Have you been feeling under the weather? Tired, low energy, headaches, stomach aches or chronically “stuffed up”? Whereas in the summer we spent plenty of time outside and kept our windows open, therefore benefitting from constant ventilation, come winter, gasses like radon and carbon monoxide accumulate, and contaminants like mould, off-gassing from carpets and paints, and of course bacteria and viruses are trapped circulating inside our homes.
Here are our top concerns, as well as some fantastic solutions:
Research out of the University of Calgary’s Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute is beginning to show that radon gas in many homes right here in Calgary poses a threat to residents. This is a frightening discovery that we have written about before.
This is a concern especially in new homes, due to the presence of fresh paint, new flooring, even new furniture. Off-gassing means that people in the home are inhaling chemicals which can be harmful over time.
We are all aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, but the dangers of exposure to small amounts of carbon monoxide over time are less well known. A carbon monoxide detector will sound an alarm once CO levels in the air reach 70 parts per million (ppm) — this is the level that can be fatal. However, levels as low as 5-7 ppm can start to cause symptoms.
One of our clients had been noticing symptoms for a long time and thought they were due to allergies. When our technician visited the home to check the furnace, he developed a headache soon after entering the house. The level of CO in the house was 30 ppm — less than half of what would set off a carbon monoxide detector. All it takes is a small crack in the heat exchanger on the furnace, a bird’s nest blocking the vent for the hot water tank, or poor combustion in the fireplace to begin leaking or accumulating small amounts of CO. Once this client had his furnace fixed, he found his life turned around because he felt so much better and had so much more energy.
Mold due to excess moisture anywhere in the home (helped along by the modern, well-sealed house) can cause allergic reactions as well as asthma attacks and leave you feeling generally unwell. Often mold is hidden within a wall or a basement ceiling.
A Heat Recovery Ventilator unit, or HRV, works by pulling in fresh air from outside and pushing out stale air from inside the home. It warms the outside air as it comes in, preventing the condensation that causes mold, and also clears mold spores from the air. An HRV is also the best way to prevent health effects from off-gassing, because it is always bringing fresh air into the home and venting any harmful odors or gasses.
A CinQuartz filter uses HEPA and UV lights to filter and sterilize the air, making it a perfect option for people with allergies or asthma, auto-immune diseases or environmental hypersensitivity. The CinQuartz filter leaves you with mountain-fresh air free of contaminants.
Ultraviolet (UV) bulbs are great for killing bacteria on your air conditioner coil, keeping that bacteria from circulating around the home. They are also very helpful to kill viruses and bacteria that are circulated through the furnace ducts.
Thank you to our Journeyman Plumbers Shaun K. and Jason M. for providing the insight and expertise for this post!
Shaun is an expert in boiler and furnace installations. He takes his installs to a higher level and is committed to providing real solutions for his customers’ needs and concerns.
Jason was trained in the U.K. He displays a great knowledge of heating and indoor air quality products and how to best integrate that into residential use to improve customers’ overall satisfaction with their home environment.