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CleanAir Solutions Blog

February 2018

Good Home Ventilation: Do You Have It? 5 Signs to Look For!

old ventilation fan

Ventilation is one of the seven key criteria for maintaining good indoor air quality. Ventilation is the act of moving air in and out of a space. The goal with ventilation is to move the stale, oxygen-poor air out and bring in new, clean, oxygen-rich air.

Ventilation isn't something that just happens, although most people don't really stop and think about this.

Your body has one of the best systems of ventilation. Your lungs are responsible for breathing in fresh, pure, oxygen-rich air and exhaling stale, used air back into the environment.

Your home needs a similar type of system to keep air moving and fresh in each room. The simplest method is just to open a window or a door and turn on a fan. But this doesn’t work as well if you have a larger space with more rooms, especially if not all rooms have windows that open.

In this post, learn the signs that your home needs some ventilation assistance and how to get it!

5 Signs You Have Poor Ventilation

While these are not the sole warning signs that you have poor or no ventilation inside your home space, they are definitely five of the most common signs that action is needed.

  1. Your home smells funny. You may not notice any odor if you have been inside your home for a long time. Most people start to notice a strange smell after leaving and then returning home. When you enter your home, does the air smell musty, mouldy, stale, or strange? This can be a sign of inadequate ventilation.

  2. You notice moisture beading on windows or even walls and windowsills. A variety of issues can cause window and/or windowsill condensation, but one of the most common issues is a lack of ventilation. Moisture can also condense on walls, especially in lesser-used areas like basements and attics or in rooms where humidifiers are in use.

  3. Stored items start to develop mildew or mould. Some of the first items to show signs of mildew or mould are typically stored books, shoes, paper items, and cloth or linen items.

  4. Your home seems dustier and dirtier than normal. Air that is continually recycled without refreshment will begin carrying the same dust and debris around and around, depositing the excess build-up on surfaces, draperies, and floors.

  5. Eye, nose, and throat irritation. Do you feel like you are allergic to your home? Stale, dusty, moist air can cause irritation to your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

Two Types of Ventilation and Why You Need Both

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, there are two main types of ventilation: spot and general. While you may not have heard these specific terms before, you are probably already familiar with the two types in other ways.

Spot ventilation

The most common type of spot ventilation are ceiling or floor fans. Exhaust fans in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and over stoves are also good examples. These spot ventilators can help move damp or polluted air out of the space.

Spot ventilation cannot replenish the air. It can only remove stale air. Spot ventilation is designed to target problem areas that generate excess amounts of airborne moisture or toxins.

General ventilation

General ventilation is what you need to keep your indoor air supply fresh and oxygenated. The most common type of general ventilation is your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.

Using a system of air ducts, air registers, and exhaust vents, your home’s HVAC system keeps air coming in and moving out of your home space. But not all HVAC systems work equally well to ventilate the air inside your home.

The best option for whole home ventilation is the heat recovery ventilator. This specialized whole home ventilation system can work with any type of existing HVAC unit to isolate incoming fresh air and outgoing stale air so they never meet and mingle.

What to Do Before Fixing Your Home’s Ventilation

Because you are dependent on your home’s HVAC system for ventilation, you want your air ducts, registers, and exhaust vents to stay clean and clear.

However, most homeowners have no idea if their air ducts, registers, and vents have ever been professionally vacuumed, cleaned, and sanitized. Over time, just as dust builds up visibly on surfaces and furnishings, dust and debris gets trapped inside your air vents. But since you don’t see this buildup, it is easy to forget it is there. A good way to discover it is by any of the five signs listed above.

The first step to fixing your home’s ventilation issues is to schedule a professional dryer vent cleaning and air duct cleaning.

This cleaning takes less than one day and will safely remove all the trapped dust, debris, pollutants, and toxins that continually re-circulate through your indoor air. Once you have had your registers, vents, and air ducts cleaned, you can take steps to improve your indoor ventilation system by installing a heat recovery ventilator.

Ventilation for Less With These Special Discounts

Right now, save $50 on the air duct cleaning package of your choice. We have three packages to choose from (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) to suit all budgets and spaces.

You can also save 20 percent on all whole home air quality appliances, including heat recovery ventilators.

Don't wait: these valuable offers expire on February 28, 2018! Just complete this simple form to claim your discounts.

Give Us a Call

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we spend our days helping customers upgrade and optimize their indoor air quality with customized solutions for any size space and all types of HVAC systems.

From ultraviolet air purifiers and HEPA filtration systems to whole-home humidifiers and air duct and dryer vent cleanings, we have the tools and expertise to solve even the most complex indoor air quality problems. Give us a call at 905-544-2470.

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5 Reasons to Invest in a Whole Home Humidifier This Winter

hygrometer humidity

Many of us know that winter has arrived when we feel that first sharp sting of static electricity through our fingertips.

For others, the first signs may include cracked lips and fingertips—or brand-new micro-cracks in our favorite wood armoire.

Dry air is a recipe for discomfort as well as an increased risk of home fires.

Sometimes, we can get by with humidity-boosting home remedies like showering with the bathroom door open or putting a pot of water atop the radiator pipes or woodstove.

But sometimes, nothing we do ever seems to add back sufficient levels of humidity to our indoor air. When even portable humidifiers just aren't cutting it, it may be time to call in the big guns by transitioning to a whole home humidification system.

In this post, learn about the different types of whole home humidifiers, how they work, and next steps to take to improve your winter indoor air humidity levels.

3 Different Types of Whole Home Humidifier Systems

There are three basic types of whole home humidifier systems that are commonly installed in homes:

1. Bypass

A bypass whole home humidifier pulls warmed air from the furnace and sends it through the water panel in the humidifier. The already-warm air picks up additional moisture from the water panel and then distributes it through your air duct system.

2. Fan-powered

A fan-powered whole home humidifier works in the same exact way as the bypass system, except that the fan increases the amount of moisture the air can absorb, which then improves the amount of distributed humidity.

3. Steam

A steam whole home humidifier heats water to the boiling point independent of whether the furnace is turned on or not. The HVAC blower pushes the steam out through the air vents to distribute it.

Pros & Cons: Whole Home Humidifier Systems

As you might expect, each type of whole home humidification system has its pros and cons. As well, the best choice of whole home humidifier can depend in part on what type of HVAC system you are using in your home.

Another factor is the amount of space you have available to install an aftermarket whole home humidifier. Still another factor can be your budget, short-term and long-term.

Here are the general pros and cons for each type of whole home humidifier:

Bypass whole home humidifier

If your HVAC system generates excess water, the drainless bypass system can recycle the water used to generate humidity, eliminating the need for a water drainage pan.

The bypass system is also considered the most economical and easiest systems to install. However, they can be more maintenance-intensive.

Fan-powered whole home humidifier

A fan-powered humidifier will not generate any excess or standing water. This system is very compact space-wise, since it doesn't need to attach to a bypass duct. However, it does need to attach to a water line and uses slightly more water than a bypass system.

The fan-powered humidifier is also economical and fairly easy to install and maintain.

Steam whole home humidifier

A steam whole home humidifier can operate independently of your HVAC system. Because of this, the steam humidifier is considered the easiest system to control for maintaining consistent indoor air humidity levels.

However, a steam system is also more complex to install and often pricier than either a bypass or fan-powered whole home humidifier.

Whole Home Versus Portable Humidifier

When we talk with clients who are having trouble maintaining sufficient indoor humidity levels during the winter season, often the first question we hear relates to the use of portable humidifiers.

A portable humidifier can definitely be the right choice in certain types of situations. For example, if a member of your family has asthma or winter allergies, placing a portable humidifier in that bedroom can really alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms.

But if everyone in the family is suffering from dry skin, chapped lips, increased respiratory discomfort, colds and flu, and static electricity charges, this is a sign that a whole home humidifier might be a better and more efficient choice.

There are also dangers associated with portable humidifier use that are all too easy to overlook. The top danger is that, if you don't clean your portable humidifier every few days, mould and bacteria can build up and actually cause illness!

It is worthwhile to start by using a portable humidifier to see if that is sufficient to address the air dryness. But if this doesn't work, or if you find yourself buying a portable humidifier for every room in your house, it’s likely time to upgrade to a whole home humidifier system.

Our Favorite Whole Home Humidifiers

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, our friendly and highly skilled technicians are trained and licensed to work on all brands of humidifier systems.

But like all air quality specialists, we also have our personal favorite brands and models of whole home humidifiers.

Our top picks are Coleman and Aprilaire humidifiers.

The Coleman bypass flow-through humidifier connects to your furnace’s supply or return air duct, using the air pressure to draw humidity up from the humidifier pad. The humidified air is then distributed using your existing air duct system.

Aprilaire has three models: Model 400, Model 500, and Model 700. The 500 and 700 are rated for small- to mid-sized homes and large homes, respectively. The 400 is a drainless system that achieves near-100 percent water efficiency by recycling the water used to generate humidity.

Give Us a Call

If you are tired of suffering through yet another winter season, feeling dried out and drowning in lotion, we are here to help!

Give us a call at 905-544-2470 for a free indoor air quality consultation and a free quote on the whole home humidifier system that best matches your home size, budget, and humidity needs!

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Warning Signs Your Dryer Has Become a Fire Risk

clothes dryer fire risk

Like the washing machine, the clothes dryer is one of those modern conveniences that used to be a luxury and is now considered a necessity for convenience and time-saving. We may still line-dry certain delicate items, but in general, it’s much easier to toss loads of laundry in the dryer, especially during those months we can’t hang the washing outside.

In fact, most of us take the dryer for granted, so long it does the job it’s supposed to. It’s easy enough to forget how powerful this appliance really is—powerful enough to cause approximately 15,000 home fires annually.

Is your clothes dryer about to blow? Learn the early warning signs to be sure your dryer never becomes a home fire risk.

The Impact of a Clothes Dryer-Related Home Fire

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 15,000 home fires are started by none other than the clothes dryer each year.

Peak clothes dryer home fire season is in January, partly because line drying clothing outside is virtually impossible with such limited daylight hours and erratic storm conditions.

Clothes dryer-related fires impact property and health. Every year, an estimated five people perish in such fires. More than 100 people are injured. And annual property damage can reach $35 million or more.

It is heartbreaking that such a simple task—just cleaning the lint out of the dryer—could prevent such a catastrophic impact.

Clothes Dryer Fire Safety Recommendations

What can you do to keep your home and family safe from clothes dryer-related fires?

We recommend taking the following two actions:

  1. Every single time you are finished drying a load of clothing, remove the lint trap and clean all the lint off of it.

  2. Once a year, have your clothes dryer vents professionally cleaned and serviced.

These two simple actions can literally make the difference between life and death inside your home.

Yet they are so commonly neglected that CPSC has created a safety handout to explain what to do and how and when to do it!

Clothes Dryer Home Safety Checks

What can you do to prevent a clothes dryer-related home fire? Quite a lot, actually!

  1. Be sure to take out the lint trap and clean both the front and back of it, removing all trapped lint before replacing it. Do this both before and after each load of clothes you dry, especially if you are not the only person who uses the clothes dryer.

  2. Inspect the exhaust vent at the rear of your dryer. Verify that it is not obstructed or damaged in such a way that it can't do its job.

  3. Walk outside to be sure the vent opening is clear of debris and blockages. Turn on the dryer and make sure the vent is opening as it should while a dry cycle is in progress.

  4. Never, ever use your clothes dryer without making sure the lint trap is in place!!

  5. Schedule professional clothes dryer vent cleaning and servicing at least once per year to clean out trapped lint that you cannot access yourself and ensure there are no hidden fire risks you are unaware of.

What Is a Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning?

Many homeowners don’t realize that the lint trap is not the only place where lint collects inside a clothes dryer.

In fact, the dryer’s accessible front lint trap can do only so much, especially if it is not cleaned off before every dry cycle. Once the lint trap is full, the excess lint will then get pushed into the recesses of the dryer and out into the dryer vent ducts, where it remains trapped.

As the amount of trapped lint increases cycle by cycle, it begins to block air inflow and outflow. Exhaust gases build up, which together with the dry lint, static, and heat, creates a dangerous fire safety situation. A professional dryer vent cleaning is the best way to ensure your clothes dryer is clean and safe to operate.

Here is what to expect when you schedule a professional dryer vent inspection and cleaning:

  1. Your dryer vent inspection and cleaning begins with a thorough inspection of the clothes dryer and the vent ducts. During the inspection, your technician will also identify any safety issues.

  2. Next, your technician will clean the interior of the dryer chamber to remove trapped lint. Then the exhaust vent and air intake ducts and registers will also be cleaned to remove lint trapped there.

  3. Finally, your technician will review any safety matters that need attention. Examples of these can include too-lengthy ducts, kinks or blockages in the ducts, too-flexible duct material, clutter near the dryer vent areas and similar matters.

Warning Signs Your Clothes Dryer Is a Fire Risk

How can you tell that your clothes dryer may present a fire risk? There are several key warning signs to look for.

One of the most obvious is when your dryer starts to take longer to dry the same amount of clothing. If you find yourself running a second cycle on a fairly regular basis, this can indicate trapped lint is reducing your dryer's efficiency.

Another warning sign is when your clothing becomes very hot to the point where handling it causes discomfort. If you have started to let your clothes "cool off" before removing them from the dryer basin, this indicates you may have a dangerous situation brewing.

Similarly, if you notice a strong odor of freshly dried clothing, this can also indicate that trapped lint and debris is interfering with the drying process.

Get in Touch

Let our National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) certified technicians inspect and clean your clothes dryer.

This economical safety-first service takes less than two hours and delivers priceless peace of mind for you and your family. Contact us online, or give us a call at 905-544-2470!

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