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CleanAir Solutions Blog

November 2017

Unmask These Hidden Home Toxins to Clean Up Your Indoor Air

carpet hidden home toxin

Here at Clean Air Solutions, we aren’t shy about sharing our passion for clean, fresh, oxygenated air to breathe. Why?

Well, one reason is that just 12 months ago, a new research study confirmed what scientists had long since suspected: oxygen levels are dropping worldwide at a rate of about 0.7 percent per year.

While currently the impact to us is deemed minimal, it is a trend worth watching and reacting to.

Taking proactive, preventative measures to keep your own air supply as fresh, clean, and oxygenated as possible will keep your body healthier, your mind sharper, and your life more enjoyable no matter what tomorrow’s forecast may bring.

In this article, we take a timely look at some of the most common indoor toxins that are often hiding in plain sight in the average home. Then we tell you what to do to send them packing!

Choose New Furnishings With Care

Who doesn’t love a good home makeover? Change a rug here, repaint a wall there, add some new wood paneling and voila—the you’ve got something fresh and new!

Unfortunately, many of those new additions are chock-full of toxic chemicals that get released into your indoor air supply.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Carpeting. Many carpets are made with chemical adhesives, pads, and treatments that can cause mild to severe health symptoms. If you’ve ever breathed in that new-carpet smell and wondered what causes it, now you know: it is a complex chemical cocktail of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The best workaround is to choose all-natural fiber carpet that is certified as “low emission” or opt for hardwood or tile instead.

  • Paint, stains, and sealants. Another common source of potent VOCs is new paint, stains and sealants, and varnishes. Here again, look for paints and sealants that are certified as low VOC.

  • Mini-blinds. Plastic, vinyl, and composite mini-blinds can emit toxic VOCs and phthalates, which are harmful to adults, children, and pets. Here, look for “green” blinds that are made from eco-friendly materials or opt for natural fiber draperies instead.

Rethink How You Clean Your Clothing

Isn’t it lovely to just drop off your clothing at the dry cleaner and then come back later to pick it up? It is so easy and convenient, and your clothes look and smell great!

There is just one tiny problem. That “dry cleaned” smell actually comes from a potent chemical called perchloroethylene (PERC), a VOC with known neurological side effects.

Here, there are three possible fixes:

  • Take off the plastic covers and air out your dry cleaning outside until the smell dissipates.

  • Use an eco-friendly dry cleaning that contains only natural cleaning products.

  • Recommit to cleaning and ironing your clothing at home.

However, if you opt for the third fix, you still need to do three essential things to keep the chemicals out of your indoor air!

  • Choose only all-natural, eco-friendly laundry products (soap, vinegar, softeners).

  • Clean out your dryer lint after every load.

  • Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned to reduce airborne toxins and fire risk.

Finally, if you are still using mothballs to protect and store your seasonal clothing, it is time to find a new approach.

Mothballs are highly toxic. One of the principle ingredients is paradichlorobenzene, a pesticide that is known to affect major organs and the central nervous system for both people and pets.

A natural alternative to moth balls that is safe and repels mosquitos is cedar chips. Also, lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, cinnamon, camphor, cloves and rosemary (either in dry leaves or essential oil forms) can all send moths and other pests packing with no negative impact on your health or that of your pets.

Reconsider Your Personal Care Routine

The bath and shower products market is thriving to the tune of $15 billion dollars in sales annually.

And it is no wonder—it feels so great to start and end your day with the pleasant scent and soothing feel of your favorite bath and body products!

Unfortunately, many popular personal care products in wide circulation today are made from highly toxic chemical ingredients. There is nothing worse than finding out you have been cleansing with chemicals, moisturizing with chemicals, and even detoxifying with toxic chemicals!

But one glance at the ingredients list for the average major label bath product will convince you of the truth of this statement. From here, you can take steps to adjust your daily routine to cut out dangerous chemical-based products and replace them with healthy, natural care products instead.

Here are some tips:

  • Look for organic products made from all-natural oils, herbs, and plants.

  • Read the ingredients—if there is anything you can’t pronounce, skip it.

  • Choose care products made for babies, since these must conform to stricter standards.

  • Switch from air fresheners and perfumes to essential oils.

  • Choose products with just a handful of ingredients—the shorter the list, the better.

  • Find cruelty-free products, which are those that have not been tested on animals.

  • Add more houseplants to your home to keep your air naturally fresh without any products at all!

Give Us a Call

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, it is our life’s work to detoxify life for everyone we serve in the Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Right now, you can save 20 percent on your purchase of any whole home HEPA filter, U.V. filtration system, heat recovery ventilation system, or humidification system.

Just complete this easy online form or call us at 905-544-2470!

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4 Creative Ways to Keep Your Indoor Air Fresh for Free

plants by open windows

Do you find yourself dreading the onset of winter, with its dry air and ever-present germs?

When a coworker coughs, do you duck under your desk for cover? When a family member does the same, are you tempted to bark orders to “cover your mouth when you cough?”

This is only natural, of course. No one likes to get sick! But in many ways, it can also seem like the weather and our own homes and workplaces are conspiring against our immune system, setting us up for failure.

Luckily, you don’t have to just throw up your hands and join the coughing chorus going on all around you. There are some simple ways to keep the air you rely on fresh and clean so you have the best chance of staying healthy all winter long.

Call in (Green) Reinforcements

Did you know that many indoor air quality experts call plants “nature’s lungs?” This compliment is fairly earned by the green living things quietly growing all around us.

After all, their “air” is our waste matter and vice versa. Where we breathe oxygen, they breathe carbon dioxide. So a houseplant sitting innocently on the windowsill is busy sucking all that extra carbon dioxide out of your indoor air and emitting oxygen (its waste matter) back into the air inside your home.

If you are not sure which plants will be easy to care for and do a great job keeping your indoor air fresh and full of oxygen, we think you will love this blog post: “Top Ten Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality.”

Open a Window, Then Open a Door

When the temperatures begin to drop, chances are good the last thing you think of doing is opening a window! Brrrrr!

But finding a way to bring some fresh outdoor air inside your home is critical for both air circulation and ventilation, especially if you are living in new construction, which is famous for its airtight building models.

Happily, there is a way to open a window to circulate and ventilate without spending twice as much on heating or sending your freezing, irritated family running to the opposite corners of the house.

Here is what to do:

  • Turn your furnace thermostat to “off.”

  • Pick one room that has at least one or two windows.

  • Close off the heat vents and the door in that room.

  • Open up the windows in that room.

  • Set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer buzzes, return to the room.

  • Close the windows, then open the door to release the fresh air into the rest of your home.

  • Turn your furnace back on as desired.

You can repeat this process as often as you like. It can be a good idea to rotate which room you use to let the fresh outside air in, since this is also a good time to check and (if necessary) clean each room’s air registers.

Swap Out Chemical Air Scents for Natural Air Fresheners

From spray air fresheners to odor absorbing gel beads, vent clips to candles, there have never before been so many ways to introduce irritating and sometimes toxic chemicals into your indoor air supply.

Most of these commercial chemical-based products have lengthy lists of unpronounceable ingredients. Even worse, most are designed to mask or cover up whatever the odor of the moment is by layering on another, thicker scent on top of it.

This isn’t doing your home or your nostrils any favors. If you’ve ever popped open a new air freshener and immediately felt a headache or a sneeze coming on, your body already knows this is the truth.

The best way to keep your already dry, already close indoor air as fresh as possible during the cold season is to toss those chemical products and use these all-natural air fresheners instead:

  • Pour a bit of your favorite essential oil along with a carrier oil (olive, almond, jojoba) into a small container and add a few long fresh twigs to diffuse the scent all throughout the room (repeat for multiple rooms). You can also use a diffuser with 100% pure essential oils.

  • Cut a fresh lemon or orange in half and then in half again. Grind up one of the quarters in the garbage disposal for a fresh citrus scent.

  • Place half a fresh lemon, a small dish of baking soda or some used coffee grounds in the fridge to soak up odors.

  • Fill a small bowl with white or apple cider vinegar to soak up airborne odors.

  • Boil a pot of water, then add a cinnamon stick and a few cloves for a lovely holiday scent.

Clean Your Air Ducts for Year-Round Indoor Air Freshness

We love talking with our clients a day after we’ve come to their homes or workplaces to do a professional indoor air duct cleaning.

Often, they are at a loss for words to describe just how fresh and clean their indoor air smells. Some say they can actually almost taste how clean the air is!

The truth is, any area of your home that is neglected for five or 10 years would likely have a similar effect on your indoor air quality and freshness, not to mention odor.

But whereas you would notice a countertop encrusted with a decade’s worth of dust and debris, you can’t see your air ducts, so you forget they need cleaning too!

Give Us a Call

Give us a call at 905-544-2470 to save 20 percent on indoor air quality equipment, schedule your indoor air duct cleaning, balance your indoor air humidity levels, and purify airborne germs and toxins so you stay healthy all winter long!

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How to Thrive in (Not Just Survive) Your First Canadian Winter

survive first canadian winter

For those of us who have, well, weathered one or many past Canadian winters, we pretty much know what to expect and how to prepare.

While every Canadian winter is different in some ways, some aspects are also quite reliable—bitter cold, freezing rain, sleet, and ice, and in many areas, heaps of snow.

Some of those around us are experiencing a Canadian winter for the first time ever. If this describes you, and especially if you have moved here from a tropical or temperate climate, you may be wondering or even worried about what will unfold in the months to come.

Winter can be an amazing season here in Canada: there are so many outdoor sports to enjoy and the snowy beauty at its best has few equals to what we have here.

But winter can also be when we are especially vulnerable to germs, holiday stress, and a host of uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms. In this post, we review our favorite tips for not just surviving, but thriving during your very first Canadian winter.

Humidify

Why is “humidify” our first tip? Because maintaining balanced indoor air humidity levels is key to giving your immune system every advantage over seasonal cold and flu germs.

For many people, winter is a time of extreme dryness. This can get pretty uncomfortable at times, leading to cracked lips, peeling skin, sore throats, dry eyes, and nosebleeds, among other symptoms.

With less than about 30 percent humidity in the air, your body doesn’t produce enough mucus moisture to trap and escort germ invaders out of your body. Instead, they make themselves at home in your respiratory passages until the first telltale throat tickle or dry cough alerts you to their presence.

By adding more moisture to your indoor air, you can help your respiratory passages and tissues fight back against these invaders. There are two good ways to do this:

1. Use a portable humidifier. A portable humidifier can come in very handy if you are the only one in your household or workplace who needs a bit of extra humidity. This portable unit will add moisture back into a smaller space like a bedroom or office.

2. Install a whole-home humidifier. A whole-home humidifier is a great solution to add back moisture to your whole home and keep indoor air humidity percentages where you need them to be all winter long.

Vitamin D

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition caused by too little vitamin D production. The reason SAD normally affects people more in the winter is the lack of sunlight: the days get much shorter and/or typically less sunny, and sometimes winter storms keep people indoors for days on end.

Even if you go outside for a walk or lunch, or roll your windows down when you drive during good weather, you probably still won’t come close to taking in enough natural ultraviolet light to help your body manufacture the vitamin D it needs to stay healthy.

If you notice you are starting to feel more down or depressed, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything in your life is going wrong! It can just mean you aren’t taking in enough sunlight.

Taking a vitamin D supplement can help here (talk to your doctor first about dosage). Using a SAD lamp can also help by exposing you to artificially generated “sunlight” to help boost your body’s production of Vitamin D.

Layer Up

It can be easy enough to spot Canadian winter first-timers by what they are wearing… or rather, what they aren’t wearing.

These winters can be bone-chilling if you don’t know how to dress to stay warm. The key here is layers so you can add or remove a layer as your body temperature adjusts indoors or outdoors.

You also want to make sure you wear insulated, waterproof footwear and keep your head and hands covered to maximize your body’s internal heating mechanisms.

Composite fabrics stay dryer during wet winter days and also make layering feel less bulky. Long underwear can be a great friend especially during Canada’s winter weather extremes.

Breathe Clean Air

There is no doubt that, as usual, more germs will be circulating this winter than at any other time of the year.

The combination of cold temperatures, holiday stress, end-of-year work deadlines, ill family members, and a more indoorcentric lifestyle conspires to keep us breathing out our germs and breathing in the germs of others.

But there is a way to greatly reduce your risk of succumbing to what everyone else already seems to have. It is called indoor air quality.

One of the best ways to keep your air clean at work is to invest in a portable air purifier or portable HEPA air filtration unit. These affordable units are sized for small spaces.

At home, you have an even greater range of options to improve the air quality in your home. This way, even if one family member does fall ill, you can reduce the risk that the whole family will soon follow.

Having your indoor air duct system professionally cleaned gets your winter season off on the right foot by removing every speck of trapped debris, dirt, pollen, allergens, and germs in your duct system.

From here, a whole home HEPA air filtration system or a whole home U.V. purification system will make sure incoming germs don’t get past the front door.

Give Us a Call

Want to save 20 percent on indoor air quality appliances? Complete this online form to claim your Breathe Clean Air discount or give us a call at 905-544-2470!

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