CleanAir Solutions Blog
It is easy to assume that the air we breathe is toxic due to outside causes such as carbon emissions, volatile organic compounds, burning fossil fuels, and widespread use of nicotine products.
But in many cases, the true causes of air toxicity lie much closer to home, and even inside your own home!
For many of our clients, there is an initial shock when they receive their indoor air quality test results. That shock often deepens when we review the test results together and highlight possible sources for the found toxins.
The good news is, that initial shock can move you through the necessary learning curve quite quickly, so you don't spend one second longer than you have to breathing in toxic indoor air. Because the truth is, most people simply do not realize there are so many hidden toxins hiding out in plain sight in our homes and workplaces!
In this post, learn six tips to flush out hidden home toxins and keep them out for good.
Tip 1: Choose your home improvement products carefully
Thanks in large part to reality television and social media platforms like Pinterest, do-it-yourself home improvement projects have become very popular today. Learning to oversee your own repairs and renovations can be a real money-saver, but there can be another, less well-known cost in terms of your health.
Many adhesives, glues, paints, primers, varnishes, stains, and composite building materials are also manufactured using components known to cause symptoms from over-exposure.
Tip 2: Thoroughly research any new furniture purchases
Numerous studies now confirm that new furniture may bring toxic fumes and gases into your home.
You can read about one newlywed couple's sad story of formaldehyde over-exposure as told by CBC News.
While North American furniture manufacturers are not currently required to provide by law to provide their products' emissions levels, it can be a wise idea to do your own research, especially if you have any individuals in your household with special health issues.
Oprah released a helpful list of furniture and home furnishings that have been known to contain potent toxins.
As Oprah points out, it is also critical to note that just because an item is "vintage" or antique does NOT mean it is not toxic.
Tip 3: Try not to purchase carpet and opt for tile or wood instead
New carpeting sure does feel good under tired, achy feet. But it may not feel so good when you breathe it in.
New carpeting has been implicated as containing significant quantities of potent chemicals, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and other volatile organic compounds too complicated to pronounce.
Health experts state that some new carpet is so densely packed with VOCs that symptoms can set in as quickly as just 60 minutes after installation!
Symptoms reported include headaches, dizziness, nausea, respiratory irritation, nerve impairment, coughing, and shortness of breath. Very young and elderly family members along with asthma sufferers tend to experience the most serious symptoms.
Tip 4: Beware the soggy houseplant
Taking proper care of different species of houseplants can prove more challenging than anticipated, even with the help of those handy "how to care for me" inserts many plants today come with.
Figuring out how much to water each plant and how often and when is also an ongoing challenge. Not enough water, and your new plant will wither and die. Too much water, and your plant will reward you with mould and mildew spores that waft through your indoor air and set up colonies in your home's dark, damp places.
Mould and mildew spores represent a major issue for many Canadian homeowners today, so much so that many Canadian agencies have included identification and cleanup tips on their respective websites.
Mould in particular can cause a range of health issues as diverse as respiratory distress, allergic reactions, wheezing, asthma attacks, and lung infections. For this reason, currently the only "safe level" for mould is set at zero.
Tip 5: Remember, outdoor toxins travel easily
Here, we are not talking about smog or fossil fuel emissions. The outdoor toxins we refer to are much closer to your home - in fact, they are right outside in your lawn and garden.
Today's modern pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides do their job very well. Unfortunately, in addition to killing weeds and bugs, these toxic compounds can also adversely affect human and pet health.
The most common way that pesticides travel indoors is on your shoes and outerwear. By removing your shoes and changing your clothes, you can keep pesticides from circulating in your indoor air supply.
Tip 6: Keep an eagle eye on vents, registers, and ducts.
Just as a layer of dust will build up on furniture and furnishings when you've been away from home for a time, so too will dust build up inside vents, registers, and air ducts after months or years of continuous use.
Since the primary purpose of these internal home structures is to facilitate the movement of clean, temperature-controlled air from room to room, you want to keep them as clean as possible. The more dust and debris that collects inside, the more easily toxins can also be trapped and added to your indoor air supply.
Want the Toxins Gone for Good? We Can Help!
Clean Air Solutions, a sister company to Shipton's Heating & Cooling, was launched in response to increasing concerns about toxins, chemicals, and poisons in our shared air supply. We can't do anything to control the outside smog, carbon emissions, or fossil fuel burning that goes on daily, but we sure can make a positive impact on the quality of the air inside your home!
We offer three duct cleaning packages to restore your indoor air to a pure, oxygen-rich, clean, fresh, and breathable resource you can trust. Give us a call at 905-544-2470 to schedule your indoor air duct cleaning service consultation!
We know we aren’t the only ones posting suggestions for how to steer clear of spring allergies right now—just look around you and you’ll see why.
But because of what we do for a living, we offer some alternative, very effective suggestions to simply avoiding going out on hot, dry, and windy days.
It’s not just pollen that aggravates your immune system with the seasonal change. Other allergens are also found indoors, and getting rid of them helps decrease the severity of your reactions to the springtime outdoor triggers.
Thus, we think it’s an especially opportune moment to share seven of our favorite tips for how to repel or eliminate common indoor allergens—naturally.
Tip 1: Clear out the clutter
Guess where dust, pollen, and dirt like to collect? If you guessed “anyplace with existing clutter” you already know this first step well! The less clutter your home contains, the less likely you will be to be unknowingly harboring dust colonies that get stirred up whenever you open a closet or cabinet.
Why is this essential?
Dust and pollen won’t be the only thing collecting in those corners and crevices. Dust mites, pet dander, skin flakes, mould spores, dirt, insect parts, and other allergens will also begin to build up.
Clutter can be especially problematic when you are also trying to control pests, who will instinctively seek out dark, enclosed spaces in which to hide.
Tip 2: Change to HEPA-rated air filters and replace them every 30 days
Angie’s List reports that a dirt and debris buildup of just one-sixteenth of an inch can decrease air conditioner and furnace airflow efficiency by up to 20 percent.
This makes not changing the air filter an expensive chore to neglect!
But simply changing the air filter is often not sufficient to guard against the spring allergen onslaught. For serious protection, what you need is a high-efficiency particulate air filter, or HEPA filter for short. HEPA filters can filter out 99.97 percent of all airborne toxins as small as 0.3 microns (1/100th the size of a single human hair).
Tip 3: Have those air ducts vacuumed out
This is an especially crucial help if someone in your family suffers from asthma. The average Canadian home has never had a professional air duct cleaning service, which in some cases can mean the dust present inside the air ducts dates back to when the home was first built!
As we mentioned in the previous tip, just one-sixteenth of an inch of dirt buildup can hinder airflow efficiency, adding wear and tear to your HVAC system and expense to your monthly energy bill.
But it can do more damage than just to your budget.
For serious allergy suffers and those who have asthma, there is no substitute for the complete indoor air quality reset a professional air duct cleaning service provides. In one day, every speck of that built-up debris is removed, leaving your indoor air supply clean, pure, and fresh.
Tip 4: Change your clothing, socks, and shoes when you come in from outdoors
This tip tends to be one of our customers’ favorites. After all, who doesn’t love that time in the day when you get to take off your work, school, or errand-running clothes and slip into some comfy sweats and slippers?
As it turns out, you get more than just comfort when you change your attire from head to toe after coming indoors.
Containing the clothes in the hamper until they’re ready to be washed, you also prevent all the allergy-causing pollen, mould spores, and other toxins that have been hitching a ride in from spreading.
Tip 5: Know when to ventilate and when to keep those windows closed
Did you know that pollen spore counts in the outdoor air tend to be highest near dawn and again between 10am and 3pm? This is exacerbated when the weather is windy, as it often is during the spring season.
During these hours or on windy days, it is best to leave your windows closed and find other ways to ventilate and circulate your indoor air, such as by using a heat recovery ventilator system or by investing in an air purifier.
Tip 6: Keep your indoor air humidity balanced
Healthy Living: Canada recommends keeping the humidity in your home or workplace between 30 and 50 percent.
Typically, the bathroom is the most humid room in the home, especially right after you have taken a bath or shower. But when the weather outside gets particularly humid, such as during damp or rainy weather, it can be very difficult to keep that humidity from seeping inside and raising your indoor humidity levels too.
Mould and mildew spores love humidity. When humidity levels in your home start to climb above 50 percent, they will grow even faster.
But too-low humidity is not ideal either. When humidity drops below the 30 percent mark, your respiratory passages will dry out, increasing the risk that pollen, mould spores, and other allergens will not be “caught at the door” by your moist nasal passages, but will travel all the way down your respiratory passages and into your body, where your immune system will begin producing histamines to fight the allergens and you will begin feeling sick.
Tip 7: Cover your mattress and pillows with allergy covers
Dust mites are another cause of some of the most severe allergy symptoms. Dust mites can live year-round, most notably in your mattress and pillows.
Dust mites feed on dead skin flakes from people and pets, and they can reproduce very rapidly. By encasing your mattress and pillows in allergy protection covers, the dust mites won’t be able to feed or reproduce, and you will sleep better at night.
For many people, the arrival of spring is an event to celebrate.
And then there are those who suffer from spring allergies and asthma. For these folks, winter often represents a blessed reprieve from the onslaught of pollen and other allergens during the warmer, more humid seasons of the year.
Thankfully, modern technology has invented ways to purify and clean your indoor air to keep allergens to a minimum even during peak allergy seasons.
Often manufacturers will only offer discounts on this technology during the off-season, when sales are slower. But here at Clean Air Solutions, we like to give our biggest discounts now, when you need what we offer the most!
In this post, find out how to save $100 on services and products that will keep your air clean, pure, and allergen-free all year long.
Whole Home HEPA System
“HEPA” is an acronym that means high efficiency particulate air. This is a mouthful, but it really just means “the best air filter out there.”
A HEPA filter can filter out 99.97 percent of all airborne allergens, pollutants and toxins, even those as small as 0.3 microns. How small is 0.3 microns? Take a look at a single strand of your own hair. Now imagine that that single hair is 300 times smaller than it is.
With this level of efficiency, it is little wonder that people who install HEPA-rated filters report fewer allergies and better overall health all year long.
There are several different ways to use HEPA filters in your home. One is in your vacuum cleaner. Another way is to use HEPA filtration units in rooms where allergens are more commonly found (like the bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen).
But the hands-down best way to use a HEPA filter is to install a whole-home HEPA system to purify the air throughout your home.
Right now, click here to play our scratch-and-win game for your chance to get $100 off a HEPA Whole Home system!
Whole Home UV Filter
Ultraviolet is a type of light ray that is most commonly positioned as something that can cause skin cancer if you stay out in the sun too long.
But UV light rays also have potent healing and purification powers when used in other ways. Today’s UV filtration systems can destroy germs, viruses, bacteria, fungi, allergens, pollen, VOCs, and other airborne toxins. These UV-based systems can be used alone or in combination with other filtration and purification systems.
Right now, click here to play our scratch-and-win game for your chance to get $100 off a UV Filter Whole Home system!
Whole Home Humidifier
The Ontario Lung Association (OLA) currently recommends aiming for indoor air humidity levels to stay below 50 percent.
Too little humidity can cause an increase in illness because respiratory passages become too dry to fend off allergens and germs when they are inhaled. Too much humidity can also cause illness, exacerbating bacteria and fungi growth.
A humidifier is one tool to help keep the humidity levels inside your home at optimal levels all year long, regardless of what is going on in the air outside.
There are many ways to use a humidifier. If you have a family member who is especially prone to allergies or asthma, you may have a portable humidifier that you turn on at night in their room so they stay hydrated while they sleep.
But one of the best ways to ensure a proper balance of indoor air humidity is to install a whole home humidification system that works with your air conditioner and furnace to regulate humidity levels inside your home all year long.
Right now, click here to play our scratch-and-win game for your chance to get $100 off a Humidifier Whole Home system!
Professional Air Duct Cleaning
If you could pick just one area of your home to have professionally cleaned, which area would you pick? If you are like most homeowners today, you probably just thought “the kitchen!” or “the garage!” and you didn’t even give a thought to your indoor air duct system.
This is because you can’t see your indoor air ducts without making a supreme effort to do so, since they are hidden behind your drywall.
Because of this, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that most Canadian homeowners have never had their air duct system cleaned out.
But not cleaning your indoor air duct system is essentially like using your vacuum cleaner all day, every day, and never changing the bag or the filter. Over time, the dust, debris, allergens, germs, and toxins build up to the point where running the vacuum simply disperses these trapped toxins rather than sucking up any additional debris.
If you have never had your indoor air ducts cleaned—or you simply don’t have any record of whether the previous homeowner had this service performed before you bought the home—spring is the perfect time to schedule an indoor air duct cleaning.
Right now, click here to play our scratch-and-win game for your chance to get $100 off an Air Duct Cleaning service!