Indoor Airborne COVID-19
Even if we learn everything there is to learn about COVID-19 – how it transmits, how much you have to inhale to get infected, how long it lives on this or that surface – we may never discover why one person gets infected and the next person does not.
We are, however, learning more every day about how to protect ourselves from becoming the next COVID-19 statistic.
These four tips will help you stay safer starting now.
1. Stay out of public spaces (yes, even if you are wearing your mask).
This is not easy to hear or pleasant to type, but the research study that delivered the “smoking gun” evidence was conducted in a COVID-19 hospital ward outfitted with every possible safety precaution, including laboratory-grade ventilation, air purification and filtration.
What this means is that, for the foreseeable future at least, all public spaces pose a risk of potential infection. So, the safest thing you can do for yourself and your family is to stay home.
2. Wear a proper mask and keep washing your hands.
While the wealth of customized mask products in cute patterns might suggest otherwise, a mask is not a fashion accessory. The only reason to wear a mask is to prevent active viral particles from entering your body.
Not all masks are created equal here. Be sure to do your research to verify that the mask type you have been using can actually protect you.
It is also vital to wear that mask properly so that it covers your nose and your mouth and fits snugly around the lower portion of your face.
Proper hand washing is still considered a vital source of protection as well.
3. Bolster your immune system and stay healthy.
If it seems like we learn something new about COVID-19 nearly every day, this is because we actually do. It is easy to forget we are still in the very earliest phases of even understanding the virus that is causing this pandemic, much less understanding how to stop it.
Your own immune system is the number one protection you have against the infectious droplets that cause COVID-19.
Everything from chronic stress to sleep deprivation to poor diet to a sedentary lifestyle to pre-existing health issues may weaken your immune response if or when you come in contact with the new novel coronavirus.
You want your immune system to be in its finest fighting form if this happens. So, get enough sleep and do everything you can to stay as healthy as you can.
4. Add indoor air ventilation, filtration and purification.
The research study you read about here earlier was conducted in a hospital setting, which means that simply installing indoor air quality improvements alone won’t offer you the full protection you need against COVID-19.
In fact, relatively bizarre factors ranging from your nostril size and shape to how much nose hair you have can also impact how easily you become infected as well as how sick you get after infection.
Yet again, this also means that every bit of extra protection can potentially lower your risk.
Here is an example. In that same hospital study, the concentration of active airborne viral droplets was very low.
Home, school and workplace versions of these same air quality protections are readily available to help you and your family reduce your risk of infection.
Get in Touch With Clean Air 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.
The Difference Between HEPA Air Filters Versus HEPA Air Cleaners?
Which Do You Need?
Today is a strange time to be alive. Even as debate rages on over whether or not coronavirus is an airborne illness, we are simply trying to cope with daily changes we can't anticipate or plan for.
For most of us, we don’t have the time or energy to closely follow the finer points of the scientific community's ongoing international debate regarding how COVID-19 is transmitted and spread.
Our immediate needs are much more practical. In a nutshell, we need to know exactly what we should be doing right now, today, to reduce our risk of catching COVID-19.
HEPA technology is one potentially protective technology we can add to our indoor spaces now. HEPA stands for "high efficiency particulate air." HEPA is a technology that was first developed during World War II. HEPA filtration worked well then and is still a gold standard in the air quality industry today.
In this article, Clean Air Solutions addresses pressing questions that many of our customers have been asking about HEPA technology:
- What is a HEPA air filter?
- How is that different from a HEPA air cleaner?
- Which is better to protect against COVID-19?
How HEPA Technology Works
HEPA technology was first developed during World War II. The goal was to develop sufficiently dense filtration to prevent scientists from inhaling radioactive airborne particles.
It worked. The scientists stayed safe, and after the war ended, HEPA technology found important new jobs in military and civilian circles.
The term “HEPA” is a reference to a specific level of air cleaning efficiency. Any product or filter bearing a HEPA label must be able to remove solid airborne particles of a certain small size with up to 99.97% efficiency.
Therefore, HEPA filters feature both a very dense filter material and a very intense airflow.
The airflow pushes the air and its solid particles into the HEPA filter. Then the HEPA filter captures them and contains them.
HEPA filters can capture particles as small as 0.01 microns.
Can HEPA Trap Coronavirus Particles?
The virus that causes COVID-19 has a width of 0.125 microns. It ranges in overall size from 0.06 to 0.14 microns.
As you just learned, HEPA technology can capture particles as small as 0.01 microns.
For size-comparison purposes: a single hair on your head has a diameter of about 75 microns.
So HEPA technology definitely has the capability to trap infectious SARS-CoV-2 airborne droplets.
How Is a HEPA Air Filter Made?
A HEPA filter is a specialized, incredibly dense filter that makes it nearly impossible for trapped solid particles to escape.
HEPA air filters are made of microscopic glass fibres – imagine a very tiny spool of very thin thread made out of glass and you’ve got the right idea.
The fibres are first tangled up and then heavily compressed to form a mat riddled with tiny air pockets. These air pockets are what admit the solid particles that will be trapped.
The special properties of these glass fibres can trap microscopic solids in three ways: by impaction (direct impact), interception (trapping and sticking) and diffusion (sticking).
A HEPA air filter is a device that suspends this thick glass fibre mat inside a frame or case made of (essentially) molten plastic.
HEPA air filters work with HEPA-rated devices. These can include HVAC systems, vacuum cleaners and air cleaners.
NOTE: Only HEPA-rated devices can pair with HEPA air filters!
What Is a HEPA Air Cleaner?
A HEPA air cleaner is a specialized air filtration appliance specifically designed to work with a HEPA air filter.
These devices are sometimes also called HEPA air filtration systems and HEPA air purifiers.
NOTE: The term "purifier" is more commonly used to refer to technology that works on liquid or gaseous airborne toxins, such as this unit.
HEPA air cleaners can pair with any central (ducted) HVAC system whether it is HEPA-rated or not.
Alternatively, you can add a standalone HEPA filtration system to a non-ducted HVAC to get the same benefit.
What Happens If You Use a HEPA Air Filter in a Regular HVAC System?
Our team at Clean Air Solutions has gotten more than a few calls from customers who want to know if they can simply order a HEPA filter and use it with their regular residential or commercial HVAC system.
Unless your HVAC system is MERV 17 to 20 rated, the answer here is a solid “no.”
Pairing a HEPA air filter with a standard residential or commercial system that has a MERV rating of any lower than 17 is not recommended for two key reasons.
1. The first reason is that the HEPA air filter is so dense it will cause severe airflow restriction. This, in turn, will reduce the life expectancy of your HVAC system and potentially cause blower motor failure.
2. The second key reason is that requiring your standard HVAC system to work with a HEPA filter can potentially cause the blower motor to overheat, triggering a fire.
The Best Way to Add HEPA Filtration to Any Space
Regardless of the type of HVAC system you have, it is possible to add the protection of HEPA filtration to any space.
There are two main types of standalone HEPA air cleaners: central (ducted) and portable (room unit).
Central HEPA Air Cleaner
Central HEPA air cleaners work seamlessly with any central HVAC system by filtering the air before it enters your ducts to get distributed throughout your space.
Portable HEPA Air Cleaner
Portable HEPA air cleaners work with any space by using high intensity air flow to filter the air inside that space.
Get in Touch With The Experts At Clean Air Solutions
We are now offering online ordering, curbside pickup and shipping. Are you looking to install a HEPA filter system for your home and/or workplace? Give us a call at 1-905-549-2470 or visit us online - we service Hamilton and the surrounding areas (including Ancaster, Burlington, Grimsby, Oakville etc.).
10 Antiviral Essential Oils to Purify Your Air & Protect Your Health During Covid-19
Sometimes it can seem like no matter what we do to stop it, coronavirus just keeps on coming back.
It is, however, important not to lose sight of one fact: here in Ontario, we are making progress.
In fact, even as you are reading this, Ontario is preparing to open back up – exciting news for many small (and large) businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
We also now know so much more about COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, and how to protect ourselves when we are in public spaces.
But there is always more to learn. In this week’s blog post, we tackle a favourite new topic here at Clean Air Solutions – how to boost your immune system in natural ways that will also purify your air and give you extra antiviral protection.
Powerful Anti-Viral & Immune Boosting Essential Oils
It is important to note that we don’t have any research yet that specifically links essential oils with COVID-19; however, we do know that certain essential oils have some ability to fight off other viruses, including some strains of influenza and related viruses.
There is also existing research linking the use of certain essential oils to an improvement in respiratory symptoms known to occur with COVID-19.
1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is a time-honored remedy for chest congestion, stimulating productive coughing that can loosen and thin mucus and clear the lungs and respiratory passages.
Cineole is the primary active ingredient in eucalyptus. Cineole can not only ease respiratory distress but is also known to ease muscle pain and tension that often accompanies illness.
2. Oregano Essential Oil
Carvacrol and thymol are the active ingredients in oil of oregano that can inhibit the growth and replication of viruses, bacteria and fungi.
If you prefer, you can also add oregano to your food to get the health benefits of these active ingredients.
3. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger is another time-honored remedy for everything from gastric distress to respiratory infection. Ginger is also a natural aid to productive coughing that can clear the lungs and thin mucus to expel it from the respiratory passages.
Ginger can be taken as a soothing tea or added to food to get the health benefits.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is naturally sanitizing against viral, bacterial and fungal threats. Tea tree oil is often used as a decongestant and anti-inflammatory agent to ease symptoms of respiratory infection, bronchitis, colds and flu and allergies. It may also repel bacteria that can cause respiratory distress.
Tea tree oil can be quite harsh if used without being diluted in a carrier oil or diffuser. You can also add a few drops to a warm bath or a pot of steaming (not boiling) water and inhale it to get the benefits.
5. Citrus Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil and sweet orange essential oil are two highly recommended citrus essential oils to ease anxiety and fight inflammation while boosting immune system function against any threats.
Fresh lemon and orange can also be added to water, cold or hot drinks and food.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
Researchers primarily recommend lavender to ease the anxiety that can cause cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body to spike and depress immune system function.
Lavender essential oil, lavender tea and lavender-infused foods are all great ways to take in lavender.
7. Peppermint Essential Oil
Like eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint essential oil is a well-known and widely recognized remedy for easing respiratory inflammation and inducing productive coughing. Menthol is the active ingredient.
Peppermint can also be a support for gastric upset. You can take it as a tea, add it to bath water or a diffuser or mix it with a carrier oil and apply it topically.
8. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary has the same active compound, cineole, that is present in eucalyptus as well.
Rosemary has expectorant properties to help with productive coughing, opening up the bronchial passages and easing respiratory inflammation.
Cineole is being tested for use with patients diagnosed with asthma, COPD, bronchitis and other chronic lung and respiratory conditions.
Rosemary is also a great herb to use for cooking and as an addition to salad dressings to get the benefits of the cineole.
9. Clove Essential Oil
Clove is best associated with holiday goodies, but clove actually has powerful expectorant properties to help with expelling mucus, stimulating productive coughing, easing respiratory inflammation and providing relief from discomfort.
Clove oil can also ease the secondary digestive distress that often crops up with respiratory illness.
Clove oil tea can be especially soothing, especially when mixed with a little honey and ginger.
10. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme is still best known as a cooking spice, but it has important properties for respiratory health as well.
Thyme is an antiviral and analgesic (pain-relieving) essential oil. The active ingredient of thyme is thymol, which has inflammation-reducing properties and is also recommended for pain-relief and as an expectorant for productive coughing.
Add thyme to steaming water with some fresh lemon for a soothing tea or add fresh thyme to recipes to enjoy the benefits.
Protect Your Home With Whole Home Ultraviolet Light Purification
Right now and through the end of July, get $50 off a whole-home ultraviolet filtration system at Clean Air Solutions that will work seamlessly with any central (ducted) HVAC system.
We are also offering 10 percent off any of our popular professional indoor air duct cleaning services until July 31, 2020.
Our Roto-brush system uses commercial-grade negative vacuum pressure to safely remove trapped toxins from inside your air ducts.
Get in Touch With Clean Air Solutions
Safely Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home After COVID-19
It is absolutely a smart idea to clean and disinfect your home after you or someone in your family has recovered from COVID-19.
What you really don’t want to do, however, is end up infecting yourself and your loved ones when you do it!
Unfortunately, with a literal avalanche of cleaning and disinfecting guidance to sift through – not all of it accurate – many people find out only too late that they have combined the wrong cleaning products to get the job done.
This is especially worrisome given that COVID-19 directly attacks the respiratory system, which can be weakened by inhaling toxic combinations of household cleaners.
In this post, we cover essential tips for safely cleaning and disinfecting your home after COVID-19.
4 Biggest Exposure Threats from COVID-19 Cleaning Supplies
Health Canada reports a more than 100 percent spike in calls to local poison control centres as the pandemic continues on. Many of these calls are due to improper use of household cleaning products.
These are the four biggest COVID-19-related, cleaning product-related exposure issues that are leading Canadians to call poison control centres:
1. Swallowing the cleaning products.
2. Inhaling fumes from the cleaning products.
3. Splash-back from the cleaning products into the eyes.
4. Skin contact with the cleaning products.
Get Prepared: General Cleaning & Disinfecting Safety Guidelines
The place where most people let down their guard around household cleaning and disinfecting products is right at the beginning.
If you don’t handle these potent products correctly, they are absolutely capable of burning you, making you very sick or even killing you.
You absolutely have to take this preparation phase seriously.
Here is what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends to prepare to clean and disinfect your home after COVID-19:
1. Wear your PPE (mask and gloves).
2. Wear eye protection (safety goggles are ideal).
3. Wear long pants and long sleeves, boots or shoes with socks.
4. Open windows and turn on fans to provide extra fresh air and ventilation.
5. Use only room-temperature water (never hot water) for cleaning projects.
6. Read the labels on every cleaning product very carefully.
7. DO NOT MIX ANY CLEANING PRODUCTS TOGETHER - EVER!
We capitalize this last point because when you mix cleaning products together, this can release toxic gases into your air that can cause temporary or permanent respiratory and lung damage, and even death.
4 Huge Dangers to Avoid When Cleaning Your Home After COVID-19
There is a reason bleach is the recommended cleaning agent of choice when it comes to disinfecting your home after COVID-19. When used correctly, bleach can be a very powerful cleaning agent; however, when used incorrectly, bleach is also a very toxic and dangerous chemical in its own right. Use it in the wrong way, or mix it with something it should not be mixed with, and COVID-19 may be the least of your worries.
The same holds true for drinking or ingesting bleach or any other potentially toxic sanitizing or disinfecting product, including hand sanitizer (more on this below).
To stay safe yourself while keeping your family and home safe, you need to make sure to never do these four things when you are cleaning and disinfecting your home after COVID-19.
1. Do not mix bleach with hot water.
When you combine bleach with hot water, it causes the bleach to vaporize. The bleach will then be in the air you are breathing.
Breathing in vaporized bleach can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chemical pneumonia, burning and blistering of the skin, throat and lungs, permanent lung scarring, COPD and death.
2. Do not mix bleach with any other cleaning product or non-water substance.
If breathing in vaporized pure bleach isn’t already dangerous enough, consider what can occur when you mix bleach with another cleaning product.
When bleach is mixed with vinegar, it vaporizes into chlorine gas. Chlorine is the chemical added to pool water!
When bleach is mixed with ammonia, it vaporizes into chloramine gas.
Ingesting vaporized chloramine or chlorine gas can cause burns and blisters to form on the skin, throat and lungs. Coughing, shortness of breath, pneumonia (chemical pneumonitis) and death are also side effects.
3. Do not drink hand sanitizer.
The government of Canada recently issued a nationwide recall https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2020/73291a-eng.php of certain hand sanitizer products. These products were packaged in bottles that were repurposed from the beverage industry.
In some cases, the bottles looked like water, juice or soda bottles. In other cases, the bottles looked like liquor bottles.
In all cases involved in the recall order, consumers were sufficiently confused by the packaging that they mistook the hand sanitizer for a beverage and drank it, leading to accidental poisoning.
This can be especially concerning with young or elderly family members, so be sure to keep all hand sanitizer products in your home out of harm’s way.
4. Do not expose your skin or eyes to UV-C light.
Finally, while it is highly likely that short-wave ultraviolet band-C light has the potential to neutralize active coronavirus droplets, all recommendations regarding use focus on irradiating air or HVAC coils.
The International Ultraviolet Association strongly advises against exposing bare skin to UV-C light as it can cause burns, blisters, skin cancer and damage to the eyes.
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we do offer a range of ultraviolet purification systems for both central (ducted) and non-ducted spaces of all sizes.
We can show you how to safely use these systems to purify both your indoor air and your HVAC coils.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton is open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Interested in hearing about our recent product promotions? Right now, add whole-home ultraviolet air purification to your HVAC and get $50 off.
Need some professional indoor air duct cleaning done? Schedule our trained technicians and for air duct cleaning and get 10 percent off any of our three popular cleaning packages.
How Ultraviolet Light Air Purification Can Protect You From Coronavirus
The days when learning about cutting-edge air purification techniques was reserved for research scientists, healthcare workers and infectious disease specialists are long gone.
Today, we all need to know as much as we possibly can about how to make sure our air is clean and safe to breathe.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not just because of the coronavirus, although that is certainly the most urgent reason.
Today, our indoor air is up to five times more toxic than our outdoor air. This keeps our immune systems overburdened nearly 24/7, which means when a serious health emergency occurs, we often don’t have access to the full might of our body’s protective response to help us stay healthy.
In this post, we go into detail about the former so that you can understand exactly why and how it works to keep you safer.
P.S. Be sure to read to the end of this post for a special offer to help you add UV air purification to your home or workplace!
What Is Ultraviolet Light Air Purification?
When you first saw the title of this post, you may have had the thought, “Ultraviolet light? But isn’t that supposed to be harmful? Doesn’t it cause skin cancer?”
The answer is “yes,” if you stand in front of it for multiple hours each day.
This is why we are strongly advised to cover up during the hottest parts of the day and to wear sunscreen and protective clothing and eyewear that blocks UV rays when we go outside.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or UVGI, which is the technical name for ultraviolet purification, doesn’t require you to bask in UV light though. Instead, the UV light is concentrated on the air.
Our sun produces three bands of ultraviolet light: A, B and C. Of these three, UV-C is by far the most powerful.
When we go outside, it is actually only UV-A and UV-B that we are protecting ourselves from. UV-C is blocked from reaching us by the ozone layer that surrounds earth (which is also why it is so important to pay attention to ozone alert days and to stay indoors on these days).
Short-wave UV-C, or short band UV-C, is the type of ultraviolet light used for UVGI.
How Does Ultraviolet Light Air Purification Work?
UVGI harnesses the power of UV-C light for concentrated disinfection. UVGI units focus the UV-C directly on one of two places:
1. The air stream itself.
2. The HVAC system coils.
For applications where the air stream itself is to be irradiated, the space is typically unoccupied or divided into upper room and lower room, where only the upper room airstream is irradiated to keep the lower room airstream safe for occupants.
For most residential or commercial spaces, the UV-C light is concentrated on the HVAC system coils instead. As the air passes over the coils, it gets exposed to the UV-C light.
This exposure is what destroys any dangerous liquid or gaseous bio-organic toxins, viruses, bacteria, fungi, microbes and/or micro-organisms that may cause health problems for people.
Why Does Ultraviolet Light Air Purification Work?
When harmful bio-organic matter is exposed to concentrated UV-C light, the light causes irreversible damage.
While this is a drastic over-simplification of how this process works, you can kind of think of it like taking a tiny toxic microbe and tossing it into a skillet. Even if it was dangerous going in, it sure won’t be coming out!
Ultraviolet light’s “skillet effect” is caused because the light band damages the organic nature of the toxin and disrupts its normal function.
So, for example, take a COVID-19 airborne droplet:
The droplet is composed of a thin protective outer membrane made of organic matter. Inside that membrane is the droplet’s RNA, the virus sequence that is set to replicate and cause COVID-19 in its host (AKA you).
When the UV-C light band hits that droplet, it destroys the outer protective organic membrane, exposing and damaging the RNA inside so it cannot replicate. This is how UV-C works to protect you from getting sick with COVID-19 even if there are infectious droplets in your air.
Of course, here, the trick is making sure that the air gets exposed to the UV-C light before you get exposed to the air!
How to Use Ultraviolet Light Purification to Protect Yourself
There are two main ways you can use ultraviolet light to protect yourself, your family and your workers from catching the new novel coronavirus.
1. Install a central (ducted) UV air purifier.
If you have a ducted HVAC system, you can add a UV air purifier that will irradiate your coils and neutralize any incoming toxic particles.
You will also need to seal and weatherstrip your home to block any air leaks or cracks.
2. Add a portable UV air purifier to your space.
For non-ducted spaces, you can still get the protective benefit of UV air purification by adding a portable UV unit to your space. Portable UV purifiers pull the air in, irradiate it and then push it back out again.
You may need more than one portable unit if you have a multi-room space.
Get $50 Off A Whole-Home U.V. Filtration System
Right now, get $50 off your purchase of a whole-home UV system.
If you want to combine this with an indoor air duct cleaning (highly recommended to remove bio-organic toxins trapped in your air ducts that the UV system won’t be able to reach), you can also get 10 percent off this service now.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
We are open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Learn How to Safely Change Your Air Filter During COVID-19
After many decades of being an industry niche topic, air filtration has suddenly become headline news, and we know exactly what we have to thank for this dramatic spike in interest.
Even while some areas within Canada are seeing a reduced incidence of new COVID-19 cases, other areas are still struggling to get to this game-changing point.
On a bigger-picture level, predictions indicate the coronavirus could come back around again as the cool season returns and cold and flu season along with it.
On the subject of cold and flu season, there is also breaking news of a new prospective threat coming out of China - a new novel flu strain for which no vaccine currently exists.
With concerns about indoor air quality and exposure risk at an all time high, it can seem like we have a lot more questions than answers on the topic of indoor air quality and air filtration.
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, you have been calling to ask how to safely change a dirty air filter. This is a great question - read on to learn what to do!
What Toronto Engineers Say About Air Filter Risks
Right here in Toronto, a team of world-class engineers has received nearly half a million dollars to study the problem of airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
You may recall that as recently as a few weeks ago, leading health organizations were emphatic that the new novel coronavirus could not be transmitted via lightweight airborne droplets.
Our own engineers have since turned that theory upside down.
While lead engineer Dr. Jeffrey Siegel states that airborne transmission still is not considered the new novel coronavirus's primary mode of transmission, it is definitely a risk factor.
This places a priority on learning how to safely handle HVAC system maintenance and repair needs, including the need for routine air filter changes.
Dr. Siegel emphasizes that air filters are possible transmission points. For this reason, always assume that any air filter has the capacity to transfer active micro-biological contaminants to humans.
Because COVID-19 can be transferred from an asymptomatic (seemingly healthy) person to other people, it is currently not possible to assume no one in your home or workplace has been exposed.
Instead, you should simply take all of the following precautions when handling air filter changes for any HVAC system or air filtration unit inside your space.
Why Are Regular Air Filter Changes Important During COVID-19?
As we mentioned in the introduction here earlier, we have begun to receive a number of calls from concerned customers who wonder if it is safer to just leave their air filter alone for now.
We do not recommend this for a number of reasons, chief among which is that the dirtier your air filter gets, the more likely it is to become a fire risk.
A dirty air filter that is left in place will also begin discharging small amounts of clogged particulates back into your indoor air, with the effect of reducing indoor air quality and exposing you to other potential pathogens, including mildew, pollen, mould, bacteria and viruses.
This is the last thing your immune system needs right now!
How to Safely Handle and Change Your Air Filter
Dr. Siegel and the University of Toronto team have released official guidance regarding the safest way to handle and change your air filter.
This guidance applies equally to your central or portable/ductless HVAC units and to any standalone air filtration device you may be using, including HEPA air filtration systems. It also applies to cabin air filters for vehicles and RVs!
As with any system, be sure to consult your manufacturer's manual for further instructions on air filter changes to make sure you don't accidentally void your warranty.
Steps To Safely Change Any Air Filter In Your Space
1. Move any immune-compromised individuals to an isolating space.
You want to do this first, since it is impossible to completely avoid dislodging trapped particles during an air filter change.
2. Power off your HVAC system and any fans or other filtration devices as applicable.
You want to make sure there is minimal air circulation during the filter change.
3. Open windows where applicable.
If there are windows in the area where the air filter change is to take place, open them. This will allow for faster release and diffusion of any harmful airborne particles.
4. Place a mask and gloves on and wear any additional PPE you have available.
Personal protective equipment such as safety goggles or glasses (even swim goggles will do in a pinch), facial screen, mask, gloves and non-permeable clothing are all assets when handling any potentially hazardous bio-material.
5. Remove the air filter and place it in a sealable non-permeable bag.
You want to be sure to immediately place the dirty air filter into a bag that can be sealed up right away for safe disposal.
6. Install the new clean air filter and close up the unit.
Once you have removed and bagged up the dirty air filter, quickly move on to install a new clean air filter in its place.
7. Dispose of the sealed bag with the dirty air filter safely outside.
Finally, it is time to head outside and safely dispose of the sealed bag with the dirty air filter.
8. Remove and dispose of single-use PPE and take a shower.
Safely dispose of any single-use PPE and take a warm water shower if you can.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
We are open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
If you do not feel comfortable handling these routine air filter changes on your own, our highly trained service technicians have all the necessary safety equipment and PPE to safely change your air filters.