Are Candles Bad For Indoor Air Quality?

Candles are great additions to the dinner table, bubble baths and lots of other events and rooms around the house. They provide soothing light that can add romance to the end or your workday or weekend, but have you ever considered how they affect the indoor air quality of your home?

Depending on the type, when candles are burned the release carcinogenic toxins (benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein and soot). Beeswax candles are an exception, which burn very cleanly and are popular among those with allergies and sensitivities.

Paraffin, petroleum-based candles, are scented aromatic candles that you can find anywhere. These are the worst for your home’s air quality. They not only release many of the same chemicals as diesel fuel when it’s burned they can contaminate your ductwork, discolour your walls and ceilings, and damage the contents of your home.

Indoor Air Quality & Your Health

In terms of your health and the health of others in your home, frequently lighting lots of candles can lead to issues like asthma, allergies, and irritating your respiratory tract.

This all might sounds kind of drastic, but there’s no need to trash all of your candles this minute. If you burn candle on occasion and don’t burn a lot at a time their effects are minimal. If you avoid candle wicks that are very long and thick you’ll still enjoy a nice flame that’s smaller and burning less at a time.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to ensure you burn the candle in large rooms or ones with good ventilation like doors and windows.

Candle Alternatives

There are a number of alternatives to candles such as candle warmers, which don’t have a flame and as a result don’t release carcinogens into the air. Essentially, a warmer melts wax and releases a scent.

Diffusers are also popular options to produce scents in your home. Diffusers use essential oils in a similar way to a candle warmer and wax. They slightly heat up the oil so it can disperse a nice scent into the room or area.

If it comes down to it and you really need or want to use regular candles, beeswax candles or soy candles. They burn very clean and actually release negative ions into the air, which help remove some toxins from the air and improve your indoor air quality.

Overall, ensure that your furnace fan is running and your furnace filter is clean if you burn candles often. This will ensure the air in your home is filtered and cleaned, even when burning candles.

For more information about your home’s indoor air quality or your furnace fan or filter contact Novel Care Toronto today: 905-737-5016.

Novel Care Toronto has been serving Toronto, York Region and the rest of the GTA for over 30 years.

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7 Things to Consider When Buying a Furnace and Air Conditioner

A new furnace or air conditioner is a major purchase, and choosing the right system for your home and your budget is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

There are many different options for efficiency, plus all the new technologies and add-ons to choose from. It’s understandable that some people get confused. But knowing what you want in a home comfort system is essential for making sure you’re getting the right models. After all, you’re going to be living with your new system for the foreseeable future, and you want to be absolutely certain that your equipment has the features that will save you the most money and get you the highest level of comfort.

Here are seven major factors you should consider when shopping around for a new home comfort system.

1. Reliability

The last thing you need is a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system that turns out to be unreliable. A “lemon” like this could end up costing a fortune in energy bills, expensive repairs and early replacement. Always choose a brand of system that has a proven track record for reliability and that’s made by a reputable manufacturer.

2. Humidity Control

The optimum humidity level for most homes is between 30 and 50 percent.

Lower humidity can dry out your skin, make you more susceptible to illness and damage the wood and electronic devices in your home. Higher humidity levels promote mold and mildew growth, as well as provide a welcome environment for pests like dust mites.

Properly sizing your new system is essential for good humidity control. If you live in a particularly humid or dry climate, consider a built-in whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier, which gives you precise control over the humidity level through a humidistat.

3. Noise Level

Standard furnaces and air conditioners, particularly older ones, can operate at a decibel level that’s comparable to that of a garbage disposal. If you’re looking for a system that hums quietly in the background, choose one with an electronically commutated motor, or ECM. This is the same type of motor used by refrigerators, and it’s considerably quieter than a standard motor. As an added bonus, ECMs use less energy and have a longer operating life than traditional motors.

4. Air Cleaning Capabilities

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified the air in the typical home as one of the top five environmental hazards. Regular air filter changes are essential for good indoor air quality, but if your or anyone in your home suffers from a respiratory condition like allergies, COPD or asthma, a built-in air cleaner will trap more allergens like pollen and mold, and will help eliminate more bacteria and viruses than the air filter alone can.

5. AC & Furnace Efficiency

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Look for the Energy Star logo on high-efficiency equipment.

With the rising cost of energy and the continued degradation of the environment due to carbon dioxide emissions, choosing a high-efficiency home comfort system is the best way to save money on heating and cooling your home, as well as reducing your carbon footprint.

Energy Star, a voluntary program run by the Environmental Protection Agency, awards its label to only the most efficient systems, which are tested by a third-party in an EPA-approved laboratory. Energy Star systems are guaranteed to be more efficient than their non-labeled counterparts, and can save you up to 20 percent on your annual utility bill. Some high-efficiency systems are eligible for federal or provincial rebates or rebates through your local utility company.

6. Temperature Control and Air Circulation

Standard furnace and air conditioner blowers operate at just two speeds: on and off. Once the air temperature reaches the thermostat setting, the unit shuts off, and then it cycles back on when the temperature changes. This frequent cycling can cause several problems:

  • It wears the system controls out more quickly.
  • It can result in a temperature difference of up to 7 degrees between the thermostat setting and the actual air temperature.
  • It can cause stagnation of the air in your rooms on days when the temperature inside stays fairly consistent due to non-extreme outdoor temperatures. If the system is rarely cycling on, it can’t refresh your air.

To eliminate these problems, choose a model with a variable speed motor, which adjusts the speed of the blower based on the real-time heating and cooling needs in your home. These models cycle less frequently and circulate air throughout the home more consistently, giving you better control over the temperature in your rooms and increasing your overall comfort level.

7. Size

When it comes to a furnace or air conditioner bigger is better, right? Not always. An oversized furnace or HVAC system is likely to break down more often and even fail earlier than a properly sized system. It can also can seriously compromise your comfort.

A unit that is too large will heat or cool the home more quickly, but it will also cycle more frequently, and for a shorter time than it should. This will end up costing you more money in energy costs and repair bills, and the system won’t filter contaminants from your air as effectively as a properly sized system will. Additionally, a system that’s too big can’t adequately remove humidity from the air, but rather will re-circulate it back into the home, promoting mold and mildew growth.

Before you purchase a new system, have a qualified HVAC professional calculate the right size furnace or air conditioner using the industry standard protocol.

For more information about furnace or air conditioner installation contact Novel Care today: 905-737-5016