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4 Summertime Steps To Improved Indoor Air Quality

Open window with view across and English countrysideWith the summertime now officially underway, we will all likely be spending more time outdoors. But, even when we decide to stay indoors, the warm weather will often encourage us to invite the air from outside to come in. It’s as simple as opening the windows. And this simple task can do a lot to improve the indoor air quality of our homes. Then again, keeping the windows open can also invite air pollutants into our homes.

So is it better to keep the windows opened or closed during the summer? According to Greenguard.org, it all depends on what the weather is like outside. “Open doors and windows when temperature and humidity levels permit,” advises the website, “However, be mindful of outdoor allergens during spring and fall seasons.” There are, of course, other things to be mindful of during the summertime.

Here are four summertime steps to improved indoor air quality:

1. Do a thorough cleaning of your home. It’s a lot easier to improve the air quality of your home when it is kept clean. With limited dust and other allergens to spread around, an open window can do a lot to freshen things up. Of course, if your home isn’t kept “fresh”, an open window can only serve to swirl around the dust and other allergens in your home. Make dusting, vacuuming and mopping among other clean up tasks important to-do’s this summer.

“Though it’s tempting to put off chores, it’s important to clean regularly to reduce allergens and irritants,” informs MyHomeIdeas.com, “Dust with a damp cloth rather than a feather duster — and don’t forget hard-to-reach areas such as ceiling fans and the top of the refrigerator. To avoid potentially harmful vapours, purchase nontoxic, non-aerosol, unscented cleaning products…And use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter for the best results.”

2. Minimize your use of chemicals. It’s tempting to use cleaning products with fresh scents. However, they often contain harsh chemicals and volatile organic compounds. While they may help your home to look and smell clean, using such cleaning products can actually negatively impact the air that you breathe. Not to mention, many non-cleaning products also contain harsh chemicals. Beware of certain paints, for example, which may be harmful to your respiratory system.

“Choose low-emitting products that have been third-party certified and labelled by reputable organizations such as GREEENGUARD and Green Seal,” recommends Greenguard.org, “Be wary of manufacturer claims of ‘no VOC’, ‘natural’ or ‘alternative.’” As well, the site reminds us to do the best we can to “minimize the use of harsh cleaners, solvent-based cleaners or cleaners with strong fragrances.”

3. Pander to your pets. If dogs really are man’s best friend, the summertime is the best time to prove it! Keeping your pets clean will go a long way in minimizing all of the fur, hair, dander and dirt that they may be getting left behind in your home. During the summertime, your pets are likely to spend more time outdoors, which will only result in them tracking more of the outside in. Summertime pet grooming is a key ingredient to homes with good indoor air quality.

4. Check your air conditioner filters. The summertime often sees a lot of air conditioner use. But it’s important that your A/C isn’t contributing to the spreading around of dust particles. “Regularly check and replace the filters in your heating/cooling system to minimize contaminants in the air,” advises MyHomeIdeas.com, “Consider installing an electrostatic filter, which employs an electric charge to capture more airborne particles than standard filters.”

AT DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that work to improve your home’s indoor air quality. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Finding Solutions To Rid Your Home Of Mould

Mildewed walls with different sorts of mold (close-up shot)Most of us do our best to keep our homes clean. Of course, it’s not always that easy when you have young children who tend to track mud and dirt into our houses after playing outside. Not to mention, dinner time can result in quite the mess when your children are playing with their food instead of eating. But to be fair, we can’t always blame the kids. How many of us are guilty of leaving dishes in the sink or our clothing on the floors?

Okay, so maybe being neat and tidy all of the time isn’t so easy. However, it needs to be said that keeping a clean home is good for your health. How so? Well consider the fact that when you allow dust to accumulate, you invite allergen-ridden dust mites to infest your home. As well, when you don’t wipe up spills and you allow other food particles to accumulate into messy puddles, you invite mould growth into your living space.

Vacuuming up dust isn’t so hard a task. Especially if you are using a HEPA filter, you are doing yourself quite the favour in maintaining a home with limited dust. But what should be done about that mould problem that you’ve brought on? In some cases, it can be wiped away. And, in others, a major mould problem requires a major cleaning regimen. It’s important to rid your home of mould as it is also known to cause serious health issues.

Mould growth is most prevalent in areas of the home where a lot of moisture occurs. Your shower stall or bathtub is a perfect example. Do you see those dark green or black spots in between the tiles in your bathroom’s shower? That’s mould. And you may notice that it doesn’t disappear with your run-of-the-mill spray and wipe routine. Don’t despair. There’s still a way to get rid of it.

“Surface moulds grow in just about any damp location, such as the grout lines of a ceramic tiled shower,” says FamilyHandyman.com, “They’re easy to scrub away with a mixture of 1/2 cup bleach, 1 qt. water and a little detergent. The bleach in the cleaning mixture kills the mould, and the detergent helps lift it off the surface so you can rinse it away so it won’t return as fast. You can also buy a mildew cleaner at hardware stores, paint stores and most home centres.”

On HousewifeHowTo.com, Katie Berry writes that painted walls also tend to experience mould development. She offers her solution to cleaning it up. “My personal recommendation is to use the vinegar/borax/water method first and wait two days to see if mould returns,” she advises, “If it does, move on to using the bleach/water approach. (Bleach is very irritating to the lungs, eyes and skin, so I prefer avoiding its use whenever possible.)”

She warns that no matter what type of method you use to remove mould from your home, it’s important to wear rubber gloves. That way, you can protect your skin from coming into contact with the mould. As well, she recommends that you “wear old clothing so you can wash it in HOT water to kill any mould spores that wind up on your clothes, and be sure to ventilate the area well while you’re working so you aren’t inhaling the stuff.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we like to see ourselves as mould’s arch enemy. We offer Mould Assessment Services in order to help you locate problem areas of the home where mould may be developing. It’s imperative to pinpoint these areas in order to prevent potential health problems for your family. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Exposing The Serious Dangers Of Cigarette Smoking

Depositphotos_65029191_xsOn our blog, we very often discuss the importance of indoor air quality. While we may not realize it, we do spend most of our time indoors. Naturally, we sleep indoors and spend the majority of our family time within the confines of our homes. Needless to say, it’s important that the air that we breathe in our homes is as pollutant-free as possible. Readers of our blog, however, will know that that isn’t so easy to pull off.

From dust mites to mould growth, there are ample culprits in the deterioration of our indoor air quality. In many cases, there are simple fixes. Keeping a clean and tidy home, for example, is one way to keep dust mites and mould growth at bay. There is, however, a major villain that continues to attack our air. It’s a villain that is completely self-imposed. And yet, we haven’t been able to put a complete stop to it yet!

Cigarette smoking is arguably the worst thing we can do for the quality of the air we breathe. And with as many “no smoking” signs up in our buildings, there are still individuals who are yet to break the habit. Surely, it’s a tough addiction to stop. But, it needs to be stated that the impact that cigarette smoke has on the air can negatively affect many more people than just the smoker doing the inhaling and exhaling.

This point is made clear by the Global Healing Center. “Whether you’re doing the smoking yourself or just enduring exposure to side-stream smoke or second hand smoke, tobacco smoke contributes to lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and other illnesses,” informs their website, “The chemical cocktail of lethal compounds in tobacco smoke cause the oxygen levels in your blood stream to drastically lower, prohibiting normal function of your body.”

Clearly, you don’t even have to be a smoker in order for cigarette smoke to negatively impact your health. And even worse, you don’t even have to inhale secondhand smoke in order for its effects to take place. “Tobacco smoke smells bad and is clingy,” states the Global Healing Centre, “Gone with the wind? Not quite. When you smoke, it infiltrates your air, clothing, hair and skin with contaminated chemicals and it seems to hang around forever.”

But what are those chemicals and just how bad are they for our health? According to the American Lung Association, second hand smoke contains upwards of 200 poisons! Among them are formaldehyde and carbon monoxide “and at least 60 chemicals known to cause cancer.” They report that the United States experiences about 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year. And those are non-smokers!

“In children, especially infants, it is responsible for pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infections and ear infections,” says the American Lung Association, “It causes asthma to develop, causes asthma attacks, and makes attacks worse. Source control is basic: No one should smoke around children.” Of course, we’d like to take it one step further by saying that no one should smoke at all! If you’re a smoker, you may want to make quitting your number one priority.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we recognize the importance of living in a home where the indoor air quality is the best it can be. For the safety of all those who dwell within it, cigarette smoke should be completely eliminated. We offer Air Quality Services to locate problem areas within the home where health hazards may be present. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Avoiding Exposure To Asbestos

Danger Asbestos HazardThe word “asbestos” has become well-known for its negative connotations. At one time in our history, it was highly regarded as a valuable material used for insulation in the construction of homes and office buildings. However, today we have become all too-well aware of the hazardous effects that it can have on our health. When asbestos fibres become airborne, they can become trapped in our lungs.

Asbestos is now known as a cancer-causing agent that should be avoided at all costs. As explained by the National Cancer Institute, “when asbestos fibres are breathed in, they may get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. Over time, these fibres can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation, which can affect breathing and lead to serious health problems.” Not the least of these health problems is mesothelioma.

This disease, says the NCI, “is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.” They go on to note that studies also suggest that gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, as well as throat, kidney, esophagus and gallbladder cancer are all possible ramifications of asbestos exposure. Sadly, there are numerous others symptoms that indicate that you may be affected by asbestos.

According to Asbestos.com, swelling in the neck or face, difficulty swallowing, high blood pressure, crackling sounds when breathing, shortness of breath, hyper tension, weight loss and even finger deformity are all symptoms associated with asbestos exposure. The site points out that sufferers of mesothelioma are at risk of experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms. There is also a risk of asbestosis if exposed to asbestos.

“Lung scarring, or fibrosis, is the direct cause for the coughing and shortness of breath symptoms most commonly associated with asbestosis,” informs Asbestos.com, “As the lungs become scarred and inflamed over time, their ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide decreases, resulting in a reduction of lung function and subsequent fatigue in patients. In the later stages of asbestosis, the amount of stress placed on the lungs and heart from the lack of proper oxygen can lead to serious lung and/or heart failure.”

Firstly, it’s important to determine whether or not your home includes asbestos as its insulation materials. If it was constructed prior to the 1990s, it’s certainly worth looking into. This is especially true if you plan on renovating. Any disturbance of asbestos fibres may cause them to become airborne. Again, you want to avoid breathing in asbestos fibres as much as humanly possible.

Secondly, it’s important to determine if your workplace includes asbestos in its construction. “Workers who are concerned about asbestos exposure in the workplace should discuss the situation with other employees, their employee health and safety representative, and their employers,” advises the NCI. You should also look into moving your work location if any renovations are being done in your building.

Thirdly, it would be wise to conduct an inspection of your home or office. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that test heating duct-work and furnaces, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics and cinder walls, ceilings and flooring for asbestos. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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4 Household Cleaning Tips For Asthmatics

rear view of woman with yellow gloves in kitchen doing houseworkAsthmatics have it rough. The simple act of breathing – something most of us take for granted – can be an arduous task for those who suffer with asthma. Obviously, breathing air that is as pollutant-free as possible is important for everyone’s overall health. But, it goes without saying that asthmatics need to take special precautions to breathe the purest air possible. As a result, the indoor air quality of an asthmatic’s home is a top priority.

Most of us have some sort of cleaning regimen when it comes to the home. At least, on a weekly basis, we tend to do the laundry, vacuum the floors, scrub the bathrooms, dust the furniture and wipe down surfaces. Asthmatics, however, should follow some meticulous cleaning practices to ensure that they don’t leave room for triggers of their disease to get the better of them. Reducing the risk of asthma symptoms will play a huge role in their quest for better health.

Here are four household cleaning tips for asthmatics:

1. Keep a spotless kitchen. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, it’s important to ensure that your kitchen is immaculately clean. “Use an exhaust fan on a regular basis to remove cooking fumes and reduce moisture,” they insist, “Place garbage in a can with an insect-proof lid and empty trash daily. Store food—including pet food—in sealed containers, and discard moldy or out-of-date items.”

The AAAA & I also recommends that you mop the floor and wipe the cabinets, countertops backsplashes and appliances down at least once a week. Using a detergent and water solution is advised. As well, it’s important to limit moisture in the kitchen. Checking for plumbing leaks and wiping up all spills and condensation in the refrigerator area will help to ward off the development of mould – a known asthma trigger.

2. Eliminate dust from the bedroom. As we’ve blogged about before, dust mites are also known to trigger asthma symptoms. Significantly limiting their presence in your home will do a long way in keeping asthma attacks at bay. “Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers,” advises the AAAA & I, “Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets weekly in 130o F water. Remove, wash or cover comforters.”

They also suggest that you vacuum your carpets at least once a week with a cleaner that has a small-particle or HEPA filter. Don’t forget your area rugs, floor mats and curtains either. They should be washed seasonally, says the AAAA & I. As well, they recommend that you “keep windows closed and use air conditioning during pollen season”. And if you have mould to clean up, be sure to wear a protective mask while doing it.

3. Keep the bathroom dry. This is practically impossible considering what bathrooms are used for. But bear in mind that limiting moisture is a key component to keeping an asthmatic’s home as safe as possible. The AAAA & I advises that you always use your exhaust fans during showers and to towel dry the tub after it has been used. In addition, you should “clean or replace mouldy shower curtains and bathmats (and) quickly repair any leaks.”

4. Don’t ignore the basement. Basements are known for becoming overly cluttered areas. When people stop using things, they often stick them in the basement. Before you know it, it becomes a makeshift junkyard. This presents a breeding ground for dust accumulation and mould growth in the damper areas. The AAAA & I recommends that you always clean wearing gloves and a mask. As well, remove any water-damaged carpeting.

When all else fails, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is here to help! For more information on our Air Quality Services, Moisture Monitoring Services or Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Working To Avoid The Health Effects Associated With VOCs

Depositphotos_22801344_xsIn our last blog, we pointed out that volatile organic compounds (also known as “VOCs”) are one of the biggest inhibitors of having high indoor air quality. VOCs, as you may now know, are found in a wide variety of products that very often make their way into our homes. They are contained in such building materials as carpets, adhesives, paints, sealing caulks, solvents, varnishes, upholstery fabrics and vinyl floors.

But that’s not all, unfortunately. As we pointed out before, many of our homes’ cleaning products are also known to contain VOCs. Air fresheners, disinfectants, cosmetics and even moth balls can be riddled with VOCs. Considering that so many of our most commonly-used household items seem to contain volatile organic compounds, you may be wondering what the effects on our health may be when we are exposed to them.

As the Minnesota Department of Health points out, it all depends on how many VOCs are in the air and our levels of exposure. Their website reveals that “scientists look at short-term (acute) exposures as hours to days or long-term (chronic) exposures as years to even lifetime. Breathing low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase some people’s risk of health problems.”

What are the short-term (acute) health effects of high levels of VOCs? MDH lists them as eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and the worsening of asthma symptoms. Sadly, asthmatics have the worst time dealing with VOCs. “Several studies suggest that exposure to VOCs may make symptoms worse in people who have asthma or are particularly sensitive to chemicals,” says MDH.

What are the long-term (chronic) health effects of high levels of VOCs? MDH lists them as cancer, liver damage, kidney damage and central nervous system damage. Clearly, these are all very serious health issues that can ultimately lead to death. In our last blog, we noted that it’s important to choose products that have low VOCs or none at all. However, the storage of certain chemicals is another important part of the process of staying healthy.

How should products that contain VOCs be stored? Fraser Health lists some tips, in an effort to minimize the exposure you have to volatile organic compounds. “Follow manufacturer’s instructions on proper usage of chemicals,” they strongly recommend, “Store chemicals away from living areas and use them in a well-ventilated area. If possible, allow new furniture to off gas for a few weeks before moving into the home; otherwise increase home ventilation.”

Can VOCs be eliminated completely? HGTV.com reminds us that eliminating VOCs completely from our lives isn’t entirely possible. “Volatile organic compounds are gases released as materials age and degrade over time,” reveals the site, “There are hundreds of VOCs — from formaldehyde and ethanol to vinyl, adhesives and varnishes. Even felt-tip pens are a source.” Therefore, minimizing exposure is the key to promoting good health.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are strong proponents of maximizing your potential for optimum health. And we know that the quality of the air in your home will have a lot to do with that. As you may know, we offer Air Quality Services to help you enjoy the best indoor air quality possible. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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How To Minimize VOCs In The Air At Home

Sprayed air freshener in hand on white shelves backgroundIn our past couple of blogs, we pointed out some of the main culprits of indoor air quality deterioration. Often, what negatively impacts the quality of the air we breathe are the things that we assume are helping it. Air fresheners, for example, are often heralded as “clean” and “fresh” smelling, giving us the impression that the air we are breathing is pure. Sadly, the opposite is actually true. And that’s because of VOCs.

As Fraser Health explains, volatile organic compounds are gases emitted from a variety of chemicals that include gasoline, paints, varnishes, cigarettes, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, glues and adhesives. “Proper ventilation and storage of such chemicals reduces exposure,” explains their website, “VOCs can cause short or long term health effects depending on length of exposure and type of VOC.”

You’ll notice that many of the chemicals that emit VOCs are often considered pleasant smelling. There are even people who have commented that they enjoy the smell of a new car. “New car smell”, however, is a sign that VOCs are present. “The smell in a new car is perhaps one of the most noticeable examples of VOCs, as the interior plastics emit gases,” reveals HGTV.com. So how can we limit the amount of VOCs in our air?

Read the labels. Perhaps, the easiest and most sensible way to reduce volatile organic compounds in our air is to purchase products that do not contain them. As well, there are products that are considered “low VOC” that would be more conducive to promoting higher indoor air quality. “Read the labels on household supplies and choose lower emission products,” insists Fraser Health.

The more educated you are about the products that you bring into your home, the better your air quality will be. HGTV.com seconds that motion. “Read labels to find low-VOC products and purchase nontoxic paint,” reads the website, “Use water-based polyurethane that emits fewer gases than oil-based products. For the same reason, natural or low-VOC stains, sealants and varnishes are also healthier choices.”

Avoid products that emit gases. Some products may not give you the impression that they are gas-emitting. But, if you can smell them – even if they smell “good” – then they are likely to contain VOCs. You’ll want to keep away from products that are known for producing smells that come from their gases. And you may be surprised to know what some of them are. HGTV.com offers a stern warning about this.

Among the gas-emitting products that the site insists you should avoid is vinyl wall coverings. “Avoid vinyl wall covering, as well as vinyl upholstery and flooring. Vinyl is a chemical radical emitting various gases,” says the site. It also points out that some products can “trap” gases that are released when taken out of their packaging. “Tightly rolled wallpaper can trap gases, so unroll outdoors to allow gases to dissipate before hanging indoors,” advises HGTV.com.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we understand that maintaining high indoor air quality isn’t as easy as you may think. You can take all of the precautions in the world, but it’s hard to know for sure if the air in your home is completely pollutant-free. As a result, we offer Air Quality Services to help you enjoy the best indoor air quality possible. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Finding Safer Solutions To Clean And Fresh Homes

Collection of cleaning products and tools on white backgroundIn our last blog, we discussed the fact that many things that we all tend to do in our homes to keep them “fresh” and “clean” actually impact our air in negative ways. Air purifiers and air fresheners were actually pointed out as culprits in the deterioration of indoor air quality. This can be seen as surprising since both types of products are advertised as the kinds that help us to keep our air clean.

One of the key factors that help to determine whether or not a product is good for the air in your home is its smell. Although many products are made to have very pleasant smells, the volatile organic compounds that they contain are simply ruining the quality of the air in our homes. The same can be said about many products we use to keep ourselves smelling clean and fresh. How are they impacting our air?

By now, you may not be as surprised to know that many beauty products can have negative impacts on the air. On BuildDirect.com, Anabelle Bernard Fournier writes that many fragrances are enemies to indoor air quality. She notes that it is actually frightening to discover what is contained in the colognes and perfumes that so many of us buy to endear ourselves to the senses of smell had by others.

“When you look at what your mass commercial beauty products really contain, you’ll probably be as scared as me,” she writes, “Although many of these crazy-sounding chemicals products are indeed safe, there are many others that have questionable health effects. If you want to reduce the toxins in the air (and on your skin) coming from your beauty products, I strongly suggest buying from the Skin Deep cosmetics database.”

Naturally, we don’t just want to keep ourselves smelling great, but most of us like our homes to smell great too. In addition to the air fresheners that we exposed in our last blog, many household cleaning products contain chemicals that can be dangerous to our health. This isn’t even much of a secret. The products often come with warning labels that tell us as much. As Fournier asks, “do you really need harsh, industrial chemicals to clean your windows?”

“Chemicals from cleaning products can be so toxic that warnings appear on the labels,” she reiterates, “But more healthy (and still just as strong) cleaning products have been appearing on the market. Sure, they’re a bit more expensive, but the investment might be worth it now, to save you many healthcare dollars later.” Fournier even points out a personal incident where a cleaning product caused skin damage to her hand!

“True story: I once got a chemical burn from a Lysol disinfecting sheet that has caused me chronic psoriasis on one hand,” she reveals, “As soon as I discovered the culprit, I threw everything away and swore I would never use the stuff again.” It does sound scary, doesn’t it? It will always be important to keep a clean body and a clean home. But it’s even more important to do so without using products that can negatively impact our health.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re aware that most people are doing great jobs keeping their homes clean. However, they usually don’t realize that what they’re doing to maintain their clean homes is actually impacting their indoor air quality in negative ways. We offer Air Quality Services to help our clients breathe the purest air possible. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Surprising Ways To Remove Air Pollutants From Your Home

Digital humidifier with ionic air purifier at home interiorIt is important that the air we breathe is as pollutant-free as possible. That is stating the obvious. But, interestingly, most of us don’t live our daily lives keeping this obvious statement in mind. As a result, we tend to go about our days doing things that negatively impact the quality of the air in our homes. On WebMD.com, Christopher Gavigan reports that “indoor air is typically 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor and we spend about 90% of our time indoors.”

So, since we spend so much time indoors, shouldn’t we all be taking greater measures to reduce the amount of pollutants that are in the air we breathe? Of course, we should. But, the truth is, we often don’t even know that many of our everyday actions are worsening our indoor air quality. Strangely, many things that we do to improve the quality of air in our homes are actually doing the opposite!

Here are three surprising ways to remove air pollutants from your home:

1. Stop using air purifiers. It sounds strange, doesn’t it? Don’t air purifiers do exactly what their name implies? Don’t they purify the air? In many cases, air purifiers emit ozone. And as Anabelle Bernard Fournier points out on BuildDirect.com, “ozone is the chief component of smog and something governments are doing their darnedest to reduce outside.” So why would air purifier manufacturers add ozone to its products?

“Air purifier companies claim that ozone helps bind smaller pollutants, making them easier to pick up by the filter,” reveals Fournier, “Others say that ozone kills bacteria and mould spores in the air. But adding ozone to the air might harm more than it helps. Ozone can cause asthma flare-ups and coughing fits. It can scar your lung tissue and basically reduce your cardiovascular health for life.”

2. Stop using air fresheners. Air fresheners come in all sorts of fragrances and scents. And we often associated these smells with freshness and cleanliness. In yet another ironic twist, these products add pollutants to the air than can negatively affect our breathing. “Air fresheners emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) continuously, such as nitrogen dioxide. Some contain paradicholorbenzene, a toxin commonly found in mothballs,” reports Dr. Josh Axe on his website.

Dr. Axe goes on to note that VOCs can also be found in a number of other everyday household items including much of our furniture and carpets. “VOC’s are the volatile organic chemicals that are found in carpets and the glue that hold them in place,” Dr. Axe explains, “VOC’s exist in levels 2 to 5 times higher indoors than out. Volatile organic compounds are linked to cancer and heart and lung disease.”

3. Paint responsibly. Considering the previously-made point, it would be wise to begin questioning anything in your home that gives off a distinct smell – even if it’s a pleasant one. Fournier notes that a lot of paint – you can always smell a fresh coat of paint, can’t you? – also contains volatile organic compounds. She advises that you locate paint companies that offer low or no-VOC paints to reduce health hazards.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know that indoor air quality can have serious implications on your overall health. The air we breathe in our homes can cause long term negative health and wellness issues if it is not kept as pure as possible. We offer Air Quality Services to help with this issue. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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5 Rules For Asthmatics To Improve Indoor Air Quality

Young woman breathing fresh air during the summerHaving asthma is no fun. This statement would certainly be a top contender in the “Understatement Of The Century” category. Asthma is a debilitating disease that restricts the lungs from taking in enough oxygen. Some asthmatics have described its symptoms as having their chests “squeezed” or airways “closed off”. Needless to say, purified air is a necessity in the life of an asthmatic.

For sufferers of asthma, indoor air quality is an incredibly important topic that literally belongs in the “matters of life and death” column of discussions. And while improving indoor air quality is important for all people, asthmatics are required to take special measures to ensure that the air they are breathing is as pollutant-free as possible. So what are the best ways for asthmatics to improve their indoor air quality?

Following these five rules would be very helpful:

1. Insist upon a smoke-free living environment. It should probably go without saying that no asthmatic should smoke cigarettes, or anything else for that matter. For many asthma sufferers, smoke is the number one trigger for an attack. They should also ensure that no one smokes around them or inside of their homes. For many asthmatics, the mere smell of cigarette smoke is enough to get them coughing.

2. Avoid pets. There are many dog and cat lovers out there who suffer with asthma. It is best, however, that they avoid being pet owners in order to improve the air quality of their homes. As Elizabeth Shimer Bowers writes on EverydayHealth.com, “pet dander is one of the most problematic triggers when it comes to allergic asthma symptoms — it’s the proteins in a pet’s dander, saliva, and urine that aggravate asthma symptoms.”

3. Pass on the scented products. Many of us get tricked into thinking that our homes are clean and fresh when they smell that way. However, scented products can trigger asthma symptoms. So, as nice as they smell, they should be avoided. “Wash and dry clothes with unscented laundry detergent, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets,” advises HealthyKids.org, “Use unscented or nonaerosol versions of household cleaning products and avoid scented candles or room fresheners.”

4. Become a neat freak. If you’re the type of person who keeps a messy home, you’re not doing your respiratory system any favours. The more clutter that exists in your home, the more opportunities you provide for dust to collect. “Think of books, knickknacks, and stuffed animals as collection areas for dust and other allergens that can trigger allergic asthma,” says Bowers, “These items are better kept out of your living space and stored in plastic bins.”

5. Do away with dust. In keeping with the previous rule, you’ll want to ensure that dust doesn’t accumulate in the other parts of the home where it is known to gather. That includes your bathroom exhaust fans. Be sure to vacuum them out regularly. As well, HealthyKids.org recommends that you “clean all air ducts in the house and change the filters in your furnace and/or air conditioning system regularly.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is for you to live in a home where the indoor air quality is the best it can be. If you suffer from asthma, however, the quality of your home’s air couldn’t be a more important issue. We’re here to help! For more information on our Air Quality Servies, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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