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CleanAir Solutions Blog

January 2019

Types of Whole Home Humidifiers: Which Is Right For You?

woman scratching itchy skin from dry indoor air

What do dry eyes, cracked lips, itchy skin, irritated nasal passages, increased respiratory infections, and static electricity all have in common?

Each is a sign that your indoor air lacks humidity.

Winter here in Canada can be pretty hard on your body and health.

Winter in Canada

Humidity is typically plentiful during the hot summer season. But like many animals (and also many humans), humidity tends to go into hibernation during the winter season as everything dries out and shuts down.

So where can you find a source of restorative humidity when the whole country has become cold, dry and frozen?

We know a way — it's called a whole home humidifier!

Even better, you have a selection of types to choose from so you can find the year-round humidity control solution that works best for you.

How to Know Your Indoor Air Is Too Dry

Often, the first indication your indoor humidity levels are too low comes in the form of a mid-winter cold or bout of the flu.

But there are other signs to watch for as well. When windows and doors start refusing to close (or open) properly, hardwood floors begin to develop ghostly creaking sounds or you see newfound warping or cracking in wooden furniture or musical instruments, these are all signs your air has become dangerously dry.

Static electricity is another sign to watch for. Static electricity is not only uncomfortable, as it sparks across conduction surfaces, but it is also a fire risk. A single static spark can sometimes be enough to set a home ablaze, and sadly it happens every year.

2 Main Types of Humidifiers

There are two main types of humidifier units: portable and whole home.

Portable humidifier

Portable humidifiers can be a great choice when just one family member requires a bit of extra humidity.

For example, if someone in your family has severe seasonal allergies or suffers from asthma or chronic respiratory issues, sometimes physicians will recommend adding a small portable humidifier to that family member’s bedroom to ease symptoms.

Sometimes portable humidifiers are recommended in rooms storing valuable and rare items such as antique wooden furniture or musical instruments.

Portable humidifiers, as their name suggests, can be easily picked up and moved from room to room or space to space as needed.

Whole home humidifier

A whole home humidifier, as the name implies, is designed to evenly distribute steady humidity to each room throughout a space, whether a home or workplace.

This type of humidification systems works with your central duct system, so it is permanent and cannot be moved easily.

One of the best perks of whole home humidifiers is that adding some judicious humidity back into your indoor air in wintertime can make the air feel warmer by as much as several degrees. This, in turn, can help you keep your thermostat lower and save potentially hundreds of dollars in winter heating costs!

2 Main Types of Whole Home Humidifiers

For general purposes, a whole home humidification system uses the same ductwork that your HVAC system relies on to distribute temperature-controlled air throughout your space.

Depending on your seasonal humidification needs, you can choose a humidifier that operates only when your heater is running or as needed.

There are two main types of whole home humidification systems.

Steam-powered humidifier

A steam-powered whole home humidifier heats water until it turns into vapour. The system fan then blows this vapour (steam) through your ductwork and out the air registers in each room.

This type of system can operate as needed all year long, whether your HVAC system is running or not. Steam humidifiers are generally acknowledged to provide quick, efficient, balanced humidity levels. Because they don’t need the furnace blower to run, they also tend to be more cost-efficient to operate.

Bypass humidifier

A bypass whole home humidifier, sometimes called a “furnace mount humidifier,” connects directly to your HVAC furnace. This type of system uses the furnace blower to blow pre-warmed air across a water panel or pad so that it can absorb moisture. This humidified air is then distributed through your central air duct system to each room in your space.

This type of humidifier does require a bit of extra ducting to work properly, which means you will need adequate space to install it. It also features a bypass damper to shut off the humidity when it is not needed.

Choosing the Right Humidification System for You

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we proudly carry both Coleman and Aprilaire whole home humidification systems.

Our Aprilaire whole home steam humidifier is capable of fully automatic operation (although manual operation is always an option if you prefer).

This unit has the capacity to provide humidity-balanced air for spaces of up to 6,200 square feet.

We offer a variety of bypass whole home humidifiers for different needs.

Whether you are seeking a whole home bypass humidifier for a small, medium or large space or your priority is water conservation, our Coleman and Aprilaire models will be able to meet your needs.

Preparing Your Home for Your New Humidifier

While there is no doubt your new whole home humidification system will work efficiently and effectively right out of the box, there are a couple of things you can do to get the most benefit out of your new system.

  1. Schedule a regular annual inspection and maintenance service; it’s key to keeping your humidifier operating efficiently.
  2. Regularly doing an energy assessment to identify and seal, caulk or weatherstrip air leaks and insulate ductwork will minimize heat, energy and humidity loss.

Get in Touch

Do you see signs in your home or in your health that your indoor air is too dry this winter? We can help! 

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

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What Is Dryer Vent Cleaning & Why Do You Need It?

clothes in the dryer

While many of us hang wet items outside to dry in the sunshine, for the most part today, we rely on clothes dryers to do that job, especially during wet and cold weather.

Because they’re so often used, clothes dryers have maintenance and safety needs that we ignore at our peril. A poorly maintained or neglected clothes dryer can turn into a money pit or, worse, a fire hazard.

In this article, learn more about dryer vent cleaning—what it is, why it needs to be done, and how often you should have it done.

What Is Dryer Vent Cleaning?

You may have seen those home kits that advertise how you can clean your dryer of excess lint and dust at home on the cheap.

Unfortunately, while these can be good for preventative routine cleaning in between professional servicing, they aren’t going to address more serious maintenance concerns like poor dryer performance and fire risk.

Dryer vent cleaning is the name given to what occurs when a trained and licensed professional technician comes out to remove trapped lint, dust and debris lodged deep within the interior mechanisms of your clothes dryer.

These areas are typically not accessible to you—unless you are willing to dismantle your dryer every time you want to clean it out! But with the specialized equipment that has been developed to professionally clean your dryer, this service can be done with relative ease in a short time.

Why Do You Need Dryer Vent Cleaning?

The big question, however, is this: Why do you need to have your clothes dryer professionally cleaned? Once you discover all the things that can go wrong when you haven’t cleaned your dryer in some time, it is much easier to understand the value of this service!

Improper vent configuration

Poorly configured vents that are too long, too short or are created from substandard materials can impact dryer performance and cause build-up of lint and debris.

Vent blockage

Blocked vents that have filled up with lint, are blocked from the outside by bird’s nests, debris or leaves/ice, or have been damaged and are no longer functioning are the number one cause of dryer vent-related fires.

Pest infestation

As unpleasant as it is to contemplate, there is little in life many pests like more than finding a dark, warm, lint-filled dryer vent in which to take shelter and reproduce! Along the way, these pests will leave equally unpleasant calling cards in the form of waste, exoskeletons and other unwelcome matter.

Dryer Vent Cleaning Versus Dryer Inspection & Maintenance Service

One of the most frequent questions we hear is, “But isn’t dryer vent cleaning already part of the typical dryer inspection and maintenance service?”

This might make sense, and we do typically do a basic dryer inspection as we are cleaning out your dryer. If other maintenance or repair needs are identified, our technician will discuss these with you before concluding your cleaning service.

But repairing and maintaining the functional aspect of your clothes dryer is different from cleaning out dust, dirt, lint and debris from all the areas where it hides inside your dryer.

Types of Dryer Vent Clogs and Cleaning Needs

When you have worked in the industry as long as we have, you are rarely surprised anymore by what you find inside a clothes dryer. However, you simply cannot underestimate the power of your dryer to suck things up inside vents that should not be there!

Here are just some of the items we have discovered while cleaning and/or servicing poorly operating or nonfunctional clothes dryers: socks, underwear, dryer sheets, paper towels, delicates wash bags, handkerchiefs, napkins, bird nests, dead rodents or insects and food storage caches left behind by squirrels or birds.

Other more common items that can clog up dryer vents deep inside your unit include pet dander, dust mites, excess lint and construction dust.

Benefits of Scheduling a Professional Dryer Vent Cleaning Service

The number one benefit of having professional dryer vent cleaning is peace of mind. The moment this service is completed, you will know your clothes dryer no longer represents a fire risk!

Another popular benefit is energy savings that translate into lower energy bills. While saving $15 or $20 a month may seem modest at first glance, how does saving up to $240 a year sound? Could you find a way to use that extra cash you would otherwise be spending just to dry your clothes?

A perk parents especially enjoy is that clothing lasts longer when your dryer doesn’t have to work as long to dry your laundry. This is especially true if your dryer is at a point where you now need to run multiple cycles before clothing is completely dry.

Finally, your dryer will last longer when it is properly cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. No one loves having to unexpectedly plunk down extra cash to purchase a new dryer because theirs conked out. But what is even less fun is to find out the reason your dryer suddenly stopped operating is because it was clogged up beyond resolution!

Get in Touch

Have you noticed your clothes dryer takes longer to dry your laundry, seems hot to the touch after a cycle or takes multiple dry cycles to fully dry your clothes?

It may be time to schedule your professional dryer vent cleaning. We highly recommend adding this to your annual appliance service and maintenance calendar as a way to save money and reduce home fire risk.

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

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8 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Indoor Air Duct Cleaning Company

ask the right questions notebook

Having your HVAC ductwork professionally cleaned and sanitized can have a measurable impact on your family’s health and wellness all year long.

However, you reap the full benefits of your investment in indoor air quality only when you know how to select the right service provider.

As with any type of specialized service, knowing the right questions to ask can ensure you entrust your family’s health and indoor air quality to a reputable and professional air duct cleaning company.

In this post, learn the eight most important questions to ask before choosing an indoor air duct cleaning company!

4 Reasons to Schedule Indoor Air Duct Cleaning

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are certain times when it makes sense to schedule an air duct cleaning.

1. Visible mould, mildew or debris

If you see (or smell) mould, mildew or other strange odours inside your home or workplace, and especially if you can see mould or mildew growing on, inside or around air registers and/or exhaust vents, this can indicate it may be time to schedule an indoor air duct cleaning.

If you can constantly smell musty, grassy or damp odours but can’t find a visible source, this is another reason to have your indoor air duct system inspected and possibly cleaned by a professional.

2. Recent remediation or renovation

Another smart time to consider having your indoor air ducts cleaned professionally is right after you have had any remediation for mould or mildew or after you have finished any type of major renovation or interior redesign project.

These types of projects can release quite a bit of dust, debris and (in the case of mould or mildew remediation) fungal spores into the air, which can then take up residence inside your air ducts. Cleaning and sanitizing your air ducts safeguards your family’s health and the structural integrity of your home or workplace in the future.

3. Unexplained health symptoms

If you or a family member or employee is experiencing unexplained health symptoms that seem to be linked to time spent inside your home or workplace, the culprit may be lurking inside your indoor air duct system!

Cleaning your indoor air ducts may provide a return to health when other measures have not delivered the desired results.

4. No record of prior cleaning exists

The U.S. EPA states that it can sometimes make sense to have your indoor air ductwork professionally cleaned for the simple reason that dust, dirt and debris naturally accumulate over time.

If you have recently moved to a new home or workplace and there is no record of prior indoor air duct cleaning, it can make sense to have your air ducts inspected toward scheduling a professional duct cleaning, especially if the previous owners had pets.

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Provider

These eight questions can help ensure you choose a qualified service provider to perform your residential or commercial indoor air duct cleaning.

1. How long will the cleaning service take?

Unless your space is unusually large with complex ductwork, it typically takes less than one day to complete a professional indoor air duct cleaning. This can be scheduled hours or on weekends for commercial clients.

2. How do you know my air ducts need to be cleaned?

The first step in any professional indoor air duct cleaning should be to inspect the air duct system itself.

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we do this by sending a tiny camera up into the air ducts to take a look!

We will show you exactly what we see inside your air ducts and then we can decide together whether or not to proceed with the cleaning service.

3. What is included in the duct cleaning service?

An indoor duct cleaning service is truly effective only if more than just the ductwork itself gets cleaned. Air registers, exhaust vents and HVAC components should also be cleaned at the same time the ductwork is cleaned.

4. How will contaminants be removed?

The phrase you want to hear here is “negative pressure.” A reputable and responsible indoor air duct cleaning contractor will use negative pressure with an industrial strength vacuum to pull contaminants out of ducts, registers and vents and into a secure waste receptacle.

This ensures that contaminants—dust, debris, fungal spores, bacteria, viral matter, pet dander, pollen, etc.—are extracted securely and safely transported away from your home or workplace without any danger that they may re-enter your indoor air supply.

5. What protections are used to avoid damage to ducts, HVAC and the space itself?

There should never be a reason to cut holes in ductwork or registers/vents to perform routine indoor air duct cleaning. In addition, you want to know that every precaution will be taken to avoid causing damage to ducts, HVAC components and your home or workplace.

6. What if my ductwork needs to be repaired?

Sometimes, during the initial duct system inspection, repair needs are identified. These can include repairing cracks or leaks, replacing sagging or degraded ducts, adding insulation and rerouting ducts.

These additional repair needs should always be discussed in advance so that you won’t be surprised with extra charges after your duct cleaning service.

7. Will any cleaning agents be used?

The U.S. EPA and the HVAC Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Association advise against the use of antimicrobial chemicals for treating contaminants inside air ducts.

While there are some specific circumstances where this type of extra treatment may be warranted, it typically is not done as part of a routine preventative air duct cleaning service.

8. What service guarantees are offered?

You want to be sure your provider offers service satisfaction guarantees to protect your investment in your indoor air quality.

Get in Touch

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

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