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CleanAir Solutions Blog

August 2019

Three Essential Indoor Air Cleaners You Need Now

hepa filter close up

If there is one thing every single home today has in common, it is this: indoor air pollution.

Worryingly, current research estimates that the air inside the average home is anywhere from two to five times more toxic than the outside surrounding air!

But beyond this common denominator, there is no single unifying consensus within the HVAC and indoor air quality industries on the best type of indoor air quality system.

Rather, the emphasis is on matching the specific indoor air quality issues inside your space with the right types of air quality cleaners and purifiers to detoxify and clean up your indoor air.

In this post, we introduce three essential indoor air cleaners from which we believe every home, workplace and school can benefit. You will learn what each cleaner is designed to do, how it works and additional perks each system has to offer.

Air Duct and Dryer Vent Cleaning

All the air quality controls in the world can make improvements starting only from the time they are introduced into your space.

Meanwhile, tucked deep down inside your dryer vent and air duct system, there are plenty of old trapped toxins that are being re-released into your air every time you run a dryer or HVAC cycle.

The only way to permanently remove these trapped pollutants is by scheduling a professional indoor air duct cleaning and a professional dryer vent cleaning.

These services will thoroughly clean and sanitize your air duct network and clothes dryer, essentially hitting the “reset” button on your indoor air quality.

After you have these two services done, it is time to move on to the next phase – selecting and installing your indoor air quality cleaners.

All indoor spaces will typically have a combination of three types of toxic airborne pollutants: liquid particles, gaseous particles and solid particles.

But there is no one air cleaner that is designed to neutralize all three types of pollutants.

For this reason, we typically recommend a three-pronged approach to permanently upgrading the quality of your indoor air.

HEPA Air Filtration System

The first air cleaner we recommend has been the gold standard in indoor air quality all around the world ever since World War II. Developed to protect scientists from radioactive particles, HEPA filters are now used in laboratories, clinics and hospitals worldwide.

HEPA filters work best when addressing solid airborne pollutants such as dust, pollen, fungi, pet dander, tobacco and smoke micro-particles and similar others.

HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. What this means is that HEPA filters are highly efficient at filtering out even the smallest micro-particles – solids that may measure just 1/100th the width of a single human hair.

Most traditional residential HVAC systems are not equipped to handle the density of a HEPA air filter. This type of filter is simply too thick and can impede airflow to the point of causing damage to your air conditioning or furnace.

However, standalone HEPA filtration systems can be easily retrofitted to work with any residential or commercial HVAC. Both portable and central (ducted) models are available.

Ultraviolet Air Purification System

The second air cleaner we recommend is the ultraviolet air purifier. As the name implies, ultraviolet air purifiers harness the power of ultraviolet light to purify the air of pollution.

UV air purifiers work best to neutralize gaseous and liquid particulates which may slip through even a HEPA filtration system, although they can also work well against mould and mildew spores.

Examples of gaseous and liquid particles can include ammonia, sulfur dioxide, freon, ozone, nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, radon gas and similar others.

The light source is a synthetic version of the sun’s most powerful ultraviolet light band – UV-C. Like its natural counterpart, synthetic UV-C has the ability to change the basic molecular structure of airborne particulate pollutants so they are unable to cause harm.

UV air purifiers can be easily retrofitted to work with any HVAC system, whether residential or commercial. Both ducted (central) and portable models exist.

Heat Recovery Ventilator

The third air cleaner we recommend is the heat recovery ventilator.

A heat recovery ventilator performs two essential functions to clean and purify your indoor air: it ensures a steady supply of fresh air and helps exhaust excess humidity that might otherwise foster mould, mildew and bacterial growth.

A third perk you will get from installing a heat recovery ventilator is the benefit of its ability to recycle heat energy, thus lowering your energy bills year-round. Some heat recovery ventilators can even put extra heat energy to work to heat your water!

But for our purposes here, the most important function a heat recovery ventilator provides that no other air cleaner can offer is to keep your indoor air perpetually fresh and oxygenated. In this way, you can think of the heat recovery ventilator as an extra set of mechanical lungs for your home.

Heat recovery ventilators are especially essential for new-construction homes, which must be built to the new airtight construction standards designed to conserve energy.

These homes may come with a lower carbon footprint, but they can’t “breathe” without assistance. This is why Toronto area construction standards now require the inclusion of a heat recovery ventilator with all new builds.

The heat recovery ventilator is best used with a central (ducted) HVAC system.

Its dual input/out system ensures that stale outgoing air and fresh incoming air never meet and mingle, while continually recycling otherwise lost heat energy to preheat your air in winter and moving excess heat outside in summer to lower your cooling bill.

At the same time, the HRV guards against mould and mildew by controlling humidity levels indoors.

Get in Touch

Do you need assistance to pick the right combination of indoor air quality tools for your home, workplace or school? We can help!

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

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Is Your Indoor Air Ready for Back to School? 5 Steps to Keep Your Child Healthy This Fall

back to school

Here are some scary statistics for you. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 93 percent of all kids worldwide breathe toxic air every day of their lives.

But before you think, “Oh well, I’ll just keep my kids indoors,” consider the U.S. EPA’s recent shocking statement that, on average, our indoor air today is up to five times more toxic than our outdoor air.

Unfortunately, it just gets worse. A full 95 percent of Canadians report spending as little as five minutes per day outdoors.

What does this all add up to? It is time – and urgently so – to take a much closer look at the impact our polluted indoor air has on our children, their health, their growth and development.

In this post, discover five action steps to take right now to keep your child healthy this fall and for the foreseeable future.

What We Know About How Toxic Air Affects Children

Here are just three known impacts toxic air can have on infants and children.

  1. Moms-to-be who breathe toxic air are more likely to deliver smaller, low-birth weight, premature infants.

  2. Toxic air can be a trigger for asthma and childhood cancer.

  3. Air pollution affects the development of the brain and nervous system, fine motor coordination, lung and respiratory function.

In many places here in Canada, we are lucky to enjoy much cleaner outdoor air than what people in other parts of the world have access to.

However, we have a serious issue with outdoor air toxicity right here in Ontario, including in the Hamilton and surrounding areas (this recent blog post elaborated on this issue in much more detail).

As well, there is no measurable difference between the toxicity of our indoor air and that in other parts of North America or similar first-world countries.

We are all using basically the same types of chemical-laden cleaning supplies, personal care products, fossil fuels and tobacco products. We all face similar issues with indoor air pollution.

5 Steps You Can Take to Improve Indoor Air Quality Now

This is not an easy topic to talk about. Indoor air quality is declining at alarming rates and it is downright scary, whether you are a parent or a child.

But there is also good news – there is much you can do to improve the quality of your indoor air and your children’s health and development!

These five tips can quickly boost your indoor air quality at home.

1. Go green inside your home

For every cleaning product that contains unpronounceable chemical ingredients, there is a natural and safe agent that will do the same job.

For example, let’s take bleach, with its long laundry list of toxic health concerns. A great natural alternative is simple hydrogen peroxide (in the 3 percent professional strength) combined with lemon juice and water.

We wrote a separate blog post sharing our favorite easy recipes for all-natural, green and eco-friendly cleaning products that will keep your home spic and span without releasing any toxins into your indoor air.

2. Add green to your indoor space

There are a number of truly fabulous indoor air filtration and purification systems we are about to introduce you to here.

But one of the best – as well as the most visually appealing – is the humble houseplant.

Houseplants “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “breathe out” oxygen. So they are quite literally the perfect equalizer and indoor air cleaner!

We recently devoted a whole blog post to talking about the 10 best houseplants for cleaning your indoor air.

3. Invest in a heat recovery ventilator

Mould forms when humidity rises. Mould also tends to form during times of more extreme weather when our immune resistance is naturally lowered.

heat recovery ventilator (HRV) moves heat energy and airborne moisture around to keep your indoor air cleaner and humidity-balanced to resist mould and mildew growth.

(As a side benefit, the heat recovery ventilator can also help you recycle energy and save money.)

4. Retrofit your HVAC to work with an indoor air purifier

Indoor air purification uses ultraviolet light to change the molecular structure of liquid and gaseous airborne pollutants so they cannot cause harm.

Both portable and central (ducted) indoor air purifier units exist. Central units can be easily retrofitted to work with your existing HVAC system.

5. Upgrade to HEPA filtration

We may be guilty of being the HEPA filter’s No. 1 fan but we aren’t going to apologize! HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) technology was originally created during World War II to protect scientists from radioactive particles.

HEPA filters can permanently remove solid airborne particulates as small as 1/100th of a single human hair from your indoor air.

Both portable and central (ducted) HEPA filtration units exist. Central units can be easily retrofitted to work with your existing HVAC system.

Talk to Your Child’s Teachers and Childcare Managers

At CleanAir Solutions Hamilton, we are parents ourselves, so we truly understand how scary a post like this can be!

For this same reason, we also want to offer you our personal (as well as professional) encouragement to gather up your courage and talk to your children’s teachers and school administrators at school about indoor air quality.

Researchers now know there is a direct link between learning ability, test scores and air pollution. The U.S. EPA has created some specific resources that may be helpful in expressing your concerns.

Get in Touch

Do you need expert guidance to improve the air quality in your home or workplace? We can help!

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

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The Terrible 12: Indoor Air Neurotoxins All Parents Need to Guard Against

number twelve

 

 Whether you are expecting, have welcomed a new baby to the house or are caring for growing kids, science has some bad news for parents.

Twelve airborne neurotoxins that can impair development, lower IQ and inhibit brain function have been identified, and apparently they are everywhere.

In one Harvard Medical School research paper, researchers estimated that exposure to just three of these neurotoxins is collectively responsible for a cumulative drop of 41 million IQ points in North American alone!

The 12 neurotoxins you are about to meet are now thought to be at least partially responsible for the exponential increase in developmental disorders ranging from ADHD to autism spectrum disorder.

In this post, we will tell you exactly what these 12 neurotoxins are, where they are most frequently encountered and how to take action to limit your children’s exposure – and your own.

Meet “The 12”: Potent Brain-Damaging Neurotoxins

These 12 neurotoxins are now also thought to be responsible for a number of brain-damaging health impacts in unborn infants, children and adults of all ages.

1. Manganese

Manganese is a trace mineral that is most frequently used to make soda cans and stainless steel. In an industrial setting, it reduces corrosion. In our bodies, it harms our brain.

2. Fluoride

Fluoride is a neurotoxin found in our water, toothpaste and many dental care products.

3. Chlorpyrifos

This potent insecticide is so toxic, its manufacturer was fined more than $700,000 by the EPA for causing 200+ poisoning incidents. Yet it is still being used all over the world today in ways that expose us through the foods we eat, the plants we grow, even the golf courses we visit.

4. DDT/DDE

DDT/DDE was once one of the most effective pesticides on the planet. Now it is banned but has become one of the most persistent neurotoxins polluting our planet.

5. Tetrachloroethylene (PERC) 

Perhaps the number one way you are exposed to PERC is through dry cleaning. Fabric finishers and many office supplies also contain this known neurotoxin.

6. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) 

Just some of the places you will find large concentrations of PBDEs include smart devices, television remotes, foam, fabrics and textiles, paints and adhesives.

7. Arsenic

Is there anyone today who doesn’t know arsenic is poison? Yet this naturally occurring element from the periodic chart is present in our drinking water (particularly well water), some foods (including rice), treated wood, pesticides, laser technology and metal alloys.

8. Lead

Lead may no longer be an ingredient in paint, children’s toys or gasoline (remember “leaded” versus “unleaded?”) but it is still very much present in our environment. All that lead leached into our soils and our water and is also a part of many older homes and commercial structures.

9. Mercury

The most common cause of mercury toxicity is twofold: dental amalgam fillings and eating mercury-poisoned seafood.

10. Toluene

Toluene is a common additive in vehicle fuels and is used for making plastic bottles – including the water bottles we drink from. Paints and adhesives often contain it as well.

11. Ethanol

From alcoholic beverages to ethanol-laced motor fuels, we can’t seem to get away from exposure to this neurotoxin.

12. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 

PCBs are fire-retardants that are often added to home insulation products and engine coolant.

How to Protect Your Family from “The Terrible 12”

Scientists and health experts offer tips to protect yourself and your family from further exposure to the neurotoxins you just learned about.

Taking active steps to protect yourself is especially vital if you are currently pregnant, are lactating or are trying to conceive.

Eat organic produce

Experts say that simply switching your diet to all organic produce can potentially reduce your exposure to some neurotoxins (especially present or past pesticides) by up to 90 percent.

Don’t use pesticides or insecticides

Even though many of the pesticide-related neurotoxins on this list are not in use at all or as much today, it is still vital to find alternatives for your lawn and garden, your home and garage and your workplace.

Choose your home furnishings with care

Many home furnishings, including treated wood, carpet, upholstery, window treatments, mattresses and also DIY craft and home repair paints, glues and adhesives contain these and other toxic ingredients.

Have your indoor air quality tested

In just 72 hours, our silent, simple indoor air quality test will deliver the information you need to know about exactly what is polluting your indoor air and what to do about it.

Invest in indoor air duct cleaning

Air duct cleaning uses negative pressure with a vacuum seal to pull every bit of toxic matter out of your indoor air ducts, whether it be liquid, gaseous or solid.

At the end of the service, your newly sanitized air ducts will be ready to deliver your newly purified indoor air.

Install a heat recovery ventilator

Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) is so important for indoor air quality today that Ontario recently mandated HRVs be included in all new Toronto-area construction.

An HRV will ensure that the stale, toxic, humid air inside your space is consistently pushed outdoors, to be replaced with fresh, pure, oxygenated air.

Add an ultraviolet air purifier and a HEPA filter

Together, there is little in the way of air quality goals that a UV air purifier and a HEPA air filtration system cannot accomplish.

UV air purifiers work on liquid and gaseous matter while HEPA systems work on particulates as small as 1/100th of a single human hair.

Portable and whole-home units are available.

Get in Touch

Are you concerned about neurotoxins in your home or workplace? We can help!

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

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