NTE Podcast: Strengthening our Home’s Immune System

We’re obviously in the midst of a world wide health crises and I know dozens of experts in the alt/health community are podcasting and YouTubing all about protecting our personal immune systems. My expertise is in the health of your home, so this episode is all about making your less less susceptible to viruses through the use of healthier materials and better design.

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Strengthening Our Home’s Immune System


Andrew Pace: Welcome to the Non Toxic Environments podcast. My name is Andrew Pace. Every week, my cohost Jay Watts and I will discuss healthier home improvement ideas and options. Thank you for finding us and please enjoy the show.

Well, hello everybody. This is Andy. It’s so good to be back here behind the microphone. Last week I came in and recorded a very short episode. As you may know, I had a slight surgery a couple of weeks ago and I’m on the mend. It’s all good. It’s an elective surgery to allow me to use my right arm again. Just so happens that at the same time, the entire nation is on lockdown because of this virus. It’s very interesting, interesting times we live in. And first off, a point to all of our listeners, our friends, our family- I hope everybody’s doing well and I hope we are all getting through this and we’ll get through this unscathed. You know the old adage, what doesn’t kill us, make us stronger? I think that, as a nation, we will survive this and we will get stronger because of it. So that’s all I will say about that.

I thought it’d be a good idea today to talk about… as we’re hearing all about our immune systems and how our own personal immune systems are trying to fight off this virus. The more we learn about it, the more we learn that those who may be getting slight symptoms and it goes away, it’s partially due to the fact that they have very strong immune systems. You’re going to hear, I’m sure you’ve already heard, a number of experts talk about this and I do not claim in the least amount to be an expert in human immune system disorders and how to strengthen our immune systems. I’m loading up on my vitamin A and vitamin D and some vitamin C and I’m trying to get as much sleep as I can these days. We all do our part to help ourselves personally. But what I thought it’d be interesting to talk about is our home immunity system. What does our home have to do with our immune system? Well the home itself can be either a healthy environment to live in or it can be one that is not necessarily unhealthy, but certainly not helping us, not doing its part to allow us to heal. I’ve said this before, that everyone needs to have at least one room of their home that’s considered the sanctuary that’s considered their place of healing. And we hope that’s a bedroom.

Your bedroom, you spend six to eight hours a night, hopefully in the room and it’s gotta be a room that is not going to be harming you during that process. The less toxins that we are subject to during that time, the better the body can heal. But what else can we do in our home to strengthen its immunity system? It’s immune system, however you want to put it. What can the home do or what can you do in your home so that as this moves forward, and as we all hear, we’re going to go through a second round of this later this year and a third round of it sometime next year. And as the doctors and experts in the world figure out things like vaccines and cures and so forth, I’m thinking of how do we alter our homes so that it is less susceptible to things like viruses that could then harm everybody in the home?

Jay and I were talking about this over the phone the other day and unfortunately, Jay’s not gonna be with me today, but he and I had some really good conversation about what we can do inside of the home to strengthen its own system, let’s say. And a lot of it has to do with our discussions of making a healthy home, right? So we talk about the idea of using hard surfaces throughout the home for flooring, countertops. These are surfaces that are unable to absorb viruses and bacteria into the material and it can be wiped off easily. They can be surfaces that can be sanitized through methods of cleaning with hot water and Super Clean or steam. The surfaces like flooring materials, say carpeting and unfortunately has the problem amongst many things is that it can absorb viruses and bacteria, mold, and allow that to become airborne for longer period of time. Hard surfaces can be cleaned thoroughly and can be sanitized thoroughly. So that’s one big way to think about how we make our home a healthier healing area or environment for everybody living inside of it. Now, if you’re in the process of designing a new home, right now, one thing that I like to bring up is the idea of using a detached garage  instead of an attached garage this way anything that would be inside of that garage. Your automobile, gardening equipment and so forth. Anything that has oils and greases and solvents and so forth, there’s less of a chance for those fumes to become airborne and waft into the home if it’s not connected. But I also liked the idea of having a detached garage with a breezeway, the way we used to do it years ago.

Essentially it’s like a walkway, a covered walkway between the garage and the home and particular to our situation we’re in right now with virus. Imagine coming home, and exiting your automobile and going into the breezeway and being able to take off your jacket. And in some cases being able to take off the clothes you’re wearing throughout the day that could have been contaminated. And then putting on a fresh set of clothes to walk into the home. I have a lot of clients that I’ve worked with over the years that do this just every day because of their sensitivities. Jay brought up a really good point yesterday and they said, people who are now trying to deal with this COVID virus at home are getting a real eyeopening experience and awakening to what somebody was severe chemical sensitivity has been dealing with for years and years.

It’s having to avoid everything, everybody. Having to take precautions that we normally wouldn’t have to. Nobody wishes chemical sensitivity or having the virus on anybody. But you know, we use this as kind of as a teachable moment here. And so when we recommend things like detached garage or a breezeway for chemical sensitivity issues, it’s also really perfect for this situation with the virus.

HVAC systems. It’s always been something that we talk about at length when we discuss new homes or whole house remodeling. It’s extremely, extremely important to make sure you have a good purification system for the whole home attached to the furnace, AC and blower unit. I like air purifiers. I think they’re very good for what they do. When it comes to purifying the air throughout the home, there’s nothing like having a good high quality purification system. I happen to work with a brand called Solace Air. It’s their RS4 unit. I was having a discussion just today with a client of mine and she had asked about various materials that are out there. one of the reasons why I love the RS4 is because there are three main ways that you purify air in the home. One is through filtration, whether it’s a high Merv filter, electrostatic or kind of a combination. And the RS4 has that electrostatic replaceable media that is equivalent to about a Merv 12, Merv 13. So that’s going to get your particulates out of the air.

The second way you purify air in the home is by the use of a UV filter or a UV light. UV light sanitizes the air as the air goes by it. It can do this process with or without the use of ozone. And I’ll get to that in a moment. UV lights are very effective for killing off mold spores, bacteria, viruses. These can be installed either in the return air plenum or in the the supply side, above the A coil of the AC unit. And so if you live in a real high humidity area, it’s very effective to make sure, for keeping a mold from growing on the A coil.

Then the third way you purify air is through the use of a filtration method for gases, VOCs, chemical off gassing and the RS4 does it by using what’s called a carbon matrix. So all the air passes through your electrostatic filter gets zapped by the UV and then also passes through the carbon matrix to absorb any chemicals out of the air that are too small to go through a filter.

So RS4 does that all together in one unit, which is really nice. So you have one unit to service. The servicing is very simple, inexpensive and not very frequent, which is nice.

Now I mentioned before the use of ozone. Now this is controversial in that the several years ago there was a company called Alpine that produced ozonation systems for home use. It was a multilevel marketing company. They made a decent product, but they didn’t really have a highly educated professional staff. Again, these are multilevel marketing companies. It was people selling to family and friends and then they would sell it to family and friends.

You didn’t have a lot of professionals selling this equipment and they really failed to tell people that with ozone, you have to be very careful with how much it manufacturers and how much you’re exposed to it, your lungs and your eyes and throat and so forth that can become damaged with too high of ozone. Alpine or Living Air, another name for their company, a lot of lawsuits and so forth. Now many years later, people think it’s a bad idea to use ozone. And unfortunately that’s incorrect. Ozone is one of the absolute best ways to purify air. You have to do it in a healthy manner. So there’s two ways you can do that and you can actually use a UV light either inside of the RS4 system or separate from that, that is specifically designed to create ozone during the process.

Personally, this is what I use at home. I love the use of ozone inside of my HVAC system to purify the duct work and to cut down on transmission of viruses, the common cold and so forth. But you know, there’s a dial on the unit that allows me to turn it off or turn it up or turn it down and adjusted to where it needs to be. How do you know if it’s too high? Well, rule of thumb with ozone is if you’re using an ozonation system, if you can smell it, it’s up to high. Ozone has a very sweet, distinct smell. Think about being outside after a thunderstorm, you smell that sweet air. That’s what ozone smells like. And in concentration it can actually be damaging to your lungs, nasal passages and so forth, especially if you already have a compromised immune system because of allergies and asthma.

Now I use this type of system in my home just as a preventative maintenance. You can actually use an ozonation system or something that purely creates ozone in a high quantity at a time like now to purify your home in case you think somebody came into your home who is carrying the virus, or if somebody in your home has it or had it and you want to make sure that the home is completely clean of it, you can use an ozone generator to sanitize the house. Now how would you do that? Well, every sanitizer is a little bit different, but we actually work with one here and I’ll put a link in the show notes to this. We have a unit here that we rent out to customers, to use for smoke damage, water damage, and in this situation for actually sanitizing rooms or homes.

And you can set it for a certain amount of time at a certain amount of a quantity of ozone. When you are using an ozonation system or an ozone generator to purify a space, you’ve got to do it while you’re not there because it creates such a high amount of ozone that you really don’t want to be around it for very long. I’m talking like 15, 20 seconds. So you turn it on. Let’s say you set it for two hours at at the highest level. If it’s a small room, you don’t have to do that long, maybe 30 minutes. If you’re using it for your whole home and you’re putting it in the main area of your house, set up for two hours and let it go.

Now the beauty of ozone is ozone has a very short half life, and so it has a half life of about seven and a half minutes. So if it’s not going to attach to something in the air as a method of purification/sanitization, it’ll actually attach to itself and turn back into pure oxygen.

Think about a time, if you’ve ever been in a hospital and you’ve gotten an oxygen tube in your nose, and after a period of time, your throat feels really dry because of that pure oxygen. That’s exactly what happens in homes that had been ozoned, that pure oxygen can have a drying effect in your throat and in your nasal passages. Again, this is why we don’t want to be around it when it’s being done. So you purify your room or your home for 30 minutes to two hours and then dependent on your climate, temperature at the time and so forth and other various things, we would then open up the windows or turn on some fans to blow the air around to circulate.

So it’s a very simple method, a very effective method. A matter of fact, we’re a little too new in this particular, COVID virus outbreak to have the research on it, but we know that when SARS was around several years ago, that was actually a COVID2, we’re now at COVID19. And there’s been a lot of research done about how effective ozone has been on the COVID2 virus. And so, considering this as extremely similar to the COVID2, one can be pretty confident that this would be extremely effective to the COVID virus. That’s one way to purify the home and to strengthen its own immune system.

Something else we’ve talked about in the show before quite often is a product we have here called Caliwel. Caliwel is an industrial coating or they also have a Home & Office coating that will kill off mold spores for minimum of six years. So if mold spores are in the air and the attached to the surface where the Caliwel product is, it kills it off almost instantaneously. And it does that by raising the pH of the surface so high that it cannot continue to live. It does this through alkalinity, does it through lime. Alistagen, the manufacturer of Caliwel, just put out a press release last week that said that the use of Caliwel is actually a very effective way to kill off the COVID virus that’s in the air. And so I’m not saying, run out and grab a bunch of buckets of Caliwel and paint your whole home and you won’t get the virus. No, what I’m saying is if you use it in certain situations, it will strengthen your home’s immune system so that if somebody did walk into the house who happened to have the virus on their person because of coming in contact with somebody, it’s quite possible that it could die off very fast in your home because of the surfaces in your home being treated with the Caliwel product.

I believe that all of these things used in combination in both a remodeling application or a new home construction project will strengthen your home’s immune system, strengthen the immunity in your home, which will then help us. Like I said, so many professionals, so many experts out there right now are jumping on their podcasts and jumping on Twitter and Instagram and YouTube and saying what we need to do to strengthen our own immune systems. Well, folks, that’s not my forte. My forte is building materials and healthy homes. And so this is my way of helping you help yourself, not only right now but down the road as this COVID virus makes its way back a couple of times and who knows what the next one will be?And wouldn’t it be nice for us to live in homes that are more immune to these types of situations.

So folks, thank you so much for allowing me to come into your home or car, or device, this week again. Being gone a little bit because of the surgery and because of the virus and so forth, I miss this. I miss being in front of folks and I really look forward to hearing from all my friends and listeners who send emails and make phone calls and reach out. And so I’m asking you to do the same. You can always send me an email andy@degreeofgreen.com. Feel free to write a review on iTunes if you happen to listen to our show through iTunes and let everybody know what you think about the show and it helps others find it. We’re still a very fast growing show and we promise that once we all get through this, Jay and I’ll be back in with much more content. We have a lot sort of waiting in the wings and right now as all businesses are across the country, things are a little dicey. But we have very loyal listeners, very loyal customers, and you all are giving me a reason to come back into the office and behind the microphone every single day. So thank you so much. I look forward to being with you again in about a week. Take care everyone.


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