Who hasn't been afraid to walk into a hotel where the quality of the cleanliness seems poor and where the sheets don't seem to have been washed after the last occupants? Several reports easily found on the Internet even demonstrate highly rated hotels that get caught putting back sheets, pillowcases and bathrobes that have been used. The demonstration is simple: reporters book a room where they spray a message on sheets, pillowcases, towels, bathrobes and surfaces with a colorless product, check out the room the next morning, have it booked that evening under a different name and discover, thanks to an ultraviolet light that reflects the product sprayed earlier, that the bedding has not been changed between two different occupants. A report by Inside Edition, in the summer of 2020, even showed that surfaces, remote controls and other objects frequently touched by travelers were not cleaned between two visits while we were in the middle of a pandemic!
For the vast majority of travelers, cleanliness of accommodations is a very important factor and sleeping in sheets that have been used by strangers is simply unthinkable as well as disgusting.
But what about the cleanliness of the air? Are we as concerned about it? Have you ever wondered about the quality of the air in the places where you've stayed while travelling? Are you one of those people who are looking for rooms without carpets, windows that can be opened, an outside terrace?
Probably before March 2020, you had never - or so little - asked yourself this question, but since the pandemic, you are most likely a little more interested in this subject. After all, your health is totally linked to the measures taken - or not taken - by the hosts who welcome you into their facilities. Whether they are large hotel chains or small individuals, these hosts are responsible for providing you with a healthy, safe and contaminant-free environment. But is it always the case?
For us at Auberge Tom B&B, it has always been important to provide a clean and healthy environment for our guests, and that includes the ambient air. The pandemic has allowed us to go further in our approach thanks to the many scientific studies that have helped us develop our knowledge of the various ways viruses spread and the measures that must be put in place to avoid contamination.
In addition to washing hands, sneezing in the elbows, wearing a mask and disinfecting ALL surfaces, there is also the quality of indoor air that must be taken into account. Because when windows are closed due to extreme temperatures - heat and humidity in summer, intense cold in winter - you can easily spend a whole day breathing the same air. It is therefore essential to ensure the quality of this air if we want to give ourselves every chance to stay healthy.
In the summer of 2019, we hired a team of experts to clean and sanitize all the air ducts in the house, including the vents and the air exchanger, in addition to having all the permanent filters thoroughly cleaned. There was not a single duct that escaped this extensive cleaning. This type of service is recommended every three to five years. At Auberge Tom B&B, we require it every two years.
To keep our air ducts as clean as possible for as long as possible, we replace the furnace's high-performance filter every month. The air exchanger filter is cleaned every three months while the system is in operation, from October to May. This maintenance plan alone will go a long way in helping to maintain a pleasant, clean environment and reduce dust particles floating in the air.
But it's not enough to maintain air ducts and filters. Having the right systems in place to prevent the air from decaying and causing health problems is a must. With the exception of the summer when the air exchanger is shut down because the humidity outside is too high to be brought inside, the air in the entire house is completely renewed every hour by fresh outside air, thanks to the air exchanger and the powerful furnace that was installed in the summer of 2019. Our travelers can therefore be assured that they are breathing fresh and clean air on a continuous basis. But there's more.
Indeed, even if the latest scientific studies show that COVID is caught through prolonged exposure to aerosols suspended in stagnant and non-renewed ambient air, we still made the decision to install a super-powerful air purifier within the furnace so that the air in the entire house is not only exchanged and cleaned, but also purified. The filtration system we chose, the AMHP-250 five-stage purification system meets the HEPA standard recommended for hospital operating rooms.
Finally, air exchanger and winter means dry air. It is no longer a mystery to anyone that by heating the house, the ambient air becomes drier, which dries out the mucous membranes that become less effective in countering intruders in the form of viruses. This is why it is recommended to maintain interior humidity between 40% and 60%, while ensuring good ventilation to avoid mold and mildew. So we decided to change our current humidification system to a more efficient system that will work in concert with all the other systems in place to provide comfortable room air to breathe, thanks to an adequate humidity level.
We hope that all the measures we put in place to offer you a healthy environment reassure you. These measures that we are implementing today, in times of pandemic, will remain in place long after vaccination. Because we know that the infinitely small, regardless of whether or not it has a skull and crossbones for a flag, can give anyone a hard time. What we want to offer to our guests is that they leave with wonderful memories and stars in their eyes. Not with any virus whatsoever.