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Advice from the Professionals
May 2016

Tips to Enjoy Cooler, Cleaner Air This Summer

cooler, cleaner, indoor air

When you walk into a space where the air is “off,” you’ll notice. Perhaps it is a musty smell you are detecting. Or maybe the scent is chemical. It could even be that the air freshener odor is overpowering—so much so that things are not actually fresh and you can't tell what the actual air in the room might smell like.

There are myriad reasons why the air in any indoor space may not be nice to breathe. But what all of these reasons have in common is this: they are toxic.

When you breathe in air that smells mouldy, musty, sharp, harsh, or artificially scented in some way, you are breathing in chemicals… and probably chemicals used to cover up some underlying issue with the air conditioning or heating unit.

Happily, this post will offer you some tips to ensure your own indoor air at work and at home won't smell like anything other than simply fresh, clean air.

Change Those Filters!

When you are using your HVAC unit a great deal, the best practice is to change the air filter at least every 30 days.

After all, your air filter is perhaps the least expensive component in your overall HVAC system and yet it also has the hardest job—keeping those tiny particulate toxins out of the indoor air you you’re breathing.

When you change your air filter, several things occur simultaneously:

  • Your HVAC system works less hard (and uses up less energy) to push out the recirculated air into your home or office space.

  • Your indoor air becomes cleaner since no clogged debris or toxins can get pushed out through your vents along with the air supply.

  • You will spend less on maintenance and repairs for more expensive components.

Schedule Your HVAC Unit’s Annual Checkup

Most people go to the doctor to get an annual checkup. This checkup is called "wellness" or "preventative" care for a reason.

During your annual exam, your doctor will take your vitals, check your blood, examine your body, and ensure there are no issues brewing. By spending a little time on an annual checkup, you can avoid much more costly treatments later.

In the same way, it makes good sense regarding both time and money to schedule your HVAC unit for an annual checkup. Here, too, the nature of the exam is preventative—to keep your HVAC unit well and healthy all year long.

Here is a list of things your HVAC "physician" (technician) should do:

  • Clean the surface exterior and interior of the HVAC unit to ensure it is free from dirt and debris.

  • Tighten and test all connections and moving parts.

  • Apply lubricant to moving parts as needed.

  • Add fluids or refrigerant as needed.

  • Do a thermostat test to verify temperature accuracy.

  • Clean out the condensate drain and the evaporator/condensate coils.

  • Check start, stop, and operation modes for safety and efficiency.

  • Clean out the blower and adjust settings if necessary.

  • Check furnace and energy source components for safety and operation.

Your technician should also offer any tips specific to your type of HVAC unit for improving operation and energy efficiency. And if you don't already have one, your technician may recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector inside your home or workspace. (It is illegal in Ontario not to have one.)

From reading this list, it is easy to see how scheduling an annual checkup for your HVAC unit will stave off much more costly repairs down the road!

Review Your Own Indoor Air Quality

So now you have changed your air filters and your HVAC unit has gotten its annual "wellness checkup" out of the way.

The next step is to review your indoor air quality. You can do this by scheduling an indoor air quality checkup.

This checkup will alert you about any toxins that have invaded your indoor air supply. Once you have identified the toxins, you need to pinpoint their source.

Some toxins, like carbon monoxide, can only be detected with an alarm system. But many other toxins come from products we use.

To find most of these toxins, just open your cabinets or look at your clothing and shoes.

  • Commercial cleaners. Many of these have harsh, toxic, and unpronounceable chemical ingredients. You can do the same industrial-strength job with natural alternatives like baking soda, lemon juice, white vinegar, and plain water—and these won't pollute your indoor air!

  • Pollen, dust, and dust mites. You bring pollen and dust in on your clothes and shoes. Dust mites happily breed in cushions, mattresses, and pillows. Having your mattresses and dryer vents professionally cleaned will greatly reduce the presence of these allergens.

  • Tobacco. Tobacco and tobacco products are some of the harshest carcinogens in most people's indoor air supply. Take it outside, away from your living or work space.

  • Air fresheners. If you are using anything other than pure teas or citrus juice or essential oils, there is a good chance your scent is really a concoction of dangerous chemicals.

  • Mould and mildew. High humidity levels can cause a rise in the levels of mould and mildew, which can cause lung and respiratory issues.

  • Pet dander. Pets can not only bring in pollen and dust/dirt in their fur, but they often then like to spread it across your bed when they cuddle with you before sleep (which solves the mystery of why so many people wake up coughing in the middle of the night).

Contact Campeau Heating Today

Campeau Heating has been serving the Sudbury and surrounding areas for more than 64 years. To schedule a service, contact us at 705-560-2441 or online.

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8 Ways to Make Sure Your HVAC Unit Keeps Your Indoor Air Clean

eight ways hvac air quality

When was the last time you walked inside your home, took a deep breath, and immediately began worrying if the air in your home was toxic?

If you are like most homeowners today, you probably answered, "Never." Air quality is something we read about in our daily online news digests or perhaps ponder on Ozone Action Day. For most people, thinking about indoor air quality on a daily basis just isn't something that gets done.

But what if you learned that, on average, the indoor air most of us breathe is up to 5 times more toxic than the air right outside the front door? Yikes! Unfortunately, this is a true statement, and it is getting truer every day in cities all around the world.

Happily, there is one appliance that can stand between you and airborne toxins that attempt to enter your home. It is your HVAC unit—your air conditioning and heating system. In this post, learn 8 key ways to make sure your HVAC unit can do its job to keep your indoor air clean and pure.

Tip #1: Change your air filters regularly

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average adult breathes in around 3,000 gallons of air each day—and children breathe in even more than that. If the air is full of toxins, the damage can be mild and temporary at first, but over time it can become severe and permanent.

Your HVAC unit's first-pass defence against airborne toxins is also one of its simplest and least expensive components: the air filter. Simply by changing your air filter each month, you keep dangerous toxins out of your indoor air.

You may also want to consider using portable or central HEPA-certified filters, which filter out 99.97 percent of airborne particulates sized 0.3 µm or larger. As well, having your air duct system professionally cleaned will remove stashed dust and toxins so they are gone from your indoor air supply forever.

Tip #2: Get an air quality inspection

Canada's Healthy Living website recommends that every homeowner get an indoor air quality inspection. In particular, this recommendation includes testing for radon and carbon monoxide, two of the deadliest airborne toxins.

Testing your indoor air quality gives you actionable information to work from to clean up and purify the indoor air you and your family are breathing.

Tip #3: Install a carbon monoxide alarm

Many airborne toxins can't help but announce their presence through unpleasant odors. But carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and deadly. The only way to know if your air is polluted with carbon monoxide is to install a monitoring alarm that will go off to alert you.

CBC News calls carbon monoxide the "silent killer" for this very reason. If you don't have an alarm installed in your home already, it is worth a phone call today to get this taken care of. It is also your legal obligation to do so. Not having a CO2 detector in Ontario can result in a fine of up to $50,000.

Tip #4: Improve the ventilation in your home

Ventilation is all about air circulation. A similar analogy is the difference between a pond and a river. A pond has no new water coming in, so over time the water can get stagnant and filled with algae and bacteria. A river, on the other hand, is constantly flowing with fresh, new water, so the water stays pure and clear.

By improving the ventilation in your home, you achieve the same for your indoor air quality. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Open windows and doors when it is nice weather.

  • Ventilate well while doing crafts or home improvement projects.

  • Use ceiling or floor fans to keep air moving.

  • Keep an open perimeter around the edges of each room to let the air flow freely.

Tip #5: Control the levels of humidity inside

On average, your indoor air should include between 30 and 50 percent humidity. With too little humidity, you may experience nosebleeds, allergy symptoms, and other discomforts from air that is too dry. With too much humidity, you run the risk of encouraging mould and mildew to grow inside your home, each of which can cause their own particular health issues (as well as pricey cleanup services).

By using humidifiers and dehumidifiers appropriately as the seasons dictate, you can ensure your indoor air humidity levels stay healthy and balanced. An HVAC system inspection and maintenance tune-up can also ensure your HVAC unit can do its best work to keep your indoor air humidity levels healthy and balanced.

Tip #6: Use safe, non-toxic cleaning products

By opting for safe, non-toxic cleaning alternatives such as white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and plain water, you free your indoor air from powerful toxins present in harsh commercial cleaning products.

Tip #7: Don't smoke indoors or use commercial air fresheners

Smoke is one of the number one toxins present in indoor air today. People who don't smoke inside the home still bring in second-hand smoke carcinogens on their clothing and in their hair.

As well, many cleaning products that smell great are actually made up of potent and toxic chemical cocktails with long unpronounceable names. These chemicals are now known to cause cancer, lung disease, and asthma attacks, among other undesirable side effects.

Tip #8: Clean your mattresses and dryer vents

Finally, dust mites, dust, pollen, and pet dander and hair concentrate in particularly high levels in mattresses and dryer vents. In this way, they get removed and then re-added during weekly wash and use cycles. If you've ever wondered why your allergies seem to get worse at night, this is why!

Having your mattresses and dryer vents professionally cleaned is a great way to remove the toxins at the source.
Contact Campeau Heating at 705-560-2441 or online to find out how we can help you clean and purify your indoor air.

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Tips & Advice on Saving Money

Looking for new and proactive ways to save money? Campeau Heating wants to make sure you are exposed to the right resources that everyone should take note of. Please click here to learn more. If your looking specifically for ways to save money on a new gas barbecue grill this summer please click here.

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