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Is Your Indoor Air Humid Enough to Fight COVID?
Before the worldwide pandemic hit, humidity was often viewed as the enemy of indoor air quality, safety and purity.
After all, mould and mildew spores like nothing better than a nice spot of humidity to grow in. And we all know what mould and mildew can do to a home or workplace.
Pre-COVID, the recommendation was to keep year-round indoor air humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent. But now all that has changed.
Why? The virus that causes COVID-19 doesn't like humidity. This could, potentially, make humidity our new best friend.
Are you concerned about your indoor air quality? At CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, clean indoor air is what we do!
Learn what experts are saying about the direct link between increased indoor air humidity and reduced risk of COVID-19 transmission. Also learn how to make sure your air has enough humidity to keep you safe.
To Fight COVID-19 You Need Hydrated Air
With COVID-19 still very much with us, researchers state it is no longer enough to keep our bodies well hydrated.
Now we need to hydrate the air we are breathing as well.
The link between hydrated or humid air and reduced risk of disease or infection is not a new discovery.
But it hadn't ever made international news headlines until the new novel coronavirus came along.
This is exactly why researchers are no longer recommending that homeowners and business owners aim for 30 to 50 percent humidity year-round.
Today, the recommendation is to keep the relative humidity in your indoor air between 40 and 60 percent at all times.
What Does Humidity Do to COVID-19 Droplets?
Put simply, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 does not like humidity.
The more humidity that is present in the air, the faster the infectious particles will decay, or become unable to cause COVID-19.
One very recent scientific study identified the following differences in decay rate at different levels of humidity:
- At 40 percent humidity, at least half of airborne infectious droplets could remain active for 24 hours or longer.
- At 65 percent humidity, at least half of airborne infectious droplets became non-infectious after just an hour and a half!
Why Is Humidity So Vital During Winter?
In the study we just mentioned, the researchers also identified a link between COVID-19 viability and air temperature.
The reason this link exists is largely because colder air is also drier air. This is also why winter is traditionally nicknamed "cold and flu" season.
When the air dries out, so do our bodies. As our bodies are depleted of moisture, we struggle to make the mucous that our immune system uses to trap toxins like viral and bacterial matter as we breathe them in.
When the relative humidity in the air increases, our bodies are able to make more mucus again. This is true regardless of what temperature the surrounding air happens to be.
Normally, we are just fighting off cold and flu during the long, cold winter season here in Canada. But this winter, we are fighting off coronavirus too.
So, maintaining elevated indoor air humidity is more important this year than it ever has been before. Do you know how to test air quality in your home? Keep reading for tips and tricks from our clean air specialists at CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton.
How Can You Measure Indoor Air Humidity?
It just makes sense that you can't adjust your indoor air humidity levels until you first establish what they are.
What is the best way to measure humidity inside your space?
This is easy - all you need is a simple, inexpensive gadget called a hygrometer. You can find hygrometers online and at most major home supply stores and pet stores.
Hygrometers are particularly useful for measuring how humidity changes in different parts of your home or workplace. For example, basements tend to be naturally higher in humidity than the rest of a home.
So you can use a hygrometer to get a good sense of where there is the greatest need to add humidity for your safety.
How Much Indoor Air Humidity Is Too Much?
In today's fast-paced, get-it-done-yesterday culture, we have become socialized to believe more is better.
This is definitely not the case with humidity, however!
Too much humidity can cause problems as well.
The study we referenced earlier compared relative humidity levels of 40 percent and 65 percent.
However, at 65 percent humidity, you may find that you are uncomfortable inside your home or workplace. The risk of mites, mould and mildew increases. Belongings and furnishings constructed with organic fibres may develop rot.
High humidity levels can also increase volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassing, leading to respiratory and other health symptoms.
This is why health officials are not recommending increasing your indoor air relative humidity levels to more than 60 percent.
How to Boost Your Home or Workplace Humidity Levels
If you have ever had a child who suffers from seasonal allergies or asthma, you may have placed a small humidifier in their bedroom to ease breathing difficulties, inflammation and discomfort.
In the same way, if you need to increase the amount of relative humidity in your indoor air, the best way to do this is to add a portable or whole-home humidifier system.
Portable humidifiers are the best choice for non-ducted spaces.
If you have a ducted HVAC system, your best choice is a whole-home humidification system. These systems integrate with your existing HVAC to evenly distribute humidity throughout your space.
Right Now Take $50 Off Any Whole Home Humidifier Installation
Contact our clean indoor air experts today for a free estimate on the whole-home humidifier of your choice. At CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, we supply whole-home humidity control as an air purifier technique
Take $50 off the cost of installation. And take a whole year to decide. Don't like it - we will refund your purchase price!
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario Is Your Indoor Air Quality Expert
Addressing overly dry indoor air doesn't have to be complicated. Our friendly, experienced indoor air quality experts make the process simple! Ask us about safe, contactless estimates and service calls.
Get Your Ducts in a Row to Stay Safe and Healthy This Spring
It has almost been a whole year since COVID-19 began.
Most of us have spent more time staring at our own four walls this year than at any other time in our lives. When will it end?
We truly have no idea.
If you have been putting off addressing your home indoor air quality concerns, now is the time to start that conversation. Research has delivered data linking air quality to severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
While you may feel like there is nothing you can do to completely prevent exposure to COVID-19, there is a lot you can do to potentially minimize how sick you get if exposure occurs.
Read on to learn why now is the time to get your ducts in a row to make this spring a safe and healthy time for you and your family. At CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, we provide you with the indoor air quality tips you need to help you stay healthy this year!
Why Dirty Air Ducts Equal Dirty Lungs
How does duct cleaning work? Air ducts are essentially the "lungs" of your entire indoor air system.
If your air duct system is clogged with dirt, dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mildew, mould, dead insects and insect waste, dirty socks, old comic books (believe us, we've seen it all!)....it is no wonder your home (and its occupants) may be struggling to "breathe" easily.
Many of our customers think that if their HVAC air filter is clean, their ducts must be clean too.
Unfortunately, this is seldom the case, especially if your home has had one or more owners prior to you. The only way to know for sure what is going on up in your ducts is to actually take a look and see for yourself!
Is Your Home Harbouring a 'Ductopus'?
Speaking of prior owners, if you happen to own an older home, you may well be harboring that relic of prehistoric HVAC times - the 'ductopus'.
Modern air duct systems are clean and streamlined. It is easy to tell where each duct leads and to troubleshoot any airflow issues.
In contrast, the 'ductopus' truly is like the octopus of the HVAC world.
With a design that reminds you of nothing more than two octopuses locked in undersea combat, it isn't hard to figure out why you have been paying so much for your furnace bills lately.
Sagging, leaking, mis-routed air ducts in unconditioned spaces can serve up a surprisingly hefty helping of airborne toxins along with escalating power bills and inefficient air routing.
The 'ductopus' was a health hazard even before COVID-19. In today's pandemic world, a ductopus is a bonafide health peril.
How to fix this ductwork issue? Simple - it’s time to get your ducts in a row!
What to Expect During An Indoor Air Duct Cleaning
The reason more people don't understand the importance of professional air duct cleaning is simple: it is very hard to see inside your air ducts!
But imagine if you left home for a decade. You didn't hire a cleaning service to come in regularly during your absence. After 10 years passed, you decided to come back home.
What do you think your counters and floors and tables and shelves would look like when you got back?
If you are imagining dust bunnies and thick clouds of dust layering everything inside your home, you now have a fairly accurate picture of what your ducts probably look like on the inside.
If you could see inside your air ducts, you would probably be in there dusting and cleaning them out every week. But you can't.
However, our duct cleaning experts in Hamilton can. The first thing our professional air duct cleaning technicians do when they arrive is to thread a tiny camera up into your air ducts to show you what they look like inside. You can then make the final decision whether to proceed.
Not surprisingly, we rarely have a customer decline at this point.
The whole process typically takes less than a half-day. We use a powerful commercial-grade Rotobrush system equipped with negative pressure vacuum technology.
This ultra-efficient system safely removes all dust, dirt and contaminants without releasing any toxins into your indoor air.
Depending on which air duct cleaning package you select, we follow up this basic duct cleaning with either a sanitizing or deodorizing process or both.
Our air duct cleaning team in Hamilton have gotten used to hearing surprised and happy customers exclaim that they can literally smell the difference in their indoor air after having the air ducts professionally cleaned!
How Often Should You Schedule Air Duct Cleaning?
A number of different factors can influence how dirty your indoor air ducts get and how quickly that occurs.
Most of our CleanAir Solutions customers are having their air ducts cleaned for the first time ever.
One of the best safeguards you can implement to make the results of your indoor air duct cleaning service last longer is to change your air filter monthly.
Making sure your ducts are sealed and leak-free will also reduce dust build-up inside your ducts.
For duct systems that meet these two conditions, we recommend scheduling a professional air duct cleaning every five years.
Enjoy Big Savings on Indoor Air Quality - On Us!
2021 is definitely the year to make your indoor air quality a top priority. Which is why we are kicking off the start of spring with a special offer to help you stay healthier.
Right now and through April 31, 2021, take 10 percent off the price of any of our popular indoor air duct cleaning packages. Also save $50 on all whole-home humidifier installations.
Click here to claim these valuable offers before they are all gone!
Contact CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario for All Your Indoor Air Quality Needs
Our friendly, knowledgeable and experienced indoor air quality experts can help you address all your air quality concerns quickly and affordably. Be sure to request our safe contactless estimate, service, invoicing and payment options.
Emergency Indoor Air Quality Tips for Winter Power Outages
Even here in Ontario Canada, we are still far too dependent on electricity to supply our winter power needs.
But where power outages in summer bring one set of challenges, surviving a winter power outage during the cold season is an advanced challenge - even for experienced Canadian snowbirds!
This is especially true in this pandemic year when our options for congregating together in public shelters and pooling our resources with friends and neighbours are much more limited.
It is imperative to consider how best to stay safe, healthy and warm inside your own home space as this unprecedented winter weather continues.
Keep reading for more information on the dangers of power outages in Ontario, Canada from our experienced CleanAir Solutions technicians in Hamilton.
4 Special Indoor Air Quality Concerns During Ontario Winter Power Outages
If you have ever once survived a power outage during one of Canada's notorious winter storms, you are not likely to forget it.
However, what you may not have been so conscious of in past years is the sudden sharp decline in indoor air quality that often accompanies a winter power loss.
This toxicity of our indoor air is directly linked to the types of emergency backup power sources we use to stay warm and fed during a power outage.
These are the most concerning indoor air quality toxins you are likely to generate by using these backup power sources:
1. Carbon monoxide (CO).
Carbon monoxide (CO), aka the silent killer, is that odourless, colourless gas that kills hundreds of people each year - most often during the winter months.
Along with idling car engines and malfunctioning furnace pilot lights, backup generators are famous for CO emissions, which take only minutes to kill.
2. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Volatile organic compounds could as easily be called the "toxic cocktail" of gases that can be found in everything from paints and thinners to new carpeting and vehicle interiors.
They are also present wherever butane or gas is being burned, which makes VOCs a frequent hazard during power outages.
3. Smoke, ash and micro-particulates.
There is no doubt sitting around a crackling fire is an instant mood-lifter...for everyone but your lungs.
These are the same smoke, ash and micro-particulate toxins that have been implicated again and again in secondhand smoke-related lung cancer in non-smokers.
The one and only toxin that can go toe-to-toe with secondhand smoke in triggering new cases of lung cancer in non-smokers is radon gas.
Radon is a year-round natural hazard in many areas throughout Canada.
It tends to build up inside homes in the winter, when we keep our windows shut and the ground is too frozen to allow as much radon to release naturally to the outside air.
You Toxic Indoor Air This Winter
Why mention CO poisoning now?
Because the symptoms of CO poisoning are scarily similar to the symptoms of flu.
You may initially think that your dizziness, nausea, headache, body aches, burning eyes and mental fogginess are warning signs of a winter cold or the flu.
You won't have time to discover you are wrong if it is really carbon monoxide causing your symptoms.
Your number one and ONLY guaranteed defence against carbon monoxide fatality is to install a battery powered (NOT electric) carbon monoxide detector and be sure to maintain it properly.
You simply cannot be too careful when it comes to this potentially life-saving indoor air quality monitor.
NOTE: It nearly goes without saying that you should also have working battery powered (NOT electric) smoke alarms and radon detection alarms installed. Be sure to test and service these systems faithfully at the same time you test and service your CO detector system.
What Not to Do to Generate Heat During a Winter Power Outage
Many of the other heat sources that generate the majority of indoor air quality concerns during winter power outages can be smelled in advance.
The trouble here is that most of these generate carbon monoxide along with VOCs, particulates and other airborne poisons.
Any combustion appliance is capable of causing health symptoms that range from mild to fatal.
For anyone who is living with compromised lung capacity due to COPD, COVID-19, lung cancer, bronchitis, asthma or even severe seasonal allergies, the health impact can be severe.
This is why you should never use any type of camping stove or camp heater indoors or even in enclosed outdoor spaces during a winter power outage.
Remember, if you are using any type of smoke, radon or CO detector that relies on electricity for power, these will become non-operational during a power outage. You will need to have backup detectors for these times.
Protect Yourself and Your Lungs This Winter With Air Quality Testing
The number one way to protect yourself and your lungs this winter begins with indoor air quality testing.
You need to know what is in your indoor air before you can take measures to remediate and clean the air inside your space.
In 72 hours, you can learn exactly which toxins are causing chronic health symptoms and impacting your immune system and put measures in place to counteract these.
Don't let a power outage take down your health along with your power supply. We can help you plan ahead to make sure your home is a safe place to shelter.
CleanAir Solutions in Hamilton, Ontario, Is Your Indoor Air Quality Expert
No Ontario Canada winter is ever completely predictable. This is especially true during this pandemic year.
Our highly trained air quality technicians can help you breathe safely while sheltering in place during a winter power outage.
P.S. When you call, be sure to ask about our Bundle Up and Save $100 offer!