Read-up on our efforts to keep your home healthy and clean!
Makers of Cool
During the summer season Comfort Clean receives a lot of calls regarding poor performance of air conditioning units. The AC's seem to be working, yet they fail to cool.
Why does it happen that a relatively new AC system does not bring the temperature in a house to the desired levels? The problem typically lies in the AC Coil subunit, which is located in the top part of your air conditioning system, due to its blockage by dirt.
This problem typically results from use of poor quality of air filters, their infrequent exchange (they must be exchanged every three months), as well as by dirty air ducts (which must be cleaned out every three years). All of this leads to blockage of AC Coil subunit by dust and results in poor airflow. In some extreme cases, this may even lead to formation of ice in the bottom part of this subunit.
At Comfort Clean, a company with over 30 years of experience in working with professional-level equipment, we have developed a set of tips and tricks for our clients to ensure that your AC is working at maximum capacity.
1. Clean your air ducts every 3 years, especially if you are moving to a brand new house or after renovations. Remember that unlike in the state of New York, duct cleaning is not mandatory by law in Ontario. In New York, failure to clean air ducts after construction may lead to large fines or loss of a building licence. Unfortunately, the legislature in Ontario leaves this critical procedure to the discretion of the builders of your house, who often do not hold your personal health in high priority. Also remember, that when you are choosing a company for duct cleaning, make sure to hire only people with professional equipment, such as 20-bag truck-mounted setup. Less than 10% of air duct cleaning companies have the proper type of equipment.
2. Change air filters in your AC system on a regular basis: every 3 months for most homes, or every 2 months if you have pets.
3. Make sure to clean the vents of your laundry drier, to remove any built-up of lint.
4. Make sure to test the operating state of your humidifier, and exchange its filters annually. Make sure to switch between summer and winter modes.
Remember, that lack of proper care for your Air Conditioning system will lead to your own temperature discomfort!
Right now, Comfort clean is offering a SPECIAL: Free cleaning and disinfection of the AC Coil system.
How to prevent asthma from entering your homes
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, asthma is a worldwide problem. Up to 20% of people in the industrialized countries suffer from this malady, and this number just keeps growing. Development of new asthma treatments can’t keep up with the rates of this pandemic. Old fashioned aerosol inhalers are still the only hope of an asthmatic. An alternative, of course, is not to let the disease to enter your home in the first place. Like with any other health related problem, prevention is the most efficient strategy. It is vital that it you who takes control over the wellbeing of your family.
How does asthma enter your home? Why do perfectly healthy people suddenly and unexpectedly develop severe cough and shortness of breath?
To answer these questions, let’s first look at how human respiration works. Our lungs are made up of hundreds of thousands of air passageways, called the bronchi. It is through these pathways that lungs are capable of bringing sufficient quantity of oxygen into the blood. Bronchi can vary in size, but all of them are lined with microscopic hairs called cilia. Cilia keep the lungs clean of dust and microbes by pushing all of this “garbage” out. At times when the surrounding air is dirtier than usual, the cilia can become overburdened, and may not be able to do their job completely. Mother Nature, however, took this into account as well. When the workload on the cilia is too great, our bodies constrict the bronchi, reducing the amount of incoming air, and activate the cough reflex. In normal conditions, this response is sufficient to clean the lungs out and help cilia catch up with their cleaning job.
For thousands of years these natural responses were sufficient to keep humans healthy. But with the advent of modern technology came a serious challenge - severe air pollution. Industrial plants fill our environment with various toxic substances, including carbon oxides, metal particles and products of oil combustion. Many of our houses are made of “economic” materials, which are often strong allergens. At the same time, the design of a well functioning ventilation system is rarely a priority for a house builder. These “dust collector” passageways increase the problem by concentrating pollutants from the outside within your home.
Think of the following scenario. Every summer you turn your air conditioner on, allowing for condensate to form on the cooled metal surfaces of your air ducts. Pools of condensate water create perfect breeding conditions for various microorganisms. It has been shown that it only takes 72 hours for spores of mould to appear in such conditions. As soon as you turn your air conditioning off, your air duct becomes an incubator for mould colonies.
Unfortunately, mould is not the only thing that occupies your ventilation passageways. You will be surprised by the things we have pulled out of air ducts in some houses. In one such example, we have removed close to 30 plastic coffee cups from a single vent system. It turned out that the construction crew frequented a nearby coffee house, but never took the time to take their garbage out with them.
Another shocking thing that we commonly find in ventilation ducts is glass fiber. Normally used for insulation within walls and other isolated places, working with glass fiber requires special protective equipment, such as hazard-suits and respirators. The tiny bits of glass that it is made up off can puncture, shred and seriously damage you your lung’s passageways. It seems that some homeowners do not realize that this material is not suitable for insulation of airways.
Sick buildings make Sick residents
"Sick building syndrome" is a term that has been around for more than a decade. It first appeared when people realized that residents of certain buildings can share similar health issues. The symptoms typically include various respiration issues, pain in the joints, and overall weakened immune system. Obviously, this is not due to any coincidence. The reason, lies in the shared environment, or the "climate" of the building. It is a well known fact that air within buildings can be up to 10 times more polluted than the air in the surrounding environment.
How do you avoid "the syndrome"? While it is impossible to completely avoid exposure to allergens, it is not too difficult to ensure that your house does not provide allergens with perfect breeding conditions. Here are some recommendations to keep your house healthy.
1. Keep your air ducts clean. Have them emptied out and disinfected by proper truck-mounted equipment at least once every three years.
2. Change your air filters. Remember, these need to be replaced every two months. Also make sure that you get proper filters, approved by an appropriate authority, such as the Lung Association. Our recommendation - filters from 3M Canada.
3. Make sure that your humidifier is working properly. Ensure that you set it to a season-appropriate mode. Close the humidifier flap in the summer, and open it in the winter.
4. Make sure that your clothes drier is clean and not full of accumulating lint.
5. Check your kitchen vents and chimneys. Birds often build their nests in such places, filling your house with microbes and viruses. In such cases allergy and tularemia can have very serious consequences.
6. Clean your fabrics and furniture. Your carpets and sofas need to be thoroughly cleaned every year. Also make sure not to place any of your house plants on to the carpet. The humidity from the plant will make your carpet very welcoming to mould.
7. Never buy used couches and mattresses. Your health is more expensive than the small savings you make when buying these "germ factories".
8. For the summer season, invest into a dehumidifier. You will be surprised how much damaging moisture it can save you from.
These suggestions might be simple, but following them will have a significant effect on your health. Reduction in the risk of asthma and allergies for your family will be dramatic.
Unfortunately, the future paints a dreadful picture. Some specialists predict that within the next ten years, up to 50% of world's population will suffer from allergies. These odds are not worth gambling with. Air pollution is a mighty foe, that cannot be underestimated. But don't despair! One important factor that these predictions don't take into account, is that we, the Comfort Clean team, are here to help you win the battle! For more than 30 years, we have been your secret weapon in the war with asthma, allergies and illness. Together, vent by vent, carpet by carpet, we will reclaim our health back!
Canada - an asthmatic Chernobyl
How to protect yourself against asthma.
Asthma is considered to be one of the World’s largest health problems. Official data suggests that from 16 to 20% of all Canadian and U.S. citizens suffer from this malady. What is more alarming, is that these numbers increase with every passing year. Asthma has issued us a challenge!
Unfortunately, medical treatments for asthma have not seen much progress in the recent years. Doctors still prescribe inhalators and pills as a way to manage an existing condition. However, most medical specialists still agree that prevention is the most efficient strategy to avoid asthma. While our health care system does not heavily involve itself with disease prevention, the responcibility of keeping your family safe from allergies lies in your own hands. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves”. But do not despair if you are unsure how to tackle this difficult issue. Let us help! My 30-plus years of experience in the fields of Duct and Carpet cleaning, in addition to the medical training that I have received while working as a doctor in the Soviet Union, give me special insight into this issue. Let me share my knowledge with you, by summarizing the most efficient ways of preventing asthma!
First and foremost, trust your own nose!
If, while in your basement, you notice smells of rotting or mould, it’s time to be concerned! Mold can be extremely hazardous. Even healthy people can start developing severe allergic symptoms in the presence of moulds, including coughing, difficulty breathing, and nausea.
Follow these steps to identify the source of the smell:
1. Check your drainage pipes for clogging. 2. Check for contamination in your humidifier. Make sure to close it up during the summer, when it is not being used. 3. Check to make sure that it's condensation tube is directed into a drain. 4. Check to make sure that your rugs and carpets are dry. If you notice that they are damp, they need to be dried immediately, by an IICRC Institute approved specialist. Make sure that a truck-mounted system is used to dry your carpets, as only such a system can provide sufficient drying power. 5. Open your windows, and air out all your rooms. 6. We recommend that you only use commercial low pile carpets in the basement, as they do not attract humidity. 7. During summer seasons, make sure to use a dehumidifier. It is a must-have product for every basement. 8. Check your drywall for any signs of dampness. Make sure you do not let your builder’s company to finish off the coating on the drywall, before it is completely dry.
Carpets, carpets all around!
Carpeting is one of the great American inventions of the 20th century. Convenient, comfortable, inexpensive. Most importantly, carpets are also great heat and sound insulators. Unfortunately, in some cases they may also serve as a home to various pests. Microscopic dust mites and tiny silverfish worms are just at the top of the list. Carpets contaminated with nutritious protein from dropped food, in such establishments as restaurants and sports clubs, create perfect breeding grounds for these disease carriers. Canadian and American Lung Associations recommend that carpets in restaurants are cleaned on a monthly basis, while household carpets should be cleaned at least once per year. Most importantly, to guarantee the best results and avoid damage, it is recommended that your carpets are cleaned only by professionals. Proper pressures and thermal treatment of your carpet is possible only with truck-mounted equipment. The choice of a correct disinfectant solution is also very important. Only after such a cleaning would you be able to breathe and sleep easy.Lastly, make sure not to purchase cheap, foreign-made wool carpets from department stores. On the reverse side of such carpets you should notice glued seams. Such heavy industrial glue is a potent allergen by itself.
Join us in our battle for cleaner air!
Here is a real-life example that I have recently encountered. A young family from Russia, who recently immigrated to Canada, settled into an old house in Rosedale neighborhood. Their 14-year old son was a perfectly healthy rising hockey star. Yet, upon moving into the house, he quite literally started to suffocate. The doctors prescribed the usual inhalators, which subdued the symptoms, but only for a short while. After some time and further consideration, the doctor finally recommended to clean out all of the potential sources of the allergens in the house: the air ducts, carpets and curtains. When we arrived at the house, the first thing we did is open up the ventilation filter. We could hardly believe our eyes! The entire ventilation system was filled with dog hair and the filter has not been changed for decades. Before proceeding any further, our technicians had to equip themselves with protective masks! It turned out that previous owners of the house were an elderly couple who owned a long-coated dog. Using our powerful truck-mounted equipment, we hauled out all of the junk from the ventilation system, cleaned and disinfected the now cross-contaminated carpets and ducts. Three days later, we have learned that the boys asthmatic symptoms have disappeared completely! The recovery was so quick and certain that it resembled a miracle!
Don’t let your house be an inspiration for a similar modern-day horror story! Change the filters of your ventilation systems on a regular basis! It is recommended that ventilation filters are changed every four month, while humidifier filters should be changed every autumn.
Here at Comfort Clean, we recommend filters from “3M Canada”. This filter has served us well over the years, and it is the only brand of filters that is recommended by Canadian Lung Association. The cost of these filters may range from $20 to $25, depending on the size. While electronic filters may provide a similar level of protection, they are more expensive, and require maintenance, and some technical savvy. Furthermore, don’t forget that your cars have air filters as well, which require regular exchange. Lastly, don’t be tempted to buy cheap used-furniture store sofas. Avoid them even if you are getting them for free. In most cases, they are teeming with allergens, and the damage to your health might end up more costly.
To summarise, a clean environment is the best way to prevent many respiratory illnesses. I hope that my suggestions will be helpful to you. Even if asthmatic symptoms of a single person are alleviated by my suggestions, I’ll consider my mission complete.
"Firstly, I was surprised to see a huge truck arriving at my home. Two years ago my house was cleaned by another company, and they came with a portable machine. They did not cut out any holes in the main duct, which I now realize is most important part of the cleaning. They just vacuumed the vents. I am so happy that I cleaned my duct with Comfort Duct Cleaning Company. Those guys really know their business."