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

855-668-3131
questions@dftechnical.ca
"

Doing Away With The Cold Room

Old cellar or cold room in the basementIn our last blog, we pointed out the importance of limiting the possibilities for mould to grow in your home during the coldest months of the year. For the record, you don’t want mould in your home. Not only does it look gross, but it’s simply bad for your health as well. Breathing in its microscopic spores has been known to severely impact respiratory systems. It’s especially bad for those with asthma and allergies.

As PolygonGroup.com explains it, “mould reproduces by emitting microscopic spores that float through the air. As you can imagine, too much mould in the air can adversely affect humans. Not only is mould is a known allergen, but it is also a cause of asthma and other respiratory conditions. If not properly controlled, mould can cause major problems for your home and its inhabitants.”

Our last blog provided a number of helpful tips for homeowners to implement during the upcoming colder months of the year. The theme that runs throughout each tip is “moisture prevention”. Are you doing your part in limiting moisture in your home? NuSiteGroup.com points out that many Canadians are actually contributing to mould growth thanks to their inability to break an unnecessary habit.

Do you have a cold room in your home? According to the website, such a room is no longer necessary in the modern world, as it can produce more harm than good. It would not be surprising if you grew up with a cold room in your home. Many of our parents used it to store certain foods so that they would remain fresh for longer periods of time. But as NuSiteGroup.com points out, this was before we had adequate means of refrigeration.

So what’s the problem with having a cold room? Simply put, it’s a mould producer! “A cold room may sound like a good idea in theory, but they can easily become a breeding ground for mould, which can extent to other areas of your basement and home if left untreated,” reports the Toronto-based website, “Mould’s needs are simple: these are ambient moisture and an organic, cellulose-based host.”

NuSiteGroup.com firmly states that “cold rooms are by nature moist”. It goes on to highly recommend the shutting down of cold rooms across the country. Before the arrival of modern refrigeration, cold rooms may have been worth the risk of mould growth, given that were no adequate alternatives to keeping meat fresh and vegetables crisp. However, with today’s technology, that certainly isn’t the case.

As far as the site is concerned, inviting mould into your home through the outdated cold room makes no sense. “There could also be better things to do with basement space than wasting it on a cold room which is probably underutilized anyway,” it reads, “You could turn it into a den or an extra bedroom and add real value to your property. If it’s a small cold room, you can create additional storage space, allowing you to do something great with the rest of your basement.”

If you are still utilizing a cold room in your home, it would be wise to check for the presence of mould. It could be affecting your health right now. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services that incorporate a number of inspection techniques to locate all sources of mould in your home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

2 Comments

  1. December 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

    great post and informative. Thanks for sharing

  2. January 18, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Absolutely correct, cold room can bring mold and can effect the air of your home, our wet basement had this issue as it wasn’t waterproofed.

Leave A Comment

*

Learning To Eliminate Household Mould When It’s Cold

bugOkay, the summer is certainly behind us, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to worry about the weather getting too cold just yet. Or is it? October will be upon us by the end of the week. And, as most Canadians will experience, chilly days are soon to become the norm. The leaves outside are already starting to turn colour. Yes, the fall season is here and winter is set to follow closely behind. So what does that mean for our health?

Well, surely it’s important to bundle up when going outside. That goes without saying. But when we’re inside, there are others measures that are important to take when it comes to protection from the cold. Sure, you’ll want to keep warm. But, keep in mind, that your home itself requires protection from the elements too. One of the main reasons for this is because with all of the added precipitation that comes with winter, there is bound to be more moisture entering your homes.

What’s wrong with moisture entering the home? Well, where there is moisture, there is mould. And the last thing you want is to invite opportunities for mould growth into your home during the year’s colder months. Not only does winter bring along snow that can cause flooding when it melts, but it also brings about much colder temperatures that produce condensation when meeting with the warm air inside your home.

What can be done to limit or prevent mould growth? According to PolygonGroup.com, you should remove all signs of mould from your home. However, it will require a lot more than simply cleaning the mould away to be rid of the problem for good. “To effectively rid your home of mould, you must address the source of the moisture,” says the site, “Controlling moisture is the key to controlling mould.”

How can moisture effectively be controlled? “Generally, this is done in one of two ways,” says PolygonGroup.com, “First, effectively dry and fix any leaks, spills, or other unintended instances of moisture. Second, utilize proper ventilation and air circulation in known moisture-prone areas.” This includes the exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchens. They should always be on during bathing and cooking.

There are other ways to ventilate your home, of course. But during the colder months of the year, you may find opening your windows a less than welcome activity. Believe it or not, it’s still recommended. Ted Shoemaker of Home Energy Magazine writes that “people often avoid ventilating rooms during the cold season to avoid loss of heat. But this, the German Energy Agency (dena) warns, brings a big risk with it: mould.”

How can opening the windows during the winter help to limit mould growth? Shoemaker notes that doing so “swiftly exchanges the moist air and minimizes the loss of energy. The wide practice of opening the windows a crack for longer periods only leads to a slow change of the air and increased heating costs.” By allowing moist air to exit the home, there will be fewer opportunities for it to encourage the development of mould.

Mould is a year round problem. But during the winter months, when we are a lot less likely to allow the air from the outdoors to circulate through our homes, there is greater potential for it to be a problem. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are keen on helping our customers to remove it for good. To learn more about our Mould Assessment Services, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

Debunking More Myths About Secondhand Smoke

Second hand smoke health care concept for cigarette smoking risks with human lungs in the shape of a head with one smoker and another innocent victim lung breathing the toxic fumes turning the organ black.All week long, our blog has been focusing predominantly on the topic of cigarette smoking and its incredibly harmful effects. By today’s standards, it should go without saying that smoking is bad for you. In fact, that’s an incredible understatement! One look at a package of cigarettes will tell you what you should know already. Smoking causes cancer. Cigarettes are killers. It’s as simple as that. All smokers are putting their lives at risk.

The problem is that the lives of non-smokers are also put at risk, thanks to secondhand smoke. As we pointed out in our last blog post, there are many myths about secondhand smoke that need to be exposed. This is because smoke has the ability to impact the health of people who aren’t even in the vicinity of the cigarette being smoked at the time it is being smoked! It’s no wonder smoking is banned from so many different public places.

According to Health Canada, “in Canada, 15% of homes have at least one regular smoker, and 25% of Canadians are exposed to secondhand smoke in a car or vehicle. Even in homes where regular smoking does not take place, 14% still allow smoking inside.” Clearly, cigarette smoking is still a problem for Canadian families. So evidently, there are many more myths about secondhand smoke that needs to be debunked. Let’s get to it!

Secondhand smoke problems are myths themselves. Yes, there are people who believe that as long as you’re not doing the smoking yourself, you’re fine. Ridiculous, right? On WebMD.com, David Freeman firmly states that “tobacco smoke also harms the people around you. In the U.S., secondhand smoke causes about 50,000 deaths a year…It’s been estimated that a waiter or waitress who works a single eight-hour shift in a smoky bar inhales as much toxic smoke as a pack-a-day smoker.”

Secondhand smoke affects everyone the same way. This certainly isn’t true. Children are more vulnerable to secondhand smoke than adults. “Because they breathe faster, children inhale more air than adults relative to their body weight,” explains Uniprix.com, “This means they absorb more of the chemicals found in second-hand smoke, placing them at a greater risk for respiratory problems, learning difficulties, ear infections and colds.”

Unborn babies are protected from secondhand smoke. You’re likely aware that babies in the womb receive their nutrients from the mothers who carry them. As a result, most expectant mothers are very careful about what they choose to eat and drink. Obviously, the air that pregnant women breathe is also taken to their babies. Uniprix.com reveals that the chemical inhaled by pregnant women can affect the development of the baby’s organs.

“Light” cigarettes lower the risk of harm. Quoting Dr. Michael C. Fiore, who is a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin, Freeman writes that “cigarettes labeled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ are no safer than ordinary cigarettes.” Simply put by the doctor, “you don’t need to add anything to tobacco for it to kill you.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly believe that you don’t need to add anything to the air you breathe. Using scented air fresheners, for example, only contributes to the contaminants that are in the air. They mask terrible smells, but do not eliminate pollution. Cigarette smoke, of course, should also be kept away from the air you breathe. Contact us to learn more about how our Air Quality Services can help with your indoor air quality.

Call 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. DariuszPhD-Reply
    December 27, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Hello Im PhD Neurologist/toxicologist and sorry for that but you wrote purest stupidity and show lack of elementary knowledge, the problem with SHS is that science dont support that(I know regulation due to funding taxes state that SHS is dangerous but this dont mean they are supported by science)
    ” David Freeman firmly states that “tobacco smoke also harms the people around you. In the U.S., secondhand smoke causes about 50,000 deaths a year…It’s been estimated that a waiter or waitress who works a single eight-hour shift in a smoky bar inhales as much toxic smoke as a pack-a-day smoker.”” love this, the biggest stupidity, first of all where are the stidoes whch support that? second do you hear about rule that dose make posion?
    “It’s been estimated that a waiter or waitress who works a single eight-hour shift in a smoky bar inhales as much toxic smoke as a pack-a-day smoker” maybe check studies which look at that?
    waitrass must will be work more than year to be exposed to lvl comparable as for smoking one pack.

Leave A Comment

Exposing Myths About Secondhand Smoke

Smoking endangers the health of the childIn our last blog, we celebrated the fact that more than 25 years ago, Canada became the first country in the world to completely ban cigarette smoking on commercial national flights. Today, the “no smoking” sign is more popular than ever. With restaurants, office buildings and pretty much every other place you can go to banning cigarette smoking, we are currently living in the healthiest environments possible.

At least, most of us are. There are still people, of course, who choose to continue to smoke cigarettes. And while many of them choose to smoke outdoors – so as to not present the ill effects of secondhand smoke to their family members, friends and co-workers – cigarette smoke is still able to wreak its havoc. This is because it has an uncanny ability to both linger and seep into areas where it didn’t originally exist.

It’s important to not be tricked by the myths surrounding secondhand smoke. Many of them are used by smokers in order to justify their deadly habits. According to Health Canada, “in 2006, over 350,000 (9%) of Canadian children under 12 years old and over 600,000 children between 12 and 19 years old were exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes from cigarettes, cigars or pipes.” They note that this number is dropping, but nearly one million children are still affected each year.

So let’s expose some of the myths about secondhand smoke, shall we?

Smoking in another room is not harmful to non-smokers. As mentioned, smoke has the ability to drift from one location to another. So no one within a home is truly safe if smoking is being done inside of it. As Uniprix.com points out, “even if smoking takes place behind a closed door, second-hand smoke can drift to the rest of the house through cracks under doors, openings for plumbing and electrical cables and heating and air-conditioning ducts.”

Opening windows and turning on fans helps to eliminate smoke. In actuality, you’re not actually clearing the air of as much smoke as you may think. Health Canada reveals that “extensive studies have shown that there is no level of ventilation that will eliminate the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. In addition, opening a car or room window can result in air flow back into the room or car which may cause the smoke to be blown directly back at non-smokers.”

Air purifiers and air filters can remove smoke from the air. Not so. In fact, such devices only have the ability to mask the fact that smoke is present. “Composed of both gases and extra-fine particles, second-hand smoke cannot be completely filtered from the air by most air filters,” says Uniprix.com, “Air filters are designed to reduce the number of smoke particles from the air, but they do not eliminate the gases. As a result, many cancer-causing agents remain in the air for non-smokers to breathe in.”

Smoking when my family members aren’t around won’t affect them. As mentioned, smoke has the ability to linger. So just because you’re the only one home, at the time you decide to light up, it doesn’t mean that your family won’t be affected when they return. “Researchers found that secondhand smoke can remain in contaminated dust and surfaces, even if smoking took place days, weeks or months earlier,” reports Health Canada.

That last point is especially meaningful to the team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. The fact that air contaminants have the ability to remain within homes for long durations of time is one of the top reasons our Air Quality Services are so necessary. Maintaining the best possible indoor air quality in your home requires that it be tested. For more information on how we can help, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

Celebrating 25 Years Of Non-Smoking Flights

Depositphotos_14568615_s-2015Some of you may be too young to remember that there was once a time when cigarette smoking was permitted on airplanes. By today’s standards, smoking on a plane is an unheard of and crazy-to-even-think-about practice. Not only does cigarette smoke present the foulest of odours, but it carries countless toxins that pollute the air. As if horrible indoor air quality wasn’t bad enough, cigarette smoking also presents quite the fire hazard!

In 2015, we don’t even have to think about worrying about poor indoor air quality on planes due to cigarette smoke. In fact, in the past year, Canada and the United States marked the 25th anniversaries of the official bans on cigarette smoking on domestic airline flights. As No-Smoke.org informs, February 25, 1990 marked the official beginning of the cigarette smoking ban on airlines in the U.S. The site notes that the historic decision was made to benefit the health of all flight attendants and passengers.

It goes on to reveal just how much effort was put into finally making the ban a reality. According to No-Smoke.org, “2015 marks the 25 year anniversary of this important public health achievement – made possible by a broad coalition of health groups, incredible legislative champions – Senator Lautenberg and Senator Durbin (then Rep. Durbin), and tenacious flight attendants who were willing to speak up publicly for their right to breathe.”

In Canada, however, we can proudly say that we came to the no-smoking-on-planes decision a couple of months earlier. On December 18, 1989, Peter Mansbridge of CBC News revealed that, as of that date, it was illegal to smoke on commercial flights between Canadian cities. The ban was part of the Non-Smokers’ Health Act, he reported. “It has to be done in light of the fact we want to protect people working on the flights and also all those people who are really disturbed by smoking,” said Minister of Transport, Benoît Bouchard in an interview.

“This is fantastic news for preventive medicine,” added Ken Kyle of the Canadian Cancer Society, “Canada will now be the first country in the world to totally ban smoking on all domestic and international flights.” Incredibly, many Canadian airlines were upset at the news, citing upwards of $40 million in losses due to the smoking ban. Times have changed, however. Today, we should all celebrate the fact that, when flying, we will not be forced to succumb to the worst possible indoor air quality.

And why should we all celebrate? Stacy Simon of the American Cancer Society adds that years prior to these decisions, the US Surgeon General officially named secondhand smoke a serious health risk. In 1986, “the National Academy of Sciences called for a smoking ban on all domestic flights, citing research that showed flight attendants were exposed to smoke levels similar to those of a person living with a pack-a-day smoker,” she reveals.

Not that this information isn’t widely known in the year 2015, but back in the 1980’s, it appeared that the dangers of cigarette smoking weren’t all that obvious to everyone. Not that it needs to be reiterated today – or perhaps, it does – but cigarette smoking is arguably the worst thing a person can do for his or her health. But even worse, secondhand smoke can present lethal effects to those around the smoker!

It should go without saying that you should adopt a smoking ban in your own home. 25 years ago, airlines finally recognized the dangers that cigarette smoke brings to passengers and flight attendants. In 2015, there is no excuse to allow for it to enter your home and disrupt the breathing of anyone who enters it. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we greatly promote top-of-the-line indoor air quality and applaud any efforts to make it so.

Contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Call 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

5 Ways To Not Worsen Indoor Air Quality This Winter

Sad kid on window and winter snow is outsideWith colder weather on the way, most Canadians are asking themselves the same things. How can I keep warm this winter? For many of us, cold weather is no fun. Aside from its ability to bring about fun activities like skating, skiing and snowboarding, the winter also insists that we stay bundled up. Not every Canadian is a fan of winter, as a result. Thankfully, winter is still a few months off. But the time to prepare for it has come!

The only problem is that many of things that we do to keep warm in the winter can actually be bad for our health. In our last blog, we detailed how turning up the furnace or lighting up the fireplace can cause the emission of carbon monoxide into the air. As a result, the indoor air quality of our homes becomes negatively impacted. And worse, our health can be very seriously affected. How can we avoid this?

Here are five ways to not worsen indoor air quality this winter:

1. Don’t warm your car up in the garage. It’s a habit that most Canadians practice. After all, who likes sitting in an ice cold car? Most of us warm up our vehicles before driving them. But this must be done outside. As Dr. Joseph Mercola points out on his website, “carbon monoxide exposure can lead to weakness, nausea, disorientation, unconsciousness and even death. Fumes from cars or lawnmowers left running in enclosed spaces can endanger your health.”

2. Never smoke inside. Admittedly, cigarette smokers have it rough in the winter. They are regularly forced to smoke outdoors so as to not impact their family members and co-workers. Nearly every building you visit is considered a “no smoking” zone. Your house should always be one as well. No matter how cold it gets outside, let the smoker in your family know that smoking indoors is strictly prohibited.

3. Try to avoid chemical-rich household products. Winter usually entails closed windows. And with less fresh air circulating through your home, you’ll want to be careful not to be breathing in the toxic fumes of your everyday household products. “Hair and nail products, cleaning products, and art and hobby supplies can increase the levels of VOCs in your home,” explains Dr. Mercola, “Some of the VOCs in these products have been linked to cancer, headaches, eye and throat irritation and worsened asthma.”

4. Check and maintain your heating system. Quite obviously, you’ll be turning up the heat when the winter comes. But don’t assume that your heating and air conditioning systems have gone the entire summer without any dust or debris build-up. As well, it’s important to remember that your home will need constant cleaning to keep dust at a minimum. You won’t have the luxury of keeping your windows open the way you did during the summer.

Dorit Sasson of HuffingtonPost.com strongly encourages this as an eco-friendly means of improving indoor air quality. “Your home is constantly exposed to dust particles and when your cooling or heating systems are turned on, and this causes instant dust flow,” she writes, “Furnace filters need to be cleaned regularly as well as those from AC units. There are certified technicians who do this all year round.”

5. Take advantage of DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd.’s Air Quality Services. We proudly provide our clients with very careful inspections of their homes in order to locate air quality problems that could lead to negative health issues. Before the winter arrives, give yourself the peace of mind in knowing your home’s indoor air quality is the best that it can be. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment

Eliminating Carbon Monoxide From Your Home

Carbon Monoxide AlarmIn our last blog, we pointed out that carbon monoxide is not alone in being a “silent killer”. Radon is another colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that has been known to have very negative effects on our health when trapped in confined spaces. As a result, it’s important to significantly limit the amount that seeps into our homes. Of course, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t all be mindful of carbon monoxide at all times.

With summer about to make its official exit and the weather about to dramatically cool down, Canadians are bound to find ways to keep warm indoors. And that often entails making more use of the furnace and even firing up the old fireplace. Both of these heat-inviting practices are also causes for carbon monoxide to escape into the environment. And when that environment is your home, you’re not doing your health any favours.

How exactly is carbon monoxide produced? According to Canada Safety Council, the “silent killer” comes from the incomplete burning of fuels. “It can be released by gas furnaces, hot water heaters, cars, fireplaces, wood stoves and kerosene heaters,” informs their website, “Faulty burners or clogged chimneys are often part of the problem.” With autumn nearly here and winter to follow, it will be important to take measures not to invite CO into your homes.

How can carbon monoxide gas be limited or avoided altogether? “To avoid the production of CO, you should have your chimney, furnace and gas-fired appliances checked by professional technicians every year,” recommends Canada Safety Council. Of course, it’s also wise to have carbon monoxide detectors in the home. According to CBC News, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs insists upon it.

Chris Harrow is the organization’s vice-president. “We’re a strong advocate of that,” he is quoted as saying, “These devices do and can save your life. It’s a small investment to have that protection for your family in the house.” CBC News also points out that people should ensure that their homes have good ventilation. When the winter comes, it’ll be a good idea to check to make sure that snow and leaves aren’t blocking any vents.

But what is it about carbon monoxide that makes it so dangerous? Health Canada’s website puts it best: “When you breathe in carbon monoxide it binds with a protein in your blood called haemoglobin and reduces the ability of the blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poising get worse as CO levels and exposure time increase.” They go on to report that headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath are just a few of the symptoms.

CO is also very dangerous because it can’t be detected. Remember that it can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. The more people unknowingly breathe it in, the greater its ability to absorb oxygen. And this can cause any or all of the above mentioned symptoms. Not to mention, its worst side effect is death. CBC News reports that there were 380 accidental deaths in Canada due to carbon monoxide between 2000 and 2009. The numbers are based on Statistics Canada findings.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning very seriously. Our Air Quality Services provide our clients with meticulous inspections of their homes in order to seek out and eliminate any air quality problems that could lead to severe health issues. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

9 Comments

  1. October 1, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    I’ve been browsing on-line more than three hours nowadays,
    yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s lovely worth sufficient for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers
    made good content material as you did, the web will likely be a
    lot more helpful than ever before.

  2. I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet users, its really really good piece
    of writing on building up new web site.

  3. October 19, 2015 at 4:09 am

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It’s always exciting to read through articles from other writers and use a little something from their sites.

  4. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog.

    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more
    enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.
    Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Superb work!

  5. October 19, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.

    Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers?

    I’d definitely appreciate it.

    • Dennis French-Reply
      October 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      There are good blog writers out there that can be researched. Try not to get too detailed but informative

  6. October 23, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Hello everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this web
    page, and piece of writing is truly fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these articles.

  7. October 26, 2015 at 3:43 am

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.

  8. Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and coverage!

    Keep up the good works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

Leave A Comment

The Importance Of Reducing Radon In Your Home

radon element Most people are aware that carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that needs to be kept out of our homes at all costs. One of the things that make the gas so harmful is that it is both colourless and odourless. As a result, it’s practically impossible to know if it is even present in the home. And while a carbon monoxide detector may take care of that, it’s not the only colourless and odourless gas that we should be worried about. Radon is also a danger.

What is radon exactly? In addition to being unable to see or smell this gas, we can’t do a whole lot to prevent its presence. Radon actually comes naturally from our environment, as it is released into the air by the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “once released, radon breaks down into radioactive elements that can attach to dust and other substances in the air we breathe. It’s also a common type of radiation exposure.”

So just how dangerous is radon? Unfortunately, this gas can have disastrous effects on our health. Health Canada informs us that radon is actually the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking! However, as long as radon is kept outdoors, it shouldn’t present any real dangers. This is because the outdoor air is able to dilute the gas to low concentrations, says Health Canada. Basically, as long as radon is kept out of our homes, we’re safe.

But how does radon get into our homes? It’s pretty common to have soil and rocks present in the areas of where we live. And when radon escapes from the soil and rocks around our homes, it can build up in poorly ventilated enclosed spaces. This is when radon becomes dangerous. According to Health Canada, if an indoor radon level exceeds 200 Bq/m3, measures should be taken to lower it.

How can we lower radon levels in our homes? Health Canada believes that “reducing the amount of radon in your home is easy. Techniques to lower radon levels are effective and can save lives. Radon levels in most homes can be reduced by more than 80% for about the same cost as other common home repairs such as replacing the furnace or air conditioner.” Thankfully, the Canadian Cancer Society unveils a few of those techniques.

The first is to install an active soil depressurization system. Also known as a “sub-slab depressurization system”, it works to reduce the concentration of radon in the soil, especially next to your home’s foundation. They also recommend that you seal all cracks and holes in the basement floors and walls. This will help to prevent radon gas from seeping into the home. You’ll also want to cover all sump pumps and drains.

In addition, it is recommended that you increase air circulation in the home by regularly opening your windows. You can also install a mechanical ventilation system in order to promote a healthy balance of indoor air and outdoor air. Health Canada adds, however, that radon is almost always present in most homes. It’s important to discover just how much is there. Therefore, getting a test is your best bet.

“Radon levels in a home can vary a lot from hour to hour and day to day, so the most accurate way to find out if you have a problem is to measure radon levels in your home for at least 3 months,” says Health Canada. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that diligently seek to locate all sources of air pollution in the home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

2 Comments

  1. joe-Reply
    April 5, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I am all for preventitive measures to reduce the incoming radon but I have issue with your recommendation to cover floor drains. Tell that to an insurance company and see how fast they drop you as a client. It’s hard to even read a recommendation that says such a thing.

    • Dennis French-Reply
      April 5, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      You are correct that a floor drain for water draining needs to remain open to allow water to drain away in the event of a line or tank failure. There are other cover plates and such in floors that are there for clean out access and these can be sealed when not needing access. Also the pipe to concrete joint int eh water floor drain should be seal, not the drain itself. The Radon leaks around the joint between the pipe and the concrete.

Leave A Comment

4 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The Fall

Lovely boy of two years looking out of the window on yellow autumn treeNot that you needed us to point it out, but over our past few blogs, we’ve noted that, for all intents and purposes, summer is over. In the coming months, we will be experiencing colder temperatures. We all know it. It’s inevitable, here in Canada. And, with that said, there will be new measures that we’ll all need to take in order to ensure that we are enjoying the highest indoor air quality possible.

It’s not as easy to do in the fall and winter as it is in the summer. We can’t keep our windows open the way that the warm temperatures during the summer allowed us to. As a result, we can’t exactly allow for fresh air to circulate within our homes as often. So what can we do to improve indoor air quality during the colder months of the year? In today’s blog, we’ll provide a few answers to that question.

Here are four ways to improve indoor air quality during the fall:

1. Avoid using chemical-based cleaning products. By now, you’re likely aware of the negative effects that volatile organic compounds have on the air we breathe. With less of an ability to let fresh air into our homes, we’ll all be tempted to keep our homes fresh smelling using other sources. However, as Willem Maas points out on GreenHomeGuide.com, “the powerful chemicals in many conventional cleaning products can have a toxic effect on human skin and lungs.”

2. Inspect your air conditioner. The colder it gets, the more likely you are to turn up the heat when you’re inside. BernerAir.com reminds us that “fall is a great time of year to have your air conditioning/heating unit inspected by a professional. Leaves and other debris can get inside of the units and hamper their performance. A semi-annual inspection will ensure the unit is functioning properly and is ready to keep your warm throughout the colder winter months.”

3. Dispose of pollution-causing household products. Did you do any painting over the summer and still have some paint left over? Did you wash your car and clean its interior with any sprays or aerosols? These and other common tasks often leave behind products that can do more damage than good by simply being present in the home. Maas reminds us that it’s wise to get rid of these chemical-based products.

“Dispose of unused paint, solvents, pesticides, and other household chemicals promptly, and tightly close the containers of products still in use,” he insists, “These products can emit harmful gases that pollute the air and may cause health problems. Minimize the use of hazardous products as much as possible. For essential household chemicals, buy them in smaller sizes that you can use right away.”

4. Open the windows periodically. Yes, you read that right. Even though we began this blog by pointing out that colder weather often prohibits us from opening the windows, you still may want to take advantage of opportunities to let fresh air into your homes this fall. “If you are not sensitive to fall allergens, this is an excellent time of the year to air out your house,” says BernerAir.com.

In fact, the site goes on to point out that “before the temperatures drop below comfortable levels, fall is a season that allows you to give your heating and air equipment a much needed break. Open windows, and let clean, fresh air circulate through your house. This will help you rid your home of air that has grown stagnant and possibly contaminated with various pollutants.”

For more information, on how to improve your home’s indoor air quality this fall, call DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca. Be sure to ask us about our Air Quality Services.

One Comment

  1. October 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    My wife and I love the fall! We’ve also been looking for ways to improve the air quality in our home. I think giving our air equipment a break and opening some windows during the day is a great idea. I think this will help us maintain our air system and not over use it. I know during this time of year is when we start to get sick more often. I think maintaining our air quality will help us stay healthier. Thanks for the great suggestions!

Leave A Comment

3 Ways That Cold Weather Affects Indoor Air Quality

Feet in wool socks warming by cozy fireIn our last blog, we explored a few of the ways that cold weather can impact air quality. We noted that the colder air keeps pollutants closer to the ground, making it harder for many of us to breathe. This is especially true for asthmatics. As well, we noted that warming up the car – a common cold weather practice – serves to emit more carbon monoxide into our air than normal. But does cold weather also impact indoor air quality?

According to Senior Life Newspapers, it sure does. They report that the American Lung Association finds that “while cold weather is not often thought of as an asthma trigger, the cold, dry winter air does affect people with asthma.” And while asthma sufferers are most likely to be impacted by colder weather, it’s important for everyone to take precautions during the colder months of the year – even when they are inside.

Here are three ways that cold weather affects indoor air quality:

1. It encourages fireplace use. Naturally, we all wish to stay warmer during the colder months of the year. The idea of snuggling up on the couch underneath a blanket is a welcome one during the winter. And while there’s nothing wrong with staying indoors, it often brings about the need to use fireplaces to keep the indoor air comfortably warm. What could be so bad about using a fireplace during the winter?

According to Alberta’s Fort Air Partnership, fireplaces produce similar harmful effects as car emissions. “Some sources of pollution, like industrial emissions, stay fairly constant throughout the year, no matter what the season,” reads their website, “But roaring fireplaces and wood stoves and idling vehicles in the winter all add up to higher levels of particulate matter (the particles that make up smoke) and carbon monoxide (from vehicle emissions).”

2. It limits ventilation. During the summer months, it makes perfect sense to keep your windows open. Most people love the idea of welcoming fresh air into their homes in an effort to allow the stagnant air from within to escape. Allowing for air to circulate throughout your home is a good idea, especially considering that good ventilation helps to lower the amount of mould-causing moisture in the home. The winter, however, takes away this freedom.

“Indoor air quality also becomes a greater concern during the winter because of the amount of time that people stay inside with poor ventilation,” notes Fort Air Partnership, “Without adequate circulation, carbon dioxide levels can become an issue, leading to headaches and lethargy. Generally, outdoor air quality is better than indoor air, so the best antidote is to get outside regularly, open windows for short periods if possible and keep fireplaces and ventilation systems clean and maintained.”

3. It increases the ability to spread germs. The longer that we’re cooped up indoors, the easier it is to succumb to the passing along of germs. Without an escape route to the outside world, germs that are sneezed or coughed out by our family members and friends can more easily be picked up. Of course, this is why it is recommended that you stay home from school or work when you are sick.

Your indoor air quality is important all year round. But with the colder months of the year approaching, it will be especially important to be on top of routines that will promote clean air within the confines of your home. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to maximize the benefits you receive from your home’s indoor air quality. For more information, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Leave A Comment