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CleanAir Solutions Blog

June 2018

Are you Ready for Allergy Season to End Already? 8 Ways to Fight Off Pollen Naturally!

honey poured from spoon

Just as most areas in Canada experience four distinct seasons, so too do we have four unique allergy seasons—one per season.

We may have a really great country in a lot of ways, but we sure didn’t get lucky when it comes to pollen.

According to the Canadian Weather Network, tree pollen season launches in April and continues through the end of May. Then we have a smooth transition into grass pollen season during June and July.

Mould and mildew season and ragweed season are next, and these two seasons actually overlap during the months of August through October. And by the time all that has wrapped up, cold and flu season has arrived!

So what can you do to fight back against what can start to seem like a never-ending round of yearlong allergy attacks?

Luckily, there is a lot you can do, and we are going to share eight of the most powerful ways you can take back control over your health, your indoor air quality and your life!

Install a HEPA Filtration System

You don’t necessarily have to alter a single thing in your daily life indoors to find relief from the nonstop rounds of allergens.

Sometimes, adding a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to your existing HVAC system is enough.

There are HEPA systems that work with ducted and ductless HVAC units, so you can take those deep breaths without worrying about what else is entering your lungs along with oxygen!

Purify Your Indoor Air with Ultraviolet Light

If you have ever wished you had a lightsaber or blaster you could just aim at pollen, well, now you can!

Ultraviolet-C is the most powerful band of ultraviolet light, and only the presence of our planet’s ozone layer protects our skin from its rays.

But in a focused form, aimed directly at airborne allergens, there isn’t any pollen or mould spore on the planet that can survive contact.

There are portable and central ultraviolet air purification systems so you can find the right system for your home space.

Take Local Honey and/or Bee Pollen Supplements Daily

Local bee pollen is free from sugar, so it is the safest choice if you are diabetic or sugar-intolerant.

Local honey does contain some sugar, but it also contains trace amounts of local pollen, which in an odd twist can actually help your immune system learn to fight off pollen’s effects!

A teaspoon or so of each every day should do the trick to get you feeling better quickly.

Add Foods with Natural Immune System and Antihistamine Properties

Certain naturally occurring foods contain powerful properties to help bolster your hard-working immune system and reduce your allergy-related health symptoms.

When your immune system encounters a known allergen such as ragweed or mould spores, it produces something called histamines in response. The histamines go to work to quarantine the invaders and move them out of your system.

But in the meantime, you definitely know when your immune system has sent out a fresh squad of histamines, because you are sneezing and blowing your nose and your throat is sore and your eyes are watering and you feel dreadful.

By adding in foods that have natural antihistamine properties, you give your immune system a much-needed breather and at the same time reduce your body’s response to the histamines.

Foods to add can include garlic, onions, apples, citrus fruits, ginger, parsley, fennel, watercress, turmeric and pomegranate.

Change your Air Conditioning and Furnace Filters Monthly

It can be tempting to just eyeball your HVAC filters and decide that they don’t look too dirty and  you can wait it out.

But it is often what your eye can’t detect that is really bothering you! Those filters are designed to trap airborne particulate matter and keep them out of your indoor air supply. But some of the smallest airborne allergens, including mould and mildew spores, are completely undetectable to your naked eye—you would need a microscope to see them!

When your filters get really clogged, each whoosh of air that goes through them will dislodge some previously trapped particulate matter and send it back into your air supply.

This is why you need to get on a schedule to change your air conditioning and furnace filters (each during their applicable seasons, of course) at least monthly to avoid reintroducing the very allergens you are trying to filter out back into your indoor air.

Follow Your Local Weather Report

Local weather centers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ability to report on daily conditions ranging from humidity to ozone to allergies.

Many weather apps will tell you up front when there is an allergy alert and even what hours are safer for you to go outside. This way, you can plan your outdoor excursions to reduce your allergy symptoms.

Stay Hydrated

It sounds so simple, but the more appropriate liquid (water, aloe vera juice, orange juice, etc.) you take in, the more hydrated and healthy your tissues will be. Inhaling warm, humid steam is another great way to take in more moisture.

This includes the sensitive and highly reactive tissues throughout your respiratory system, including your nasal passages, throat and lungs.

Well-hydrated tissues are better able to produce mucus to transport allergens out of your system while fighting off allergy symptoms.

Get in Touch

Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired from nonstop allergy symptoms? We can help!

From indoor air quality testing to professional air duct cleaning, installation and maintenance for HEPA filtration and ultraviolet air purification systems, and more, let us help you feel better and stay healthy this year!

Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.

PS. Right now and through June 30, 2018, we invite you to save 10 percent on any of our indoor air duct cleaning packages!

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What Is Really Inside Your Indoor Air Ducts? Find Out & Clean It Out!

save 10% on duct cleaning offer

We have known for some time now that all kinds of things can enter your air duct system in all kinds of creative ways. A set of indoor air ducts that has been in place for 10 or more years and has never been cleaned or maintained is likely to contain a jaw-dropping collection of debris and detritus, some of which may be making you sick!

In this timely post, we take a close look at what may be lurking inside your indoor air ducts and how to find out and clean it out.

PSSSTBe sure to read to the end of this post to find out how you can save 10 percent on all of our value-added indoor air duct cleaning packages!

Before & After: Take a Look Inside an Indoor Air Duct System!

This short, candid video takes you inside the duct system of one of our clients’ homes. This air duct system is clogged with contaminants, including dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander and dirt.

You won’t believe your eyes when you see what the indoor air duct system looks like before the cleaning and then after!

Watch the video HERE!

What Exactly Is Hiding In Your Air Ducts?

Some of the trapped debris will be well known to you—after all, this is the same stuff you clean up when you do your regular housecleaning week after week.

Common detritus that can accumulate inside your air ducts over time includes dust, dust mites, mould, mildew, smoke film, pollen, animal dander, bacteria and fungal matter.

But there are other suspects as well that can get sucked into your ducts and become trapped. These toxins frequently come from outside or from matter already circulating inside your space. Other entry points include leaks or cracks in ductwork that let in dust and debris from nearby uninsulated crawl spaces and functional spaces.

Pests can work their way inside your air ducts, whether from crawling inside on their own or being sucked in through the air vents. Trapped pests such as insects and small animals may lay their eggs or make nests, deposit waste, shed their skin and even die inside your air ducts! Over time, this can introduce dangerous rodent and insect-borne diseases and viruses into your home through your own indoor air supply.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) enter your ducts when you use commercial cleaning products, air fresheners or candles, do home improvement projects or crafts, buy new furnishings or use tobacco products. These airborne toxins then get recirculated throughout your space again and again because they cannot get out.

Special Situations When Duct Cleaning Is Called For

If your ducts have not been cleaned in the last 5 to 10 years (or ever, as best you are aware) then now is a great time to schedule your professional cleaning.

This cleaning takes less than one day. With the state-of-the-art Rotobrush system that you saw demonstrated in the short video above, all trapped debris and toxins can be safely and permanently removed from your indoor air ducts.

In addition to this general-purpose maintenance duct cleaning, there are also special situations when you should consider scheduling an indoor air duct cleaning service:

  • When you’ve just replaced your air conditioner.

  • When you’ve just finished renovating your home or workplace.

  • When you’ve just replaced major furniture/furnishings at your home or office.

  • After a flooding event or mould/mildew remediation.

  • If you live in an older home with many air leaks and cracks.

  • If you live in a new “tight home” without adequate air ventilation.

  • If your indoor air smells odd and you can't figure out why.

How to Get All Those Trapped Toxins Out of Your Air Vents

The first step in your professional indoor air duct cleaning actually begins when we survey your air duct system to look for areas of accumulated debris. This is accomplished with a miniature camera that is highly maneuverable and can actually see into your air ducts.

We show you what the camera reveals using our closed-circuit video screen and create a game plan to clean out your air duct system.

The next step is to remove your air intake and exhaust registers and give them all a good cleaning. This removes residue as well as dust and dirt that can get sucked into your air ducts as air is forced in and pushed back out into your space as air is forced out.

The following step is to clean the air ducts themselves. This is where the Rotobrush springs into action, sucking up trapped debris with the help of HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

Finally, after your air ducts have been thoroughly cleaned out, we apply an air sanitizer and (if you wish) a deodorizing product as well. Both products are environmentally safe and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved.

What many people find so amazing is how small the cleaning unit is and how quickly the cleaning is completed. This is the beauty of today’s indoor air quality technology!

Save 10 Percent on Indoor Air Duct Cleaning

Right now and through June 30, 2018, save 10 percent on all of our professional indoor air duct cleaning packages!

Contact us online, or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to learn more!

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Employers: Lower Your Overhead Costs By Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

office workers at table

Running a business sure can be expensive! High-quality employees don’t come cheap and neither does their workspace. Every day, you have bills to pay, from utilities to supplies to vendors.

But alongside the oh-so-obvious costs of doing business, there are the less visible costs that can arise when your workforce isn’t feeling at their best.

When a worker begins to feel unwell, several things can occur simultaneously. Customer service quality decreases, as does overall quality of work output. Work team morale can suffer when any team member is compromised.

In time, there may be missed work hours for doctor visits and then whole sick days. And sick days can turn into extended absences that then become requests for long-term disability.

According to the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), many symptoms that send workers to the doctor each week can be linked to poor workplace indoor air quality.

Is the air at work making your employees sick? Find out what you need to know to improve worker health and lower your office overhead costs!

Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome

“Sick building syndrome” is one of several health conditions that can arise from poor indoor air quality at work. The key to diagnosing it is workers linking symptoms specifically to time spent at their workplace and that cannot be linked to any other pre-existing unrelated health condition.

Symptoms of sick building syndrome can include:

  • Headache

  • Respiratory irritation

  • Mental fog

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Breathing problems

  • Congestion

  • Coughing or sneezing

  • Sore throat

  • Allergic reactions

As you can see, these symptoms could indicate any number of different known health conditions, of which poor indoor air quality would typically be the least likely suspect!

But when more than one worker experiences similar symptoms that become more pronounced while at work and abate after several hours away from the work site, poor indoor air quality then becomes a prime suspect.

Common Indoor Air Quality Contaminants

Poor indoor air quality, like the symptoms it inspires, can be tough to track down. After all, odour isn’t always a reliable indicator that the air inside your workplace is contaminated with toxins.

Sometimes, your indoor air may smell just fine (especially if you routinely use air freshening products for odour control) but still be unsafe to breathe.

Take carbon monoxide, for instance. This invisible, odourless gas is poisonous to the point at which it has earned the nickname “the silent killer.” By the time carbon monoxide has built up in the indoor air to a toxic level, it is often too late to do anything about it.

Common indoor air quality contaminants in the workplace can include:

  • Formaldehyde from pressed-wood office furnishings

  • Vapours from glues, adhesives, pesticides, solvents, disinfectants, etc.

  • Ozone from office equipment.

  • Tobacco by-products from smoking, vaping

  • Mould and mildew

  • Bacteria, fungi, microbial particulate matter

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products, air fresheners, etc.

  • Dust and dust mites

  • Pollen

  • Buildup of carbon dioxide from poor air circulation and ventilation

Other Contributors to Poor Workplace Indoor Air Quality

Sick building syndrome is typically not something that occurs overnight (although there is an issue called Building Related Illness that can be caused by a sudden build-up of chemicals, bacteria or fungal matter).

Buildings become “sick” over time due to a combination of unaddressed issues. A heavy concentration of indoor air contaminants can be one facet.

Another related issue is often poor indoor air circulation and ventilation. Inadequate filtration and air purification can also contribute to ever-worsening air quality in the workplace and the symptoms this can provoke.

When there is a continual influx of airborne toxins and no pathway to purify them, filter them out of the air, bring in new fresh air and circulate that air throughout the space, this is when the building itself can become toxic to its workers.

Four Steps to Improving Indoor Air Quality in the Workplace

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we spend all day every day helping commercial and residential clients clean and purify the air they breathe.

When sick building syndrome or one of its precursors is suspected, we recommend this four-step process to diagnose and treat the issue and then prevent it from recurring.

Step 1: Conduct an indoor air quality test

The indoor air quality test takes 72 hours. The equipment is unobtrusive and silent. During the test period, air samples are collected continuously and analyzed for content. At test conclusion, you receive a full-color analysis of your indoor air content with improvement recommendations.

Step 2: Schedule an indoor air duct cleaning                

If you have heard the phrase “out with the old, in with the new,” this perfectly describes the necessary step of performing an indoor air duct cleaning. It is necessary to vacuum out trapped toxins, which can range from dust and insect debris to VOCs and bacteria, to prevent these toxins from re-entering your indoor air supply the next time your HVAC system cycles on.

Step 3: Install a filtration or purification system

You can choose between a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration system or an ultraviolet purification system. Both are experts at their job—stopping airborne toxins from entering your indoor air supply.

Step 4: Install a heat recovery ventilation system

Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) ensures a steady incoming stream of fresh, pure air that circulates throughout your workspace. A heat recovery ventilator also ensures your indoor air humidity levels are balanced to avoid buildup of mildew and mould.

Get in Touch

Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2070 to start the process of purifying your indoor air at work!

Plus, right now and through June 30, 2018, save 10 percent on all indoor air duct cleaning packages!

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