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CleanAir Solutions Blog

October 2018

How to Keep Your Home Well Ventilated When Temperatures Plunge

view of winter trees through window

To hear Canadian meteorologists tell it, this winter is going to be one for the record books even by Canadian standards.

Already, the northernmost areas throughout North America are experiencing record lows, early snowfall and other signs that this winter is going to be, well, epic.

If your home is older and full of natural sources of outside air leaks, achieving indoor ventilation might not be such a source of concern as temperatures drop. After all, in older homes a fair amount of indoor/outdoor air exchange takes place every day through little cracks and leaks in windows, doors, crawl spaces, air ducts and other places.

But if your home is newer and airtight, as so many modern structures are today, figuring out how to get adequate daily ventilation is a big deal. It becomes an especially big deal during the winter season, when even the thought of opening a door or window to get some fresh air will bring grumpy family members running quickly to shut it again!

So how do you ventilate your indoor air without having to shiver and bundle up inside your own home space? We have a great solution and we think you are going to love it. It is called a heat recovery ventilator!

What Is a Heat Recovery Ventilator?

A heat recovery ventilator, or HRV for short, is an appliance designed to keep your indoor air fresh and oxygenated all year long.

How Does a Heat Recovery Ventilator Work?

A heat recovery ventilator’s main job is to draw in fresh air from outside and push out stale air from inside. But an HRV does this using two completely separate air channels so there is no leakage between fresh incoming air and stale outgoing air.

A heat recovery ventilator can also help balance your indoor air humidity levels in summer and winter. And it can boost the efficiency of your air conditioning and furnace system and reduce your monthly heating and cooling bills by recovering lost heat in winter and extracting unwanted heat in summer.

Best of all, as your heat recovery ventilator is pushing stale air out of your space, it is also busy removing toxins and pollutants.

This nifty little device can be retrofitted to work with any central, ducted HVAC system.

A heat recovery ventilator can also work together with other indoor air quality appliances such as a HEPA filtration system or an ultraviolet air purification system.

Sometimes heat recovery ventilation is called “mechanical ventilation,” but it is important to know that heat recovery ventilation is just one type of mechanical ventilation.

Have You Considered Scheduling an Indoor Air Quality Test?

We may live in one of the prettiest countries in the world, but our lives are busier than ever today and we have less time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and scenery.

In fact, according to Health Canada, the average Canadian spends up to 90 percent of their time indoors.

So this makes breathing clean, pure, fresh, oxygenated indoor air a huge priority! But how do you know your indoor air is less healthy and clean than it should be?

The very best way to know the exact composition of your indoor air is to schedule an indoor air quality test.

This silent 72-hour test takes small air samples at regular intervals and analyzes the air for toxins. At the end of the 72-hour test period, you receive a full-color print-out giving you the composition of your indoor air supply.

How to Know You Need a Heat Recovery Ventilator

While an indoor air quality test is definitely the gold standard in diagnosing indoor air quality problems, in many cases you don’t have to go that far to know you need fresher, cleaner air than what you are currently breathing!

Here are some clear and reliable warning signs that you may need additional ventilation inside your space:

Your indoor air smells stale, dank, grassy, musty or simply odd

Strange odours in your indoor air could mean mould or mildew is growing. It can also mean your air has become stale and oxygen-depleted.

You don’t feel well when you are at home

If you experience respiratory symptoms, itchy eyes, headache, fatigue, memory and concentration issues, dizziness, lightheadedness, coughing and other symptoms when you are inside your home (and you don’t experience these symptoms elsewhere), this may be a sign your air is stale or even toxic.

The air inside your home feels damp or humid

Humidity inside your home can mean moisture generated from within (such as from cooking, doing laundry or dishes, showering or using space humidifiers) can’t get out.

Your energy bills are increasing to heat or cool your home

If your attic or crawl spaces are not insulated and ventilated properly, you may find yourself continually adjusting the thermostat without any noticeable change in the temperature inside your home.

You are living in a new-construction space

Many modern homes and especially energy-efficient “green” spaces are built to be so airtight that leakage is nearly down to zero. This can be a great way to save money on your utility bills and, certainly, it can help save the planet.

But it won’t necessarily do your health any favors if you don’t have mechanical ventilation to do what homes used to do naturally.

Get in Touch

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we want to make sure that every customer we serve has clean, fresh, pure air to breathe all winter long.

Right now, we are offering a special seasonal sale: 10 percent off of any of our popular professional air duct cleaning packages.

Get your winter season off to the healthiest start by scheduling your duct cleaning service today—contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to claim your discount!

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Is Your Indoor Air Stale, Steamy or Stinky? We Can Help!

steamy window

When you were growing up, did you ever find yourself talking about air quality?

For most people, worries about the quality of indoor or outdoor air is a relatively new source of concern. Most of us didn’t grow up worrying that the air we were breathing was slowly poisoning us, ruining our health and killing our planet. We just breathed in and out as we played, studied, worked and relaxed.

Today, it is necessary to take a much more active role in this process. We need to learn how to monitor the quality of our indoor air (even though we still don’t have a great deal of control over the quality of our outdoor air).

Believe it or not, one of the easiest and most trustworthy ways to monitor the quality of your indoor air supply is to use your senses. For example, if you walk inside your house and become immediately aware of odour or humidity, these are trustworthy clues to alert you that something isn’t right.

Of course, then you need to figure out what to do about it, and this can be a bit more challenging. In this timely blog post, we share some of our favourite fixes for stale, steamy or stinky air!

P.S. Be sure to read all the way through to the end of this post to find out how you can save 10 percent off any of our popular professional air duct cleaning packages!


Problem: Stale air

Stale air is probably the least straightforward indoor air quality issue to detect and troubleshoot.

Stale air is essentially air that is poorly oxygenated. This happens when there is not enough ventilation and air circulation to keep your indoor air fresh.

In previous years, homes were built in such a way as to permit a bit of air leakage from inside to outside and vice versa. This may not have done anyone’s energy bills any favors, but it did take care of the need for fresh air ventilation and circulation quite handily!

But with the advent of modern airtight construction practices over the last few years, stale indoor air has become an especially common problem in newer homes and workplaces.

Because stale air doesn’t necessarily have an odour, diagnosing this issue is most commonly achieved when you begin noticing unpleasant health symptoms. Headaches, trouble concentrating, fatigue, irritability and similar symptoms can point back to stale, poorly oxygenated indoor air.

Solution: Stale air

The best fix for stale indoor air is to improve ventilation and air circulation. You can accomplish some of this by just opening windows and doors on nice days and using floor fans or ceiling fans to move the fresh air around.

But during times each year when Canada's weather doesn’t lend itself to this fix, the best option is an appliance called a heat recovery ventilator.

The heat recovery ventilator ensures you always have a steady supply of fresh air coming inside and moves the stale air outside with no leakage between the two air sources. Happily, a heat recovery ventilator can be retrofitted to work with any existing HVAC system that is ducted.


Problem: Humid air

Hot tubs and saunas both offer great options for relaxing after a long day. Use of each dates back to the time of ancient civilizations.

But what no one particularly enjoys is when that steamy sauna-like air starts to fill up the whole house!

The presence of humidity in your indoor air can also trigger an even more concerning health issue—mould and mildew growth. Mould and mildew like nothing more than a warm, moist climate to grow, send out new spores and take over a space.

Like stale air, too much humidity inside your home can be a sign that you don’t have adequate ventilation and air circulation. This is a common problem in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry room areas.

Another potential cause of humid air is structural leaks in air ducts or around windows and doors. This can let humid air from outdoors sneak inside and raise the humidity levels inside your home.

Solution: Humid air

As with stale air, sometimes the simplest fix for humid air is the installation of a heat recovery ventilator. Heat recovery ventilators can help balance seasonal humidity fluctuations.

An additional perk is that heat recovery ventilators can lower your heating and cooling costs by moving heat to where it does the most good—outside in summer and inside in winter.

Sealing up leaks in ductwork, windows and doors can also help to control humidity.


Problem: Stinky air

When your indoor air smells, you know it! Sometimes it just smells like what you cooked for dinner or the scented candle you burned last night.

But other times the smell may not be so easy to pin down. This is especially true when the odour your nose is detecting is musty, grassy or dank—all warning signs that mould or mildew may be present.

Commercial cleaning products, air fresheners, craft glues and adhesives, new carpet and furnishings, paint and primer can all emit odours. These smells can be not only unpleasant but also highly toxic.

Solution: Stinky air

We recommend a three-step approach to correcting stinky indoor air. A professional indoor air duct cleaning can remove trapped matter inside your air ducts that is being inadvertently pushed out through your air registers and into your rooms.

Installation of either a HEPA air filtration appliance or an ultraviolet air purification appliance can go one step further to eliminate 99.97 percent of indoor airborne toxins before they ever enter your air ducts.

Contact Us & Save 10 Percent

Right now, save 10 percent on our three popular air duct cleaning packages! Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to learn more!

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Fall Is Duct Cleaning Season: Find Out How to Save 10 Percent Now!

mold on surface

Only five to ten years ago, air duct cleaning wasn’t exactly a hot topic even inside the HVAC industry.

But today, in the wake of ongoing climate change that is causing wetter and more violent and unpredictable storms year-round, duct cleaning is suddenly experiencing newfound popularity!

What is the connection? The answer is simple: mould and mildew. As formerly dry areas become wetter for longer, to the point where the ground becomes saturated with moisture, conditions become ripe for mould and mildew to grow and spread.

After severe weather events like hurricanes Harvey and Florence to the south of us and the late summer floods right here in Ontario, residents have experienced an upsurge in respiratory problems, chronic allergies, skin rashes and other mould-related health issues.

The same holds true for homes that have been damaged by flooding or other severe weather and then need renovations. Toxic off-gassing from materials and adhesives combined with mildew and mould can cause serious health conditions when homeowners move back in again.

What can you do to address these ongoing health hazards? We have two words for you: duct cleaning!

P.S. Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post to find out how to save 10 percent on any of our value-added duct cleaning packages!

Why Today’s Airtight Homes Are Not Your Air Quality Friend

In decades past, it was not uncommon for even brand-new construction to allow for a certain degree of air leakage between the great outdoors and a home’s interior.

But as concerns about global warming and air pollution increase, the focus in the construction industry has shifted to prize airtight construction above all else.

It is true that today’s cutting-edge construction strategies do help the average homeowner conserve energy usage and cut costs.

But on the flip side, airtight construction can quickly cause a buildup of stale air inside the home and moist conditions ripe for mould, mildew and bacteria growth in attics, crawl spaces, basements and air ducts.

Air Duct Cleaning and Ventilation to the Rescue

You can always open a window or door and get some old-school ventilation flowing into your airtight home. But not every day of the year provides optimal conditions for doing this. In fact, for much of the year, extreme summer and winter can make it downright dangerous to open up your home to the elements.

To solve the indoor air toxicity caused by airtight construction, you are going to need some extra assistance.

The two most effective ways to keep your indoor air clean and fresh are air duct cleaning and ventilation.

Air Duct Cleaning Helps Purify Your Indoor Air

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends sealing off your air duct system during construction, whether for a new build or for a renovation or remodel.

In the event this is not possible, you may wish to have your air ducts professionally cleaned before you move in to remove build-up of construction dust, debris, adhesives, volatile organic compounds, pollen, mildew and other toxins.

The same holds true for repairs and renovations prompted by weather or water damage, with the added caveat that sealing up your air duct system is unlikely to stop the growth of mould and mildew caused by moisture exposure.

In these cases, you may want to first schedule an indoor air duct cleaning and then retrofit your HVAC system to work with a HEPA air filter or ultraviolet air purification system to keep mould from regaining a foothold inside your ducts.

 

The good news here is that you should only need to have your air ducts professionally cleaned and sanitized once every five to 10 years as long as no additional major construction or repairs are required.

Even better news is that many of our clients tell us they can actually smell the difference before and after they have had a professional air duct cleaning—that is how much cleaner their indoor air truly is!

How Ventilation Keeps Your Indoor Air Fresh

For new airtight construction in particular, the only viable year-round method for keeping your indoor air fresh and clean is to install mechanical ventilation in the form of a heat recovery ventilation system.

Throughout Ontario, new builds are now required to come equipped with heat recovery ventilators for precisely this reason.

A heat recovery ventilator, like a HEPA air filter or an ultraviolet air purifier, can be retrofitted to work with any central (ducted) HVAC system. This means you don’t need to invest in a new air conditioning or furnace system in order to enjoy the health benefits of improved indoor ventilation.

Choose From Three Value-Added Duct Cleaning Packages

All three of our indoor air duct cleaning packages feature the commercial-grade Rotobrush system, which is designed to clean and sanitize every inch of your indoor duct work.

In nearly all cases, residential air duct cleaning takes three to five hours and you can enjoy the results immediately.

Choose from these three packages and save 10 percent on the package of your choice!

Bronze package

We vacuum out your air ducts, clean your air registers and exhaust vents, and sanitize and deodorize your entire system.

Silver package

We do everything in the Bronze package plus cleaning your air conditioning coil and furnace fan compartment.

Gold package

We do everything in the Bronze and Silver packages plus a 21-point furnace inspection and maintenance service.

Get in Touch

Clean Air Solutions Hamilton is proud to be a Better Business Bureau (BBB)-certified business with an A+ rating! We take customer satisfaction very seriously and will do what it takes to earn your trust and repeat business.

Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to learn more about duct cleaning and reserve your 10 percent discount!

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