CleanAir Solutions Blog
Clean Air Solutions Hamilton
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently shocked the world (not to mention all of North America) when it released the latest indoor air quality report.
Perhaps it should have been called “the lack of indoor air quality.”
The average home and workplace today is operating with an air supply that may be up to five times more toxic than the air just outside.
In this post, find out what is polluting your indoor air and how to fix it fast.
Questions That Confirm Indoor Air Toxicity
Unfortunately, just sniffing your indoor air usually isn’t enough to rule out toxicity.
The booming business of so-called air fresheners hasn’t done any of us any favours in this department – in fact, many of those products are contributing to the toxic chemicals in our indoor air!
These questions can help you identify some of the major culprits that are toxifying your indoor air.
Does anyone in your home or workplace smoke indoors?
Do you use a fireplace or wood stove?
Do you have shedding pets?
Do you see condensation on windows when it is cold outside?
Does your indoor air dry out in winter?
Does your home or office ever smell "off" for no specific reason?
Do your doorknobs shock you when you touch them?
Does your hair refuse to cooperate and your clothing cling to you?
Do you use ready-made cleaning products, air fresheners, incense or candles?
Does anyone in your family battle persistent allergies, asthma, colds or sinus issues?
Answering “yes” to just one of these questions is proof that you have toxic elements inside your home or workplace.
This is never good news, but there is a lot you can do to clean up your indoor air and protect your family's and/or your employees' health.
The 3 Keys to Indoor Air Quality
We realize that the rapidly evolving world of indoor air quality aids can be a confusing place.
There are so many types of purification and filtration devices, appliances to add back humidity and to extract humidity, ventilation aids to push air in and out of a space, and filters, filters, filters galore.
What really works? What do you actually need? What is the bottom line when it comes to cleaning up your indoor air quickly and completely?
There are just three components to improving indoor air quality in any size space. Those three components are source control, ventilation and elimination.
The term “source control” refers to what is permitted inside your space in the first place. For example, if somebody you live or work with smokes or vapes, this means that from now on, they need to do that outdoors.
Things get slightly more complicated if you have a furry pet that tends to shed. You can’t simply banish your loved one to the outdoors, especially in winter! But you can take steps to drastically limit the fur and dander that ends up covering pretty much everything.
When it comes to using so-called air fresheners, the best approach is to stop using them. You can substitute natural essential oils, boiling cinnamon and cloves on the stove, houseplants and natural citrus, all of which keep your indoor air smelling sweet without introducing any chemicals at all.
Switching from pre-made cleaners to all-natural cleaning supplies like baking soda, lemon juice and white vinegar further removes toxic chemicals from your indoor air.
While source control can drastically reduce the sheer volume as well as variety of airborne toxins coming into your home or workplace, it isn’t able to do a thing about sending the toxins already trapped inside back outside again.
For this, you first need a professional indoor duct cleaning service to remove all trapped toxins from your ductwork system. Once that is done, you need ventilation to ensure a steady supply of fresh air.
For ventilation, we recommend the heat recovery ventilator – an appliance so useful it is now mandatory in all new Toronto-area construction.
HRVs, as they are known, can work with your existing central (ducted) HVAC system. They “breathe” for your home, sending out stale, toxic air and drawing in fresh, oxygenated air.
HRVs also help balance indoor air humidity, which is especially essential in winter, and conserve heat energy to lower your winter heat bills.
While ensuring a steady supply of incoming fresh air from outside gives you more oxygen, it doesn’t mean that fresh air is toxin-free.
Quite the opposite – the EPA is very clear that our indoor air is up to five times more toxic than our outside air, meaning our outdoor air today is plenty toxic all on its own.
Add to that the impossibility of eliminating every new toxin that you (or your pet) generate from inside your space and what you end up with is a problem that is still only partially solved.
What you need is the twin team of indoor air filtration and ultraviolet purification - both are needed because they perform two separate tasks.
A HEPA indoor air filtration system can trap solid particulate toxins as tiny as 1/100th of a single human hair. HEPA systems are the same air filters used in hospitals and research laboratories today.
In contrast, an ultraviolet air purification system can neutralize gaseous and liquid toxins, changing their molecular structure to render them harmless.
With the combined might of these indoor air quality appliances, you can do more than imagine a world where you, your kids and your workers breathe clean, healthy air - you can actually have it!
Get in Touch
Are you ready to upgrade your indoor air? We can help!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.
When your child wakes up sick, you know it is only a matter of time before you do too. Not only are you worried about your child’s health, but now you are feeling lousy on top of it.
On average, children do tend to get sick more frequently because their immune systems are still developing. Even ill, they continue sharing. What this amounts to is that the smaller, younger people in your household are a virus’s best friend.
But while you can expect a certain amount and regularity of illness in your child’s life, chronic coughs, respiratory infections, headaches, asthma or allergy attacks may be a sign of a more urgent problem—with your indoor air quality.
How can you know for sure what is causing your child’s repeated illness? Read on to find out!
How Bad Is the Indoor Air Pollution Problem?
Indoor air toxicity is on the rise throughout North America and it is outpacing outdoor air toxicity scores as well.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that our indoor air is up to five times more toxic than our outdoor air.
Recent data from the EPA also tells us that most children, like most adults, spend up to 90 percent of the average day indoors.
This basically means your child is spending the vast majority of their immune-building years dealing with an overtaxed immune system.
While you may not be able to exert as much control as you like over the quality of the indoor air at your children’s school, the one place where you can have total control is at home.
How to Know Indoor Air Quality May Be Making Your Child Sick
To get a sense of how much toxic indoor air may be influencing your child’s overall state of health, it helps to learn more about the most common symptoms of exposure to toxic air.
Eye, nose and throat irritation
Fluid buildup in the inner ear
Shortness of breath/wheezing
For expectant parents, the risks are potentially much higher.
With exposure to common indoor air toxins comes an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), low birth weights, slow growth rates, neurological abnormalities, lung abnormalities, developmental delays and cognitive impairments, including lower IQ.
What Is In Toxic Indoor Air?
The types of toxins your child breathes in can definitely correlate to the specific health symptoms they are experiencing.
But answering the specific question of which toxins your child may be breathing in can get quite complex very quickly. There are more than 4,000 known toxins present in just a puff of secondhand tobacco smoke!
These are the top seven major categories of airborne toxins your child is likely to encounter.
Secondhand tobacco smoke is one of the most common and damaging of all airborne toxins. Nitrogen oxide, or NO, is one of the best-known of the more than 4,000 known toxins contained in secondhand smoke.
Volatile organic compounds are found in many products today, from furniture and furnishings to home cleaners and crafts adhesives. Perhaps the best-known VOC is formaldehyde.
Common allergens include pet dander, pollen, mould and mildew, bacteria, viral germs, insects and dust mites.
4. Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide, CO, is called the “silent killer.” This by-product of incomplete combustion is odourless and colourless.
Radon is a naturally occurring byproduct of decaying uranium, a naturally occurring metal with radioactive properties.
Lead is a potent poison that can cause permanent damage even in small amounts.
Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are poisonous to people as well as insects.
How to Find Out Which Toxins Are in Your Indoor Air
Cleaning up your indoor air begins with figuring out what is toxifying your indoor air. For this, what you need is a simple, quiet, 72-hour professional indoor air quality test.
The test will take air samples from key areas throughout your home and collate the results by toxin and percentage. Tested areas including common living areas, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, garage, attic and the surrounding yard.
At the end of the test period you will receive a detailed full-color report as well as air quality cleanup recommendations.
Indoor Air Quality Cleanup ASAP
If you already know your indoor air is toxic (for example, because someone in your household smokes regularly), you may not need to do the full 72-hour indoor air quality test to know additional details.
In this case, you can skip ahead to the remedies. This is what we recommend doing, in this order, to permanently repair your indoor air quality.
1. Have your indoor air ducts professionally cleaned and sanitized
If your home has central HVAC, air duct cleaning is a must. Without removing the toxins trapped inside your air ducts, the rest of the remedies are at best a band-aid against the larger problem.
2. Install a HEPA air filtration system
HEPA is still used in hospitals and laboratories today, but now there are residential units as well. HEPA filtration systems filter out tiny toxins as small as 1/100th the width of a single human hair.
3. Add a U.V. air purification system
Ultraviolet light purification is the most powerful deterrent to airborne liquid and gaseous toxins.
4. Install a heat recovery ventilator
The heat recovery ventilator will keep your indoor humidity balanced, ensure constant ventilation and recycle heat to lower your energy bills.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.
Halloween is just around the corner now and everyone’s got spooky, scary things on the brain.
If you haven’t picked out your Halloween costume yet, we’ve got some unusual ideas for you!
How about going as a biological contaminant? Super-spooky, right?
Or perhaps you could dress up as Volatile Organic Compounds. (If you have a group of friends willing to do a themed costume with you, this is a particularly great choice!)
Another awesome idea: you could vie for the “scariest costume” prize by going as combustion by-products.
Whether or not you like to get in costume for All Hallows Eve, you can be sure these three terrifying toxins are out in force on Halloween night and every other night (and day) of the year - right inside your own home.
How can you get them out of your indoor air and keep them out? Read on to find out!
Meet the Super-Scary Three
Biological contaminants. Combustion by-products. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Just their names sound scary enough, don’t they?
But what exactly are they? And how do they get inside your home?
Unfortunately, the number one cause of escalating indoor air toxicity is usually the occupants of the home – you and your family. As you will notice, most of these toxins arise from use of certain products or appliances as well as some common lifestyle choices.
As their name suggests, biological contaminants are made up of organic matter. They come from people, pets, the great outdoors and, more often than not, the not-so-great indoors.
Common examples of biological contaminants include pet dander, pollen, dust mites, bacteria, viral germs, fungi like mould and mildew spores, insect and animal waste and more.
Combustion by-products are most commonly produced by people or appliances or both.
For example, if someone in your household smokes, the secondhand smoke they breathe out is loaded with combustion by-products including carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulphur dioxide.
In the same way, use of a gas or wood fireplace, gas or wood-burning stove, propane or natural gas-fired appliances and even nearby idling cars can easily introduce these toxins into your indoor air.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Like biological contaminants and combustion by-products, VOCs are also made from organic matter. But VOCs are in gaseous form.
VOC gases can be released by the use of fossil fuels, adhesives or glues, paints or solvents, components of home renovation, household cleaning supplies, air fresheners, pesticides, new home furnishings and furniture, and even use of office equipment.
Common examples of volatile organic compounds include formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, ethylene glycol, toluene, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene and similar hard-to-pronounce (and spell!) chemicals.
What Makes These 3 Toxins So Scary?
If you are like most of us, you are no stranger to living with all three of these spooky household and workplace toxins.
However, in the last minute or so, something significant has changed: now you know about it.
Now that you know what is in your indoor air, we will give you the high points of what these potent toxins can do to you and your family:
Damage your lung tissues.
Trigger asthma attacks.
Worsen seasonal allergies.
Cause heart inflammation and chest pain.
Increase your cancer risk.
Produce skin infections.
Weaken your immune system.
Kill you (do you have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home?).
How to Get All 3 Toxins OUT of Your House for Good
When you take these four steps, you can look forward to cleaner, safer indoor air now and into the future.
1. Clean, clean, clean
The first thing you need to do is keep your space as squeaky clean as you can. This includes regular chores like dusting, vacuuming (with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum), sweeping, etc.
If you use a portable humidifier, be sure to clean it every few days during use. Use your exhaust vents and bathroom fans to keep excess humidity from creating mould. And be sure to change your air filters monthly!
2. Clean some more
But you will also need to schedule time for deeper cleanings to remove all three categories of toxins from your home permanently.
A professional indoor air duct cleaning will safely pull all trapped toxins out of your air ducts and then sanitize against particulate remains.
A professional dryer vent cleaning will do the same for the deep recesses of your clothes dryer.
An annual preventative HVAC tune-up and safety inspection will catch any issues with the heating pilot or electrical connections as well as remove trapped particulates from the components.
3. Install a HEPA filtration system and UV purifier
HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters can trap solids as small as 1/100th of the width of a single human hair. There is no better way to remove solid toxins from your indoor air.
Ultraviolet air purifiers can neutralize a wide variety of toxic gases and liquids before they can cause you any harm. They work by using a synthetic band of light that is identical to the sun's ultraviolet light.
4. Install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV)
A heat recovery ventilator is one of your biggest allies in combatting indoor air toxicity. These appliances are also fantastic for lowering your winter heating bills and year-round energy costs.
Heat recovery ventilators balance your indoor air humidity to guard against mould and mildew. They recycle heat energy to lower your energy bills.
Most of all, they vent stale, toxic indoor air to the outside and draw in fresh, oxygenated air for you to breathe.
Get in Touch
Right now through October 31, 2019, save 10 percent on any air duct cleaning package and get a free U.V. light with the purchase of a Gold Package.
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.