CleanAir Solutions Blog
Emergency Indoor Air Quality Tips for Winter Power Outages
Even here in Ontario Canada, we are still far too dependent on electricity to supply our winter power needs.
But where power outages in summer bring one set of challenges, surviving a winter power outage during the cold season is an advanced challenge - even for experienced Canadian snowbirds!
This is especially true in this pandemic year when our options for congregating together in public shelters and pooling our resources with friends and neighbours are much more limited.
It is imperative to consider how best to stay safe, healthy and warm inside your own home space as this unprecedented winter weather continues.
Keep reading for more information on the dangers of power outages in Ontario, Canada from our experienced CleanAir Solutions technicians in Hamilton.
4 Special Indoor Air Quality Concerns During Ontario Winter Power Outages
If you have ever once survived a power outage during one of Canada's notorious winter storms, you are not likely to forget it.
However, what you may not have been so conscious of in past years is the sudden sharp decline in indoor air quality that often accompanies a winter power loss.
This toxicity of our indoor air is directly linked to the types of emergency backup power sources we use to stay warm and fed during a power outage.
These are the most concerning indoor air quality toxins you are likely to generate by using these backup power sources:
1. Carbon monoxide (CO).
Carbon monoxide (CO), aka the silent killer, is that odourless, colourless gas that kills hundreds of people each year - most often during the winter months.
Along with idling car engines and malfunctioning furnace pilot lights, backup generators are famous for CO emissions, which take only minutes to kill.
2. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Volatile organic compounds could as easily be called the "toxic cocktail" of gases that can be found in everything from paints and thinners to new carpeting and vehicle interiors.
They are also present wherever butane or gas is being burned, which makes VOCs a frequent hazard during power outages.
3. Smoke, ash and micro-particulates.
There is no doubt sitting around a crackling fire is an instant mood-lifter...for everyone but your lungs.
These are the same smoke, ash and micro-particulate toxins that have been implicated again and again in secondhand smoke-related lung cancer in non-smokers.
The one and only toxin that can go toe-to-toe with secondhand smoke in triggering new cases of lung cancer in non-smokers is radon gas.
Radon is a year-round natural hazard in many areas throughout Canada.
It tends to build up inside homes in the winter, when we keep our windows shut and the ground is too frozen to allow as much radon to release naturally to the outside air.
You Toxic Indoor Air This Winter
Why mention CO poisoning now?
Because the symptoms of CO poisoning are scarily similar to the symptoms of flu.
You may initially think that your dizziness, nausea, headache, body aches, burning eyes and mental fogginess are warning signs of a winter cold or the flu.
You won't have time to discover you are wrong if it is really carbon monoxide causing your symptoms.
Your number one and ONLY guaranteed defence against carbon monoxide fatality is to install a battery powered (NOT electric) carbon monoxide detector and be sure to maintain it properly.
You simply cannot be too careful when it comes to this potentially life-saving indoor air quality monitor.
NOTE: It nearly goes without saying that you should also have working battery powered (NOT electric) smoke alarms and radon detection alarms installed. Be sure to test and service these systems faithfully at the same time you test and service your CO detector system.
What Not to Do to Generate Heat During a Winter Power Outage
Many of the other heat sources that generate the majority of indoor air quality concerns during winter power outages can be smelled in advance.
The trouble here is that most of these generate carbon monoxide along with VOCs, particulates and other airborne poisons.
Any combustion appliance is capable of causing health symptoms that range from mild to fatal.
For anyone who is living with compromised lung capacity due to COPD, COVID-19, lung cancer, bronchitis, asthma or even severe seasonal allergies, the health impact can be severe.
This is why you should never use any type of camping stove or camp heater indoors or even in enclosed outdoor spaces during a winter power outage.
Remember, if you are using any type of smoke, radon or CO detector that relies on electricity for power, these will become non-operational during a power outage. You will need to have backup detectors for these times.
Protect Yourself and Your Lungs This Winter With Air Quality Testing
The number one way to protect yourself and your lungs this winter begins with indoor air quality testing.
You need to know what is in your indoor air before you can take measures to remediate and clean the air inside your space.
In 72 hours, you can learn exactly which toxins are causing chronic health symptoms and impacting your immune system and put measures in place to counteract these.
Don't let a power outage take down your health along with your power supply. We can help you plan ahead to make sure your home is a safe place to shelter.
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, Is Your Indoor Air Quality Expert
No Ontario Canada winter is ever completely predictable. This is especially true during this pandemic year.
Our highly trained air quality technicians can help you breathe safely while sheltering in place during a winter power outage.
P.S. When you call, be sure to ask about our Bundle Up and Save $100 offer!
What To Do Before Installing a Humidifier, HEPA Filter or UV Air Purifier
What if you knew there was one thing you needed to do first before installing your new indoor air quality equipment?
And you knew that, without completing that step first, your new equipment would not deliver on its promise of cleaner indoor air?
Would you do it?
This past year has forced each of us to revisit how well we can tolerate breathing dirty, toxic and potentially viral air. In this post, our CleanAir Solutions Technicians highlight the part of the equation nearly everyone continues to overlook.
What Is Professional Air Duct Cleaning?
As we have mentioned so many times here before, air duct cleaning is not glamorous. No one talks about it at cocktail parties - back before COVID when we were still allowed to host cocktail parties, that is.
But even now, when our indoor air quality customers are so familiar with HEPA and ultraviolet air cleaners, they often call to ask for what they need by name, air duct cleaning still goes largely unmentioned.
And our lungs are the poorer for it.
Imagine your home has a set of lungs. Where might you look to find them? For homes with central HVAC systems, the lungs can only be located in one place - your air ducts.
Now imagine those lungs have been breathing in dust and dirt and pollen and mould spores and pet dander and environmental toxins like carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds for years or even decades.
If you were able to peer inside your home's lungs, how dirty might you expect them to be?
Pretty dirty. We can confirm. In most cases, when we visit a home to provide a Hamilton, Ontario air duct cleaning service, it is the first time that home's "lungs" have ever been cleaned.
And in fact, when we insert our tiny camera up into the ducts to see what there is to be seen, what we see is a spectacularly thick layer of toxic debris just waiting to be exhaled.
Our RotoBrush system uses negative vacuum pressure to exhale all those toxins directly into our secure waste removal canister, following that up with a deodorizing and/or sanitizing treatment (depending on what air duct cleaning package the homeowner has selected).
By evening, with squeaky clean lung-ducts for the first time since the crew broke ground to lay that home's foundation, their indoor air is so clean many customers can actually smell the difference!
Why Indoor Air Cleaners Won't Work Without Air Duct Cleaning
Perhaps the idea of investing in both an indoor air cleaner and air duct cleaning seems cost-prohibitive to you.
We understand. 2020 was a tough year financially for many of us.
But if you could only afford to make one change to your indoor air quality right now, we strongly recommend starting with air duct cleaning.
This cleaning service literally resets the level of purity in your indoor air back to 100 percent.
It not only gets rid of the single socks and old VHS tape holders and comic books and all the other legitimately strange stuff our technicians have found in home air ducts over the decades, but it also removes the far scarier stuff no one can see.
- The bacteria.
- The mildew.
- The ash residue.
- The viral micro particulates.
- The odour.....you know the one - the mysterious odour that, no matter how much (chemical) air "freshener" you try to use, just never goes away.
It was hiding in your air ducts all along!
Try installing a UV air purifier, HEPA filter or humidifier system without first cleaning out your air ducts and you instantly reduce the useful life of your new system by 10 percent or greater (depending on the age of your home and the state of its air ducts).
That is no investment worth writing home about.
What to Expect During Indoor Air Duct Cleaning Service
You may have many questions about air duct cleaning and we are happy to answer them.
“How much is duct cleaning?”
“How does duct cleaning work?”
The biggest question most people have is "do I have to leave the house during air duct service?"
You sure don't. You can stay at home! We even have safe contactless service, invoicing and payment options if you need them.
The next biggest question is "how long will indoor air duct cleaning take?"
The average service call ranges from three to five hours depending on the size of your space and the complexity of its duct system.
Another question we get asked a lot is "what will be done during an air duct cleaning?"
This depends on the package you pick. Options include:
- Air duct cleaning
- Clean the air registers
- Clean furnace fan
- Clean AC coil
Would You Like to Save $100 on Cleaner Indoor Air?
There is no doubt that cleaning up your indoor air is going to require an investment.
The good news is, you only have to make that investment once.
Unlike for many home maintenance needs, air duct cleaning doesn't need to be repeated annually. In fact, once every five to 10 years is usually quite sufficient!
With COVID-19 still raging on, we want to make it easy and affordable for you to protect yourself and your family.
Right now, take $100 off the cost of any of our three popular air duct cleaning packages when you combine your purchase with either a whole-home humidifier or whole-home ultraviolet air purifier.
Click here to claim your $100 savings.
(Don't wait - this offer only lasts until February 28th!)
Get Clean Indoor Air With Hamilton Ontario CleanAir Solutions
Cleaner indoor air is no longer a luxury to dream about. It has become a health necessity. At CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario. can help you select the perfect package to improve your indoor air quality at home and at work.
P.S. Be sure to request our safe contactless estimate, service, invoicing and payment options.
Improving Indoor Air Quality During The COVID-19 Pandemic
It has finally happened. Everywhere we go these days, people are talking about air quality - really talking about it!
COVID-19 has created a world where learning about "good" and "bad" air quality is a top priority. Good thing your trusted team of air quality experts at CleanAir Solutions Hamilton has the answers and (clean air equipment) that you’re looking for!
If you are reading this, you probably want to know what you can do to improve your own indoor air quality while you shelter in place at home.
And when you return to work (if applicable) you want to know that the air you breathe at the office will be clean and safe as well.
What does it mean to say the air is polluted? What types of toxins can make you sick? Where do those toxins come from?
Most importantly, how can you get rid of them so the air you need to survive doesn't harm your health or your lungs? Read on to find out!
What Is Air Pollution
At CleanAir Solutions Hamilton, we have yet to meet a customer who is unaware of the concerns about outdoor air quality. Smog, carbon emissions and even pollen often feel like dangers beyond what we personally can control.
Indoor air quality is a whole different story.
2020 helped a lot of people realize just how toxic our indoor air has become - up to five times more toxic than the smog and pollen-laden outdoor air according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Improving indoor air quality also feels more do-able to most of us. We are working with a smaller area. Often, it is an area we bought and paid for or at least visit every single day.
But while you may feel like you can control the air quality inside your space, you may not know exactly how to do that, which is what we will talk about here next.
Controlling the Quality of Your Indoor Air
Before you can clean up your indoor air, you have to know what is making it dirty.
The types of toxins in your indoor air will drive the indoor air quality solutions you implement to reduce air pollution.
Here is a very simple example.
Let's say you have a cozy wood fireplace inside your home. You love gathering around it at night with your family. But you notice that you often wake up with a scratchy throat and watery eyes the next morning. What is going on?
Here, there are two different types of toxins that are dirtying your indoor air.
The first type is solids - particles of ash that are produced by the burning wood. The second type is gaseous - volatile organic compounds, dioxins, carbon monoxide and others.
This means you need two different types of air cleaners to address the air pollution your fireplace is causing.
How To Check And Control Air Quality In Your Home
In the previous section here, we identified two categories of indoor air pollution your warm fireplace is causing: solids and gases.
1. HEPA filtration addresses air pollution from particulate solids.
What is a HEPA filter? To deal with the solid particles, you need a HEPA air filter system. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air.
A HEPA filter is a special type of incredibly dense air filter that can trap up to 99.97 percent of all airborne solid particles as small as 0.3 microns (about 1/100th the width of one human hair).
There are two basic types of HEPA air filter systems:
- Ducted (central)
- Non-ducted (portable).
NOTE: Whatever you decide to do, don't try to change out your HVAC system's existing air filter for a HEPA filter. This can cause your HVAC blower motor to overheat and start a home fire! Only MERV 17-20 HVAC systems can handle a HEPA filter.
Is it time to install a HEPA filter in your home this year? Contact CleanAir Solutions Hamilton for more information or to schedule an installation appointment.
2. Ultraviolet purification addresses air pollution from gases.
With your HEPA filter system in place, your lungs no longer have to cope with breathing in solid ash as the wood burns brightly in your fireplace.
What about all those toxic gases that are now swirling about inside your space though?
The best air purifier on Earth is our own trusty Sun. The sun produces three different bands of ultraviolet light: A, B and C.
Of these three bands, UV-C is the most powerful. It is also the only band that our planet's ozone layer cannot block out, which is the reason your doctor tells you to cover up or wear sunscreen when you go outside.
How can you harness the power of UV-C to neutralize and purify the toxic gases pouring out of your fireplace?
Here, what you need is an ultraviolet purification system.
UV air purifiers, like HEPA air filters, come in two basic types:
- Central (ducted)
- Portable (non-ducted) models.
A UV air purifier emits a synthetic focused short-wave band of UV-C light that purifies the air that passes through it. All of the air inside your space must pass through the UV air purifier in order for it to be fully effective.
Interested in installing a UV Air Purifier? CleanAir Solution Hamilton supplies the highest quality UV Air Purifiers for our HVAC clients.
Clean Air Can Still Be Stale Air Unless You Add A Heat Recovery Ventilator
It sure feels great to know your indoor air is no longer chock-full of toxic particles and gases.
Minimizing health symptoms from air pollution, whether that pollution arises from ragweed seasonal pollen, a festive home fireplace or COVID-19, is not just about cleaning up your indoor air though.
It also requires the regular addition of fresh, oxygenated outside air.
The best way to add back fresh air to your home or work place is to give your space its own set of lungs.
A heat recovery ventilator can keep a steady stream of fresh, clean air flowing in.
Hamilton Ontario CleanAir Solutions Has Your Indoor Air Quality Solutions
Together with our sister company, Shipton's Heating and Cooling, we are helping homeowners and business owners to make smart, safe indoor air quality upgrades that can keep you healthier.