DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd.
Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Experts

855-668-3131
questions@dftechnical.ca
"

Do E-Cigarettes Contribute To Poor Indoor Air Quality?

young female smoker smoking e-cigarette outdoors. Head and shoulders, side viewIn the past, we have posted blogs on the harmful effects of cigarettes and the incredibly negative impact that they have on indoor air quality. By today’s standards, such blogs can be argued as belonging in the “tell us something we don’t know” section of our website! All jokes aside, it is unlikely that there is anyone left on Earth who doesn’t realize that cigarette smoking is deadly. It’s hazardous to the health of both smokers and non-smokers alike.

Secondhand smoke, as we all should know, contains just as many harmful toxins as the smoke being inhaled by the cigarette smoker. So, it goes without saying that if a person is smoking while indoors, the air of the room is severely impacted. Plain and simple, there are no positive aspects of smoking cigarettes indoors – or outdoors for that matter. However, it needs to be reiterated that for the best indoor air quality, cigarette smoking must be prohibited.

We understand that, for cigarette smokers, quitting is a hard task. Nicotine addictions are hard to break – and that’s putting it mildly. However, many cigarette smokers are taking strides in breaking their habits by trying alternatives to natural cigarettes. In recent years, e-cigarettes have become all the rage. No, these aren’t virtual cigarettes that are “smoked” on the internet. They are “electronic” versions of the real thing that emit vapour instead of smoke.

What is an e-cigarette exactly? Here’s how the Society for the Study of Addiction explains it: “E-cigarette use produces a visible vapour that is usually able to be smelled, depending on the flavours and other contents of the fluid. The vapour is discharged into the air only when the user exhales (i.e. there is no sidestream vapour), in contrast to tobacco cigarettes that discharge smoke continuously while kept alight, and when the user exhales.”

But are e-cigarettes any safer than the real thing? You would think that they must be if they are considered a habit-breaking alternative. However, research has shown that while e-cigarettes may not contain as many harmful toxins as their authentic counterparts, they aren’t exactly “healthy” choices. According to the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, e-cigarettes aren’t doing any favours to indoor air quality.

They report that Bud Offerman, an indoor air quality expert, published a paper in the June 2014 issue of ASHRAE Journal, commenting on the subject. He found that the aerosol emitted from e-cigarettes “consists of condensed submicron liquid droplets, which contain many chemicals including some that are carcinogenic, such as formaldehyde, metals (cadmium, lead, nickel), and nitrosamines.”

So how are e-cigarettes bad for the air? “E-cigarettes emit harmful chemicals into the air and need to be regulated in the same manner as tobacco smoking,” Offerman explains, “There is evidence that nitrosamines, a group of carcinogens found specifically in tobacco, are carried over into the e-cigarette fluid from the nicotine extraction process. There is also evidence that the glycol carriers can by oxidized by the heating elements used in e-cigarettes to vaporize the liquids, creating aldehydes such as formaldehyde.”

We’re sorry to have to report to you that although e-cigarettes certainly emit less harmful toxins into the air than regular cigarettes, they can’t necessarily be considered “safe” for use. That being said, the best alternative to smoking cigarettes is still smoking nothing at all. And the best way to ensure that the indoor air quality of your home is the purest it can be is to test it. For information on our Air Quality Services, call DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. Elisabeth-Reply
    February 26, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Anyway, I have read in many blogs that Smoking is harmful for health

Leave A Comment

*

Finding Natural Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality

Lighted beeswax candles on wooden tableAll week long, we have been concerned about the air quality, here in Calgary, Alberta where DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is headquartered. As we alerted you in our last blog, wildfires in the state of Washington and the province of British Columbia have sent smoke the way of our province, causing catastrophic damage to the quality of the air that we are all breathing.

As a result, Environment Canada has issued some protective guidelines to Albertans that include recommendations to stay inside. Obviously, the cleaner the air we are all breathing, the better it is for our health. The current situation in Alberta sheds light on the mission statement that is practiced year-round by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. We are committed to fostering clean breathing air in your home as it is imperative to achieving optimum health.

On BobVila.com, Michael Franco echoes these sentiments. “Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and even improve digestion,” he writes, “But if the air you’re breathing in isn’t as clean as it should be, taking those breaths might actually be causing more harm than good.” Franco goes on to note that the best way to improve your home’s indoor air quality is to clean it naturally.

“You can improve the air quality in your home most simply by cleaning with natural, odour-free products,” he advises us, “having people remove their shoes before entering to avoid dragging in dust and dirt; and opening windows when the weather permits to keep fresh air circulating throughout the home.” In other words, the fewer chemicals you use to clean your home, the safer you’ll be. As well, limiting the amount of outdoor pollutants that enter your home is wise.

Given the present situation in Calgary, however, minimizing pollutants from outside is a tough task right now. Nevertheless, Franco reminds us to always “go green” when possible. You don’t need an air quality warning to know that the air in your home should always be treated with respect. He recommends that you not just switch to natural, scent-free cleaning products, but that you fill your home with plants.

“Plants can be a great way to not only freshen the air, but also warm and personalize your home,” says Franco, “Studies by NASA have shown that certain houseplants are good at eliminating harmful substances in the air. Aloe vera, for example, is effective at clearing formaldehyde, which can be found in some plywoods, carpeting, and furniture as well as in certain cleaning products.”

Katie of WellnessMama.com adds that some of our common indoor practices should also be curbed. You may think that there is nothing wrong with lighting candles to either create relaxing atmospheres or improve a room’s smell. But depending on the candle you use, you could be causing more harm than good. “Regular paraffin candles are petroleum derived and can release chemicals like benzene, toluene, soot and other chemicals into the air,” reveals Katie.

She highly advocates the use of pure beeswax candles which emit almost no smoke or scent and actually clean the air. “Beeswax candles are often especially helpful for those with asthma or allergies and they are effective at removing common allergens like dust and dander from the air,” Katie reveals, “Beeswax candles also burn more slowly than paraffin candles so they last much longer.”

If you have any questions about how you can improve your home’s indoor air quality, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca. Ask us about our Air Quality Services!

Leave A Comment

Poor Air Quality In Calgary Creating Health Concerns

Depositphotos_38623741_s-2015Here in Calgary, Alberta, where DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is headquartered, the air quality has been referred to as “off the charts bad” by weather analysts in recent days. And they’re not kidding. According to the Government of Alberta’s Air Quality Health Index, health risks due to air quality are rated from 1-10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Anything above 10 is considered “very high”.

As of this morning, Daniel Martins of The Weather Network reports that Calgary’s air quality health index peaked at 19 last night! It goes without saying that this is horrible news. For those who don’t live on Canada’s west coast and may be unaware, the poor air quality in our province has come as a result of the awful wildfires that have been burning in British Columbia for days now.

Martins reports that air quality advisories have been issued for parts of both B.C. and Alberta by Environment Canada. These record-breaking wildfires have been exacerbated by others taking place in the state of Washington, which is just south of B.C. “Southerly winds,” he writes, “have continued to push the smoke northward into this week, and forecasters say there’s little relief ahead in B.C.”

Those of us living in the Calgary area have seen our sunny skies diminish in place of hazy, grey darkness as of late. And unfortunately, the smoky air is doing nothing positive for our respiratory systems. It should come as no surprise that the air quality we are currently experiencing has great potential to cause numerous health problems. As Martins, puts it, “diminishing air quality levels pose a risk to everyone living in the affect areas.”

He goes on to reveal a statement made by Environment Canada which reads: “In the current conditions, even healthy individuals may experience temporary irritation of eyes and throat, and possibly shortness of breath.” So what should Albertans be doing to minimize the risk of negative health effects due to the poor air quality? Staying indoors is your best bet. The less bad air you breathe, the better.

Unfortunately, we are in a situation where our indoor air quality is bound to be better than outside. “Outdoor activity should be kept to a minimum during the current advisories,” reiterates Martins. It should be noted, as well, that safety precautions shouldn’t just be followed by individuals with asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues. The air is bad enough that everyone should be engaging in safety measures.

Melissa Ramsay of Global News reports that Dr. Jason Cabaj, who is the Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services, strongly suggests that Calgarians stay inside. “Normally with air quality, we’re especially concerned about people with chronic concerns and other vulnerable people such as young children and older adults,” Dr. Cabaj is quoted as saying, “but in this case, the air is poor enough that everybody needs to pay attention to it.”

As well, Martins points out that Calgarians are being asked to follow additional safety measures. He reports that “the Calgary Fire Department has implemented a fire ban, prohibiting the use of fire pits, recreational campfires and fireplaces. The ban is in place in order to minimize additional levels of smoke adding to already poor air quality.” Ramsay adds that Alberta Health Services has offered a number of tips to follow in order to reduce the presence of smoke in homes.

They include locking all windows and doors, turning down furnace thermostats and furnace fans to the minimum settings, closing the fresh-air intake on your air conditioners, switching all floor registers to the closed position, closing fireplace dampers on wood burning fireplaces and avoiding the running of “whole-house fans” and “fresh air ventilation systems” that bring smoky outdoor air inside.

The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. blog will endeavour to keep an eye on this unfortunate situation. However, if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. December 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Air pollution in Calgary has taken a drastic turn. In the major cities like Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto, we need proper precautions and safety measures in place to curb air pollution. Hope that the government takes this issue seriously.

Leave A Comment

Examining The Negative Impact Of Cleaning Products

Depositphotos_9424092_s-2015By now, readers of our blog are very well aware about the damaging effects of VOCs. Volatile organic compounds, which can be found in many of our cleaning supplies, are known to significantly impact indoor air quality in a negative way. While most of us view our cleaners and disinfectants as companions in the battle against dirt and grime, they can sometimes present more problems than solutions.

How have VOCs been known to negatively affect our health? The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that the “key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.”

How do VOCs contribute to poor indoor air quality? It all depends on the ingredients of the cleaning products you are using. Health Care Without Harm reports that “some of these products contain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (PBTs), are classified as hazardous waste, and/or otherwise contribute to environmental pollution during their manufacture, use, or disposal.”

How can some disinfectants actually contribute to worsening the problems that they purport to solve? While many cleaners are advertised as bacteria killers, Health Care Without Harm notes that the anti-bacterial nature of many products can enhance the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics. As a result, people can be placed at greater risk of negative health effects. On his website, Dr. Joseph Mercola provides further insight into this matter.

“Chemicals used to kill bacteria could be making them stronger,” he reveals, “Biocides are commonly used in cleaning hospitals and home environments, sterilizing medical equipment and decontaminating skin before surgery. At the correct strength, biocides kill bacteria and other microbes. But if lower levels are used, the bacteria can survive and become resistant to treatment.”

What chemicals in cleaners can cause health problems? Have you ever heard of triclosan? According to Health Care Without Harm, it’s “an antibacterial biocide increasingly prevalent in liquid detergents and soaps (janitorial products), could enhance the ability of bacteria to resist antibiotics, and poses a long-term threat to wildlife and to human health. Traces of triclosan have been found in human breast milk.”

So what is the solution to reducing VOCs in our homes? It’s all about using natural or “green” products. The fewer chemicals your cleaning products contain, the better. Dr. Mercola even points out that there are no studies that confirm that regular disinfecting leads to fewer illnesses in the home. However, research has shown that families who use chemical-laden products double their chances of experiencing respiratory issues.

Of course, the health and well-being of your family is important to you. So it’s clearly important to be mindful of the ways in which you clean your home. Are your cleaning products actually making you sicker instead of safer? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to ensure that your family is enjoying 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.

Leave A Comment

The Importance Of Opening Your Windows

white brick wall with open windowsMost Canadians don’t want to admit this. But there are only a few weeks of summer left! In fact, the official end of summer comes in exactly one month. It’s a time when Canadians will begin to spend less time outdoors and more time in their homes. So, the opportunity to get as much fresh air flowing through your home is now – or at least, for the next several weeks. Have you been keeping your windows open throughout the summer?

You may be surprised to know just how much you are benefitting those who live in your home by cracking a window each day. When the weather is nice, it certainly pays to allow fresh air to circulate throughout your home. In the winter, permanently closed windows can force the air that you breathe to be stale, stagnant and rampant with pollutants. You don’t have to take our word for it. This is communicated by HeraldStandard.com.

“Because many homes are built to be air-tight to conserve energy and money, unhealthy levels of air pollutants can build up inside homes when windows remain closed,” reads the website, “These pollutants may include radon gas, cigarette smoke, chemical fumes from paints and solvents and leached chemicals from modern building and furnishing materials. Opening windows for extended periods of time allows fresh air to spread throughout the home.”

What other benefits do open windows provide? According to Esther de Wolde on PhantomScreens.com, the presence of sunshine in your home can provide healthful benefits that you would usually only receive when you are spending time outdoors. “We all know sunshine has great health benefits like increasing Vitamin D production and reducing the symptoms of depression,” she writes.

How do open windows improve a home’s indoor air quality? According to de Wolde, the reduction of condensation is another benefit of allowing fresh air into your home. By reducing air moisture, you are better able to ward off the development of mould, which is known to produce harmful allergens. “Without adequate ventilation your home becomes a steamy box of germs,” she says, “Open the windows and get the air flowing through your home to stop the damp.”

Can opening windows help to save money? It sure can! Many Canadians aren’t even big fans of air conditioning to begin with. They wait all winter long for warmer weather to arrive only to be met with chilly indoor conditions? Nope, not everyone is a fan. For those that appreciate fresh air over chilled air, the opening of windows can significantly help to cut down on the energy used to power your air conditioner.

As well, HeraldStandard.com points out that you’ll also reduce the amount of air fresheners you use to do away with your home’s less-than-favourable smells. “Fresh air can quickly remove odours from a home,” the site reminds us, “These can include old cooking smells, cigarette smoke, pet odours, or simply stale air. By opening windows, homeowners can clean the air in their homes naturally without covering it up with chemical air fresheners or other cleaners.”

Not to mention, the absence of VOCs in the air, as a result of using air fresheners, will also serve to improve your home’s indoor air quality. As you know, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is committed to helping home owners to enjoy the best indoor air quality possible. For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

3 Steps To De-cluttering Your Home

Depositphotos_46720083_s-2015In our last blog, we touched upon the topic of de-cluttering your home and detailed the benefits that come as a result. As explained, your home’s indoor air quality will vastly improve when it is void of unnecessary boxes, packages and other items that serve no purpose other than to take up space. Minimizing the chances of mould growth and dust mites will go a long way in improving your home’s indoor air quality.

But, as we also pointed out in our last blog, the entire de-cluttering process can be a long and arduous one. Many people who have homes filled with clutter want to start cleaning it all up but can’t begin to fathom how they will complete their jobs. As a result, they don’t begin any de-cluttering at all! In today’s blog, we’ll go through some steps that will assist you in de-cluttering your home.

Here are three:

1. Try to move all of your clutter to one location. Perhaps, the most overwhelming thing about starting the clean-up process is where to place all of that clutter taking up space throughout your home. If so, let’s focus on first things first. Instead of worrying about the cleaning process, let’s just start moving some things around. Choose a specific spot to place all of the things you’re considering getting rid of and place them there.

“If the amount of clutter in your home is overwhelming and you want a quick fix, do what you can to keep the clutter in one area in your home or rent a storage unit,” recommends Sara Bereika of SelfGrowth.com, “This should never be considered a permanent fix but you will at least be able to clean the majority of your home thoroughly. This will help you increase the quality of the air in your home and it will keep hallways and doorways hazard free.”

2. Donate items you no longer have use for. If you’re of the mind that placing all of your clutter in one location will only exacerbate the problem, we understand. After all, perhaps looking at the grand total of all of your junk will send you into a negative tailspin. And the last thing we want to do is discourage your clean-up. Instead of creating a new stockpile, get rid of items you no longer want. But remember that someone else may find uses for them.

“Why horde that second blender when your college-bound nephew could use it for mixing margaritas?” asks Gregory Go of Unclutterer.com, “Or how about all those clothes you never wear anymore? The stuff you don’t need anymore might be useful for someone else. Donating your unused stuff is a fine way to up your charitable budget without using cash.” Go also reminds us that that more we give away, the less items that need to be manufactured. And this helps the environment!

3. Consider the money you can make. You don’t necessarily have to donate everything you no longer need. If money is a motivator – and when isn’t it? – you may want to consider how much cash you’re sitting on by not starting your de-cluttering process. “Many of the items that are cluttering our house, can be valuable to someone else,” says Paris Parsa of The Green Minimalist blog.

“An item seating in the garage for many years, taking room and cluttering our mind and house, could be sold on E-bay or Craigslist. Sometimes a good sum of money can be made. Let those stuff go and try to sell them. This way, you make money and someone else that could use this item, will have a chance to enjoy it. It is a win, win situation.” Here’s hoping these steps will help start the process of having your home become the cleanest it has ever been!

For more information on DF Technical & Consulting Service Ltd.’s Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

Detailing The Benefits Of De-cluttering

Depositphotos_47311931_s-2015The back-to-school season is upon us. And, while classrooms aren’t quite ready to be filled just yet – don’t worry kids, you still have a few more weeks to go! – it’s that time of year when parents and students alike are preparing for the transition. In many cases, this transition requires the purchasing of new clothing and supplies. And, as a result, many people feel the need to go through their wardrobes and belongings to get rid of some no-longer-in-use items.

It can be argued that back-to-school preparations are summer’s version of spring cleaning time. Really, there is no bad time to clean up around the house. And this is especially true if your cleaning routines involve the de-cluttering of your home. Clutter, as you may know, is a big-time opponent of good indoor air quality. The more clutter you have, the more opportunities you give for dust to collect.

The more dust that collects, the more dust mites you allow into your home. These known allergens can cause a lot of havoc for those with allergies and asthma symptoms. Clutter also disables homeowners from identifying moisture spots. Especially when hidden, areas of moisture in the home can also allow for the development of mould. As you likely also know, mould also promotes an unhealthy breathing environment.

De-cluttering, however, is often looked upon as an arduous task. In truth, it can take a lot of time and effort. Of course, this all depends on the amount of clutter that exists in your home. Worst case scenario hoarding is obviously representative of the most severe types of clutter that exist. In the hopes that you haven’t quite got a hoarding problem, rest assure that you can get through all that soon-to-be-tossed-away junk.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “Reduce the amount of clutter in your home or office as best you can by asking for help from friends, family or a professional,” advises Sara Bereika of SelfGrowth.com, “For many this can be easier said than done. But if you or your family has acquired several colds and illnesses, it is time to make a change. It’s true the clutter may not be the leading cause of illness, but it isn’t helping you or your family to stay healthy either.”

It’s also important to remember that, in addition to improving the quality of air in your home, de-cluttering will help you to enjoy your living space a lot more. “What percentage of your home is used for clutter storage?” asks Gregory Go of Unclutterer.com, “You may be shocked to learn the percentage of your rent or mortgage payments being used to store that old TV, extra couch, and broken coffee maker.”

Not only will you be able to enjoy more of your home, but you’ll be able to spend your time more wisely. Think about it. Going forward, you’ll have a lot less to clean and tidy, right? This gives you more time to do with your life as you please. “If you have less stuff and less to do, you will automatically gain more time,” reminds Paris Parsa of The Green Minimalist blog. “Time the the most valuable possessions we all have. Don’t replace it with stuff. Don’t waste it. Life is short.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are big proponents for de-cluttered homes. Knowing the importance of your home’s indoor air quality, it only makes sense for you to give yourself as great a chance as possible of minimizing dust mites, mould and other detriments to the air that you breathe. We highly recommend our Air Quality Services at the completion of your de-cluttering job. For more information, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

4 Investments That Improve Indoor Air Quality At Work

Plants for Window Decoration. Office WindowYou spend a lot of time in your home. Naturally. So, as a result, it’s important to keep the air in your home as free from pollutants as possible. It only makes sense if you’re trying to maintain optimum health. And who isn’t? In our last blog, we listed a number of ways that you can work to improve the indoor air quality of your home. But, your home isn’t the only place where you spend a lot of time. Most of us spend a lot of time at work as well.

As a result, it can be argued that it’s just as important to maintain good indoor air quality in the workplace. Of course, this benefits you, your co-workers and all visitors to your company’s place of business. Steps to improving the indoor air quality of your workplace aren’t all that much different than they are for improving the air in your home. However, there are some obvious differences between the two environments.

More people are bound to enter and exit your workplace than your home on a daily basis. As a result, it is a lot more likely that people will be bringing in contaminants from the outdoors into the workplace. We recently blogged about how good a job Canadians are doing at maintaining good indoor air quality simply through the common practice of removing their shoes at the door. But this doesn’t happen at work, does it? So what can be done to improve the air at your job?

Here are four investments that improve indoor air quality at work:

1. Mops. It may sound like a no-brainer, but mopping up the floors after each work day is a good way to ensure that all of the contaminants left behind by workers are removed. According to Electrocorp, “technologically advanced microfibre mops and dusting cloths, in particular, can capture more soiling than traditional cotton products…and without the use of potentially harmful cleaning solutions.”

2. Floor mats. Your workplace’s cleaning routines will certainly be made a lot easier if you don’t have that much to clean to begin with. To minimize the amount of contaminants that enter your workplace, place floor mats at each entrance so that people can scrape the bottoms of their shoes before entering. “All mats should be cleaned regularly to ensure their effectiveness,” reminds Electrocorp.

3. Plants. We also recently blogged about the numerous houseplants that help to improve indoor air quality. Why not add a little green to your working environment to produce the same effect? “Plants are mother nature’s own air filter, capturing dust and pollutants while simultaneously releasing fresh oxygen back in the environment,” says SmartFog.com, “NASA even conducted a study back in the late 1970s, revealing the air-purifying power of several popular plants.”

4. Humidifiers. You may be wondering how humidifiers can improve the indoor air quality of workplaces. According to SmartFog.com, they won’t completely protect your workplace from airborne pollutants, but they will help to promote cleaner air. “Humidifiers live up to their namesake by releasing moisture vapour into the air; thus, raising the humidity,” says the site, “This moisture vapour creates resistance in the air, restricting the ability of germs to travel.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that work to improve the indoor air quality of any home or workplace. Our team is highly experienced at maximizing inspection processes to locate all areas of concern. Let’s improve the health and wellness of all those you live and work with today! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

3 Ways To Improve The Indoor Air Quality Of Your Home

Relaxed young woman at home with raised armsIt should come as no surprise to you that DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. are big proponents for the purification of the air you breathe in your homes. The various services that we offer seek to improve your indoor air quality as much as possible. Readers of our blog know, however, that there are many steps that we can all take to maintain the purest of air in our homes. After all, many inhibitors to clean breathing air are caused by what we do each day.

Take cigarette smoking, for example. Arguably, there is nothing worse that you can do for the quality of your air. Not only does smoking invite toxins into your own body, but the secondhand smoke that you put out into the air includes numerous hazards to the health of anyone who comes into contact with it. The obvious solution would be to quit smoking or, at least, ensure that it is done outside of the home. But what else can be done to improve your home?

Here are three ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home:

1. Properly ventilating your home. It’s important to not allow the air in your home to become old and musty. Opening the windows is a great step to ensuring that there is a flow of fresh air entering your living environment. Keep in mind that allergens can’t always be vacuumed away. When they become airborne, it’s important to give them an escape route. Do your best to avoid poor ventilation in your home.

“A common problem, especially in newer homes is that they are tightly sealed to conserve energy,” reports FreeDrinkingWater.com, “This causes a lack of airflow so fresh air cannot make its way inside. Without proper ventilation indoor air cannot circulate and becomes stale and stagnant. This means all of the contaminants floating around indoors have no way to escape. This causes allergic reactions, discomfort, and other health concerns.”

2. Looking for “green labels” when buying new carpet or furniture. One of the biggest contributors to poor indoor air quality is the presence of VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are found in many carpets and types of furniture. You’ll be able to tell if you can smell them. That “brand new” scent is actually the presence of VOCs, which can produce symptoms of respiratory irritation, nausea and headaches.

Brandon Terry confirms this on the Disability Blog. “Any new furnishing will increase the VOCs in your home, but new carpet can be one of the biggest offenders,” he reveals, “Many factors go into the number of VOCs a carpet produces… so the Carpet and Rug Institute simplified everything by creating a certification process for carpets that emit a low amount of VOCs. Carpets that pass the testing are awarded a ‘green label.’”

3. Decreasing humidity in the home. Readers of our blog are also well aware of how much moisture impacts indoor air quality. Naturally, the more humid an environment is, the more moisture that will be present in it. With moisture comes the breeding ground for dust mites, mould, mildew and other viruses and bacteria. When these microscopic pollutants become airborne, they can cause serious health effects.

FreeDrinkingWater.com explains in further detail. “These tiny contaminants are released into the air and then into your lungs,” the website explains, “High humidity can also promote household materials to release chemicals such as formaldehyde into the air as a pungent vapour. Formaldehyde is a colourless, strong smelling gas and is a strong irritant that affects the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.”

For more information about the services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. that promote better indoor air quality, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. August 13, 2015 at 9:39 am

    This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me.
    Thanks a lot!

Leave A Comment

Revisiting The Dangers Of Asbestos

Asbestos danger warning sign on glass window at old rusty toxic contaminated building.These days, the term “asbestos” is practically a bad word. And perhaps it can be argued that it should be considering how dangerous it is to our health! Today, we should all be well aware of the dangers of asbestos as it relates to our respiratory systems. Breathing in its fibres has been known to cause a number of fatal cancers. At one point, however, asbestos was actually seen as a protector, of sorts.

How was asbestos once used to protect people? As Lee Snodgrass explains on ThisOldHouse.com, asbestos even gets its name from its ability to ward off fires. “The name has its origin in the Greek word for inextinguishable,” he informs, “A highly-effective and inexpensive fire-retardant material and thermal and acoustic insulator, asbestos was used extensively in home construction from the early 1940s through the 1970s.”

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network adds that asbestos was also looked upon as an incredibly useful material thanks to these qualities. “Asbestos has many uses due to its inherent properties,” reports their website, “A strong, durable and flexible material, asbestos acts as an insulator because it does not conduct heat; moreover, it is relatively chemically inert, or unreactive. Due to these properties, asbestos has high commercial value.”

So what makes asbestos so dangerous? By itself, asbestos is practically harmless. You might say that you can relate its dangerousness to that of a sleeping mountain lion or venomous snake. As long as they are not provoked, you should not be in harm’s way. Like these examples from the animal kingdom, asbestos should also not be provoked. “When disturbed, tiny abrasive asbestos fibers are easily inhaled, which damages lung tissue and can cause cancer,” reveals Snodgrass.

So why was asbestos ever used? Again, being seen as a fireproof way to insulate homes, asbestos was once viewed a very valuable material. Snodgrass explains that “in homes built prior to 1975, asbestos is most commonly found as thermal insulation on basement boilers and pipes.” However, it can also be found in a variety of different areas throughout the home. The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network notes that it still has several contemporary uses.

What are the contemporary uses of asbestos? They include insulation around windows, gaskets, furnaces and pipes. It is also used to reinforce building products such as tiles and cement. Asbestos has also been used in fire-resistant products such as drywall and fabrics. As well, it has been known to improve the durability of vehicle brakes, transmissions and clutches. So both your car and your home may contain asbestos!

So how can people avoid its dangers? “The danger comes from asbestos material that has been damaged over time,” reveals Snodgrass, “Asbestos that crumbles easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder is likely to release asbestos fibres and create a health hazard. If you suspect a part of your home may contain asbestos, check periodically for tears, abrasions or water damage.”

You may also want to enlist the help of DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Especially if you are planning any renovations of any kind, it is certainly wise to check for the presence of asbestos in your home before doing anything. We offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that test your home for traces of this dangerous material. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

2 Comments

  1. Mike-Reply
    September 21, 2015 at 1:07 am

    My house was built in 1978 and I need to do some major renovations. I’ve noticed that most of the basement walls are not insulated. Before I start taking walls down I want to make sure that there is no asbestos in the drywall or compound. Do you offer services outside the Edmonton area?

    thanks
    Mike

    • Jeff Wright-Reply
      September 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Mike,

      Yes it is always the safest option to determine exactly whether there could be asbestos containing materials present. Yes we do have offices around Alberta, so we certain can usually assist with an overall asbestos assessment. Should you require further information please contact me directly on my cell; 780-893-3544 and I would be happy to help. Thank you for your inquiry, Sincerely Jeff Wright.

Leave A Comment