CleanAir Solutions Blog
When you live in a far northern hemisphere country like Canada, having heat during the winter season is simply not optional!
With temperatures plunging below zero on a fairly routine basis and ice and snow piling up, staying warm is a must for reasons of both health and safety.
But where winter can get frustrating is when the heat you need to stay warm and productive ends up causing you health problems. One common health issue that crops up each winter is cold and flu season. Asthma incidents often increase during the dry winter season as well.
How can you have your heat and still stay healthy too? That is exactly what we are going to talk about in this post!
What Makes Winter Indoor Heat Unhealthy?
There is no doubt that staying warm during the winter can be a good health strategy overall. CBC News reported on the dangers of exposure to cold, stating that cold weather is responsible for 20 times more fatalities than hot weather!
But even though heat can be life-saving, literally, there is also a downside to all that dry air, both indoors and outdoors. Without enough humidity, it can dry out your respiratory tissues as well as the protective mucus your immune system makes to capture invading germs.
Without sufficient mucus to catch and neutralize airborne cold and flu germs you breathe in, those germs can go right to work making you sick!
Another winter health threat comes from your air duct system itself. If you are like most homeowners, you probably inherited your air duct system along with your house when you bought it. And unless your home is a brand-new construction or you’ve had them done, you may not even know if your ducts have ever been vacuumed out and sanitized.
Over time, your air ducts can become clogged with all kinds of matter, including bacteria, fungi, mould, mildew, pet dander, dust, insect detritus, airborne toxins from cleaning and air freshening products, and more.
When your furnace is working overtime to push out warm air to keep your cozy, the risk of pushing out some of that trapped matter increases.
Together, the very dryness of winter air plus the many airborne irritants it carries can quickly create a health hazard in the form of winter colds, flu, asthma attacks, chronic allergies, respiratory infection, pneumonia and worse.
How to Keep Your Heated Air Supply Healthy
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we recommend the following three-step approach to keep your indoor air at home or at work clean, humidity-balanced, and pure:
Have your air duct system cleaned to remove trapped germs, allergens, toxins, and irritants.
Add back moisture to keep the indoor humidity balance between 30 and 50 percent year-round.
Install a filtration or purification system to remove or neutralize airborne irritants.
So let's look at each component to see how it works.
Professional Indoor Air Duct Cleaning
If you are using a ducted furnace system, one of the best approaches is simply to schedule a professional indoor air duct cleaning.
During the cleaning, which will take less than a day to complete, your entire indoor air duct system will be vacuumed out using a powerful enclosed vacuum that sucks all the detritus out of your air ducts and transports it securely out of your space.
After your air ducts have been fully cleaned, they will be deodorized and sanitized. In effect, this deep cleaning leaves you with a squeaky clean, like-new air duct system, plus all the fresh, clean, pure air you can breathe!
Whole Home Humidification
Unfortunately, just cleaning out and sanitizing your air duct system won't take care of the problem of winter air's dryness. This is caused by an overall lack of moisture, or humidity.
To add back humidity to your indoor air, you need a humidifier. There are two kinds of humidifiers: a whole-home humidifier and a portable humidifier. A whole-home humidifier can work with your existing HVAC system to maintain an even level of humidity throughout your home, with the goal being to stay between 30 and 50 percent year-round.
Air Filtration or Purification
Now that you have had your indoor air ducts cleaned and you have added humidity back to the dry indoor air, there is just one final step left to complete.
This step will ensure your clean and pure, humidity-balanced indoor air stays clean and pure. In other words, you can't prevent additional germs or toxins from entering your space in the future, so what can you do to make sure that, once inside, they can't harm you?
For this job, you can choose one of two approaches: an indoor air filtration system or an indoor air purification system.
A filtration system traps floating particulate matter to keep it from ever entering your air ducts and getting pushed out into the rooms of your home or office. You can add a whole-home HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration device to your HVAC system or use portable HEPA filter units if you don't have a ducted system.
A purification system uses ultraviolet light to neutralize the particulate matter. You can add a whole-home U.V. purification system to your HVAC system or use portable purifier units for non-ducted homes or workplaces.
Give Us a Call
It is true that winter tends to be a time of year associated with colds, the flu and other discomforts. But with the indoor air quality technology available today, there are plenty of ways to keep other people's germs from affecting your family's health!
To learn more and reserve your discount, contact us online, or give us a call at 905-544-2470.
Aside from polar bears and a few species of reptiles, very few creatures enjoy feeling cold. So if there is a warmer place nearby, bugs, rodents, and other critters will do their very best to gain entry to it!
What this means for you in winter is that you may end up unknowingly sharing your indoor space with a variety of uninvited guests, to the detriment of your respiratory and overall health.
You may not realize that you are coughing and sneezing more because you have hidden lodgers releasing dander and debris in your home.
But with these tips, you can send the squatters packing and reclaim your indoor air quality!
Winter Pests & How to Spot Them
Some pests are always lingering around looking for a way in. These can include silverfish, roaches, some species of ants, and, of course, bedbugs. These species love the heat, and the warmer it gets, the happier they are.
Other pests may be quite comfortable outside in the warmer months and break into your garage, workshop, attic, basement, or home only when temperatures drop. Mice, rats, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and some insects will be keen to come inside for both warmth and secondary reasons, such as the chance of finding food.
Here, the general rule of thumb is that if you’ve seen critters or insects anywhere outside or around your property in the warmer times, you can expect these same pests may try to come inside your house and buildings in the colder months.
These are three of the best places to look for signs of unauthorized entry:
- Around your garbage bins. If lids are loose or contents get scattered, you can be sure you’ve had foragers scavenging the contents.
- In your eaves, exhaust vents, and drain spouts. Birds and rodents will often build nests of twigs, leaves, and other debris in these areas. Not only can this introduce dander and bacteria into your home air, but it can also cause a fire hazard if these nests block airflow.
- Around baseboards or in corners in attics, garages, and basements. No one likes to find rodent droppings or shredded nest materials in the attic or ant trails in the basement. But these pests aren’t there arbitrarily. They are after food, water, or shelter, or all three.
Tips to Send Pests Packing
While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to keep the critters out, there are some strategies to make your home less attractive to these interlopers.
1. Invest in garbage bins with secure lids and moisture-proof the bins
Simply having a bin with a secure, tight-fitting lid is half the battle in sending pests packing. Keeping the outside of the bin and lid clean and free from food or other debris helps even more.
Adding linings of discarded paper, or even dry leaves or cardboard, can keep discarded organic matter as dry as possible until collection day. It can also be a good idea to stop composting outdoors until warm weather returns.
Finally, be sure to keep your bins in a cold area. If they are stored in a warm area, this provides even more incentive for rodents and other pests to try to knock them over and enjoy the contents!
2. Patrol the exhaust vents, registers, eaves, and dark corners
Getting near a warm area is better than nothing at all, and many birds, rodents, and bugs will happily take shelter near vents or in eaves, just waiting for the right moment to slip inside your house.
But if you make it a point to check vulnerable areas in and around your home and nearby structures regularly, you can nip these issues in the bud before they require a call to pest control or rodent removal services.
3. Have your indoor air ducts vacuumed and sanitized
Sometimes by the time you discover you have unwanted winter lodgers, they are already inside and making themselves quite at home.
One of the favorite places for smaller pests and little rodents is inside your air ducts. If they can get in through a vent or enter through a poorly sealed duct, they will happily make nests and even raise young inside your air ducts!
Yuck, right? Unfortunately, this can mean that bug carcasses, pellets, fur, and other unpleasant matter stays behind in your air ducts. As the ducts fill up with dust, debris, and matter of this kind over the years, it eventually gets blown back into your indoor air supply.
This is when it can start to impact your family’s respiratory health. Bugs and rodents often carry disease with them in the form of fungal or bacterial matter. As well, the dander and detritus can be an allergen for many people.
For reasons related to humidity levels, winter is the most difficult time for your immune system to fight back against these types of “inside job” allergens.
Right now, save $50 on any indoor air duct cleaning package as part of our Happy New Year 2018 celebration!
4. Add an extra layer of filtration or purification
Today’s filtration and purification systems are more than a match for any pollutants, debris, or germs winter lodgers bring into your home.
Best of all, right now you can save 20 percent on the whole home air filtration or purification system of your choice by participating in our Breathe Clean Air event!
Air filtration uses HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) technology to remove particulate matter as small as one one-hundredth of a human hair out of your air supply.
Air purification uses ultraviolet light to detect and neutralize the tiniest toxins before they can pass into your indoor air supply.
Give Us a Call
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we spend our days helping our wonderful clients stay healthy by breathing clean, pure indoor air!
Give us a call at 905-544-2470 to learn more!
According to weather experts, Ontario is shaping up to be a real overachiever this winter.
In fact, certain regions in Ontario are breaking cold temperature records set as far back as 1968! This means the furnace or whatever heat source you have is running almost nonstop.
Stagnant, dry winter air can trap more toxins and pollutants down near the surface of our planet than even hot, humid summer air. As these pollutants get pulled into our indoor air supply, we can start to feel worse without being any the wiser as to why.
But while we can’t do anything about the current impact climate change is having on our local weather, we can do a lot to prevent what is going on outside from affecting how we feel and how healthy we are this winter season.
The Impact of Cold Air on Respiratory Health
Sometimes it can seem like plunging temperatures can make air pollution worse. Along with the moisture-filled clouds and morning fog, exhaust fumes and combustion by-products drift upward to form a dense, grey smog that sits just above the horizon.
Where is all that grey coming from? And why does it sometimes feel so hard to get a good deep breath of clean air?
According to the Fort Air Partnership, a nonprofit air monitoring organization in Alberta, there is a “perfect storm” build-up of particulate matter in winter that interacts with temperature and air flow in a way that happens at no other time of year.
This winter phenomenon is known as “temperature inversion.” Simply put, temperature inversion occurs when the air near the Earth’s surface is cold, but the air just above this surface air layer is warm. The warm air layer is called the “inversion layer,” and it sits like the filling in a sandwich in between two layers of colder air, one below and one above.
When the cold air gets trapped near ground-level, it doesn’t rise, so the toxins, pollutants, particulate matter, and off-gassing from thousands of vehicles, factories, wood stoves, and fireplaces gets trapped there as well. To make matters worse, the warm air that could carry these toxins away is also trapped beneath the two layers of colder air.
So there it sits. And all those toxins are not only ripe for the breathing whenever you set foot outdoors, but they readily enter your indoor spaces at every opportunity, forcing your immune system to work even harder to keep you healthy.
What is the solution? Read on to see!
Indoor Air Quality Helps to Give Your Immune System a Break
You are probably wondering how outside air toxins can affect you once you move indoors at home or at the office. If you are living in new, airtight construction that is equipped with the newest Energy Star-efficient heating and cooling systems and the highest filtration ratings, perhaps you are safe from the toxic smog outside. But that can also mean trapped indoor air that is less than fresh.
Often, in older homes, the heating and cooling appliances aren’t up to the job of filtering out small airborne particulate matter and other allergens. As well, in most cases, the inside air duct system has not been cleaned in years, if ever, resulting in masses of built-up irritants that keep getting pushed out of the air registers with each cycle.
Here is what we recommend for keeping your indoor air squeaky clean even during extreme cold weather:
1. Professional air duct cleaning
This service is literally like hitting the “reset” button on your entire network of air ducts. In less than one day, our industrial-strength self-enclosed vacuum system pulls out every speck of dust, dirt, debris, and irritants trapped inside your air ducts. This leaves your air ducts as clean as when they were brand-new!
For the finishing touches, we deodorize and sanitize your air ducts. Clients say their indoor air is so fresh and clean they can actually smell the difference!
2. HEPA filtration
The addition of a whole-home HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) system can filter out airborne irritants as small as one one-hundredth of a single human hair!
Since older-model air conditioning and heating units typically cannot accommodate high-efficiency HEPA or MERV filters, the addition of a standalone HEPA filtration unit can effectively turn your entire heating and cooling system into a high-efficiency air purifier.
3. Ultraviolet air purifier
U.V. light from the sun is still the best purification system on the planet. The whole-home U.V. air purifier in essence brings all that is good about the sun’s U.V. light indoors to neutralize any airborne irritant, pollutant, allergen, or toxin unlucky enough to float past it.
The U.V. purifier works seamlessly with your heating and cooling system, neutralizing and purifying the air you breathe before it ever enters your air duct system.
Typically, clients choose to install either a HEPA filtration system or an ultraviolet purification system (both accomplish essentially the same task) to clean their indoor air.
Here, it is easy to see how first cleaning out your air duct network and then installing either a HEPA filtration system or U.V. air purifier system can protect you against the worst that the outside environment can cook up!
Save $50 on Air Duct Cleaning and 20 Percent on Air Quality Aids
Right now through the end of February, you can save $50 on any professional indoor air duct cleaning and 20 percent on any whole-home indoor air quality aid, including heat/energy recovery exchangers, HEPA systems, UV filters, and humidification systems.
We have three air duct cleaning packages (Bronze, Silver, Gold) to suit every need and budget.
To claim your savings, simply fill out this easy online form or give us a call at 905-544-2470!