CleanAir Solutions Blog
Clean Your Dryer Vent to Help Avoid Starting A Home Fire
Every year in North America, more than 15,000 fires start when trapped dryer vent lint overheats and ignites. And every year, multiple people die as a result.
This statistic has secured the clothes dryer a permanent spot on many home insurers's top five most dangerous home appliances lists.
But, unfortunately, there are still far too many homeowners who remain blissfully unaware of the danger they are in.
Clothes dryers are a great invention in many ways. However, they require regular and very specific maintenance to function well and safely. In this post, learn how to make sure your clothes dryer is safe to operate.
At CleanAir Solutions, our technicians are focused on keeping your home environment safe. If you have any questions concerning your dryer vent or would like to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, contact our team today!
How Does a Clothes Dryer Catch on Fire?
This is actually a very common question our service technicians hear as they are making their regular weekly series of service calls.
In fact, the question usually pops up during an indoor air duct cleaning. Thanks to the global pandemic, indoor air duct cleaning has gone from near-complete obscurity to making news headlines.
For most of our customers, it is really eye-opening to peer into that little remote camera we send up into the air ducts before each cleaning.
The camera reveals what 5-20 years of benign neglect can do to the inside of a home duct system. Some ducts we've cleaned are so clogged it’s amazing that any airflow can still get through!
A chronically clogged duct system can eventually cause a home fire as trapped dust, dirt and debris collects on and around the HVAC blower motor, causing it to overheat and ignite.
Clogged air filters represent a similar risk. Restricted air flow pushes the blower motor to work harder and harder until it overheats and ignites.
But even these are not as dangerous as what can happen when trapped dryer lint on, in or around your clothes dryer encounters heated air and catches on fire.
This is precisely why our indoor air quality experts recommend scheduling an indoor air duct cleaning and a dryer vent cleaning together, especially if you have inherited both your ducts and your appliances from a prior homeowner.
Where Does Flammable Lint Get Trapped in Your Clothes Dryer?
The average clothes dryer operates at between 51 and 57 degrees Celsius (125 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit).
And yet most people think that scooping out visible lint from the clothes dryer lint trap is enough to prevent a clothes dryer fire.
How we wish this was the case!
When you see a wad of visibly trapped lint in the lint trap, this is just a portion of all the flammable lint potentially trapped inside your clothes dryer, air duct and exhaust vent.
Don't get us wrong - you should definitely clean the lint trap after every single load of laundry you dry. But this on its own is not ever going to be enough to effectively reduce the risk of a dryer-related home fire.
This is because lint gets trapped in much deeper places inside the interior of your dryer - places you can't see or reach.
In addition to the lint trap, the most common places where our dryer vent specialists find trapped lint include behind the dryer drum and inside the air duct that leads to the exhaust vent.
Sometimes dirt and debris also makes its way into the dryer from the outside. Birds and small animals love to build nests in exhaust vent holes. This activity can end up pushing dust, dirt and debris back up into your dryer, coating and clogging the interior components with highly flammable organic particulates.
Another serious fire risk that is too frequently overlooked is the residue from fabric softener treatments and dryer sheets that can build up inside the dryer drum. This residue can be very flammable when heated.
How to Clean Out Your Clothes Dryer Lint
At this point, you might be wondering if you can clean the dryer lint out of your clothes dryer on your own.
We don't recommend this, since it can require some specialized equipment and know-how. At a minimum, you will likely need a flashlight, a screwdriver, a roto brush kit with a vacuum attachment, metal duct tape, towels and vinegar/water cleaning solution.
You will need to detach the exhaust air duct and thread the roto brush inside the duct tube to clean it from the outside end and the dryer end. The suction should be strong enough to pull out loosely trapped debris and agitate dust and dirt that is adhered to the sides of the duct.
SAFETY NOTE: It is very important to disconnect the power to the clothes dryer at the electrical box before you do anything more advanced than simply pulling excess visible lint out of the lint trap!
However, once you have a professional dryer vent cleaning done, you can help the benefits to last as long as possible by removing dryer lint after every single cycle.
How Often Should You Clean Your Clothes Dryer Vent?
The frequency of a professional dryer vent cleaning should match your usage habits. If you do laundry and use your clothes dryer daily, you would be best served with a quarterly cleaning.
If you do laundry once or twice each week and dry only certain items, you may be safe having your clothes dryer professionally cleaned twice per year.
Your CleanAir Solutions service technician can help you to identify the right frequency of dryer vent cleaning.
Hamilton Ontario CleanAir Solutions Is Your Dryer Vent Cleaning Expert
CleanAir Solutions has nearly half a century of expertise improving indoor air quality to protect your family's health and safety.
Give us half a day and we will have your indoor air quality feeling and smelling better. Our prompt, professional, polite service technicians are earning rave reviews from your Hamilton Ontario area friends, neighbours and colleagues - but don't take our word for it.
How to Choose the Right Home Indoor Air Quality Products For Your Home and Family in 2021
You would think after multiple decades of improving home indoor air quality for our customers, we would have some kind of standard offer that works equally well for everyone.
Here's why we don't!
Yes, there are some air quality concerns that are pretty universal to us all.
But inside each home, there are also air quality issues unique to that specific home, homeowner and family.
For example, maybe you have pets, but your neighbours don't. Maybe your neighbours smoke, but you don't. Maybe two doors down from you, the homeowner is dealing with radon gas from the rock mass underneath their foundation.
Every home and every situation is different.
This is why we take a very individualized approach to designing each customer's indoor air quality toolkit. In this blog post, learn about the top-notch tools our CleanAir Solutions technicians can offer to address your unique home indoor air quality needs and concerns.
Meet the Best of the Best Indoor Air Quality Products
There are five major categories of home indoor air quality products that we offer at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario.
- Indoor Air Purification
- Indoor Air Filtration
- Indoor Air Ventilation
- Indoor Air Humidification
- HVAC air duct cleaning
Each of the above categories has something different to contribute to indoor air quality improvements.
Read on to learn about each tool, what it does and how it works to address your unique indoor air quality concerns.
What an Air Purifier Does and How It Works
The Air purifier market has suddenly gone from being virtually unknown to sitting in the limelight. Why? This is because of the global pandemic, of course!
Air purification is the acknowledged industry leader in fighting back against airborne, viral droplets.
The world's best air purifier is our sun. The sun's ultraviolet rays are able to break down liquid or gaseous organic matter and destroy harmful agents like viral, bacterial and fungal particles.
Today's cutting edge indoor air purifier harnesses a synthetic version of the sun's most powerful UV light band - UV-C.
As air moves across the air purifier, any harmful organic matter is rendered harmless.Pretty neat system, right?
If you have a central (ducted) HVAC system, our air purifier technicians can add an ultraviolet air purifier to your existing system. It treats the air before it enters your ducts in order to neutralize potent liquid or gaseous toxins. There is also an add-on you can install that treats your air coils with UV light.
If you have a non-ducted HVAC system, a portable air purifier does the same thing for smaller spaces.
What Air Filtration Does and How It Works
Air filtration and air purification are frequently confused. They are not the same, but rather, are complementary systems.
Here is an example!
Let's say someone in your family is recovering from COVID, or has already recovered from COVID.
The virus spreads by liquid droplets that enter the airstream through a sneeze or cough. But then the droplets find a tiny airborne particle and land on top of it.
This is why we often recommend using both an air purifier and air filtration system for our customers who are concerned about purifying their indoor air from SARS-CoV-2. Together, these two products can trap any potentially toxic solids, gases and liquids.
A HEPA filter, which is the gold standard for filtration today, is able to trap solid particles as small as 1/100th the width of a single human hair.
What is a HEPA Filter? A Hepa air filter system is designed to remove 99.97% of all airborne particles in your home - dramatically improving the air quality.
NOTE: If you are not sure what is in your indoor air that may be causing your health or allergy symptoms, we highly recommend starting with a home air quality test. Our technicians can help you understand how to test air quality at home and recommend the best fix for your specific needs.
This silent yet comprehensive 72-hour test will be able to identify the airborne toxins in your indoor air. Our CleanAir Solutions technicians can then design a system to address each of the toxins effectively.
What Ventilation Does and How It Works
Like an air purifier or air filtration system, ventilation and circulation often get mixed up. But they are not the same. Instead, they work in complementary ways.
Air ventilation is the process by which new, fresh air is drawn into a space while old, stale air is pushed back out.
Air circulation, in contrast, is the process by which that new fresh air is distributed evenly throughout your home.
Ventilation happens by opening a window or door to the outside, running your HVAC fan or exhaust fan or using a heat recovery ventilator (hrv system).
Circulation happens with some help from floor or ceiling fans and air ducts.
Without proper ventilation, circulation can only distribute the same toxic, stale air that is already trapped inside your space.
What Humidification Does and How It Works
Humidification is another important tool for managing indoor air quality. The amount of humidification you need will vary based on a number of factors.
The recommended humidity range for indoors is now 40 to 60 percent because research has confirmed that slightly higher indoor humidity can help reduce the threat of COVID-19 transmission.
Humidification can also be important to keep your respiratory passages and mucous membranes hydrated and functional to support better immune health.
A whole house humidifier is what we recommend for distributing humidity evenly throughout your home. However, portable units are also available for smaller or non-ducted spaces.
What HVAC Air Duct Cleaning Does and How It Works
Air duct cleaning is perhaps the number one most overlooked indoor air quality tool.
For our customers who have ducted HVAC systems, we always recommend starting with superior air duct cleaning services before moving on to install air quality equipment.
How does duct cleaning work? Learn more about it from our Ontario duct cleaning experts at CleanAir Solutions! We offer Duct cleaning in Burlington, Brantford, Hamilton and surrounding areas.
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario - Your Indoor Air Quality Experts
Together, CleanAir Solutions and our sister company, Shipton's Heating and Cooling, have nearly 100 years experience serving customers in Hamilton and surrounding areas!
When it comes to HVAC and indoor air quality, we’ve seen it all! Not sure how to check air quality in home? Worried about the health of your indoor air? Wondering about the affects on your health and immune function? Our air quality experts have loads of tools to ease your mind and clear your air - literally.
3 Step Process to Allergy Proof Your Home in 2021
It is exciting to watch the world start to open back up again - at last! Finally, there seems to be some hope on the horizon that we’ll be able to put the pandemic behind us.
But we are not there yet. And before we can get there, we have to run the gauntlet of the spring allergy season here in Ontario, Canada.
While we still know far too little about how to prevent COVID-19, we actually know quite a lot about how to prevent, or at least minimize, spring allergy symptoms.
In this post, learn the three steps to allergy proof your indoor space - keeping your immune system strong and your spring season healthy!
3 Steps to Allergy Proof Your Indoor Space This Spring
Recent reports indicate that one in five Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies. It used to be one in six!
But with global warming spurring pollen-producing foliage on to ever greater production levels, the number of sufferers just continues to increase. And reports of seasonal allergy symptoms indicate these are worsening as well.
This was worrisome enough on its own....before COVID-19!
Now there is a new urgency to protect our respiratory and overall health.
These three allergy proofing steps have the potential to minimize, or even prevent, seasonal allergy symptoms from weakening your immune response and ruining your spring.
Step 1: Identify the Major Allergy Triggers in Your Space
Step one to allergy proof your home this spring is to identify the source of your allergy symptoms.
Common culprits include dust mites, pollen, pet dander, insects (primarily waste), mould and mildew.
These are usually the triggers you need to remove from your space in order to minimize or prevent seasonal allergy symptoms. But how can you do that?
Step 2: Identify the Correct Category for Each Airborne Toxin
Indoor air quality is not just a fancy-sounding term. It is a science. And our CleanAir Solutions technicians understand it well!
This has never been more true than it is now, when the global pandemic has called on every air quality researcher, engineer and scientist to step up their game.
What we have collectively learned is that we already have very effective technology to combat airborne toxins of every type - liquid, gas and solid.
What we do not yet have is effective implementation. In other words, all the technology in the world does us no good if we are not using it!
So, now is the time to categorize each airborne toxin so that we know what type of indoor air quality antidote is needed to combat it.
Solid airborne toxins are tiny bits of organic matter. Some are so tiny you would need a very strong microscope to see them.
Solid toxins include matter like dust, dust mites, ash from cooking and smoking, pollen, pet dander, mould spores, mildew spores and dirt.
The majority of seasonal allergy producing toxins fall into this category.
The most prevalent example of a liquid airborne toxin right now is the dreaded SARS-CoV-2 liquid droplet.
Thanks to the impact of evaporation, we now know that the initially large and heavy droplets can quickly evaporate to become lighter and more buoyant, at which point they can land on an airborne micro particle solid and travel much farther distances.
There are many other liquid toxins to worry about as well.
Many common household cleaning products contain liquid toxins like bleach, hydrogen peroxide or ammonia.
E-cigarette liquid, flea and tick sprays, liquid pesticides and repellents, drain and toilet cleaners, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze and refrigerant are other common examples of liquid allergens.
Gaseous toxins are the hardest to spot because they are typically invisible to the naked eye. Luckily, many carry characteristic odours that make them easier to detect, such as the rotten egg sulfur smell of a gas leak.
Carbon monoxide is the most famous and is called the colourless, odourless killer.
Ozone, volatile organic compounds, chlorine and other gases are also known toxins that can produce a range of serious or deadly health symptoms.
Step 3: Identify the Right Air Quality Antidote for Each Category of Toxins
Once you have completed step one - identifying the toxins inside your indoor air - and step two - properly categorizing each toxin by type - it is time to apply the correct antidote to stop your symptoms from occurring.
There are two major types of indoor air quality technologies: air filtration and air purification.
Solid airborne toxins are best addressed through indoor air filtration, while purification will most effectively neutralize liquid and gaseous airborne toxins.
So let's take a look at each now.
The type of air filtration most people recognize is a furnace filter. What most people don't know is the average furnace filter's only real job is to keep the blower motor from becoming clogged.
It is not designed to handle tiny solid microparticles like the type that can carry a COVID-19 droplet or a microscopic particle of pollen.
For these tiny toxic solids, what you need is a HEPA Filter.
HEPA filter systems can filter 99.97 percent of airborne solid toxins as small as 1/100th the width of a single human hair.
Air purification uses concentrated short-wave ultraviolet light to neutralize both liquid and gaseous airborne toxins.
By changing the organic structure of these toxins, ultraviolet air purification systems render them harmless to you and your family.
Contact CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, for Expert Indoor Air Quality Solutions
CleanAir Solutions is proud to be one of the most trusted indoor air quality providers in Hamilton, Ontario, and surrounding areas.
Our friendly, prompt, experienced and highly trained indoor air quality experts can improve the air inside your home and workplace before your allergy symptoms hit! We also offer a variety of solutions to fit every budget.