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3 Household Items That Present Health Hazards

Vacuuming the carpetThis week, our blog has been focused on the dangers of asbestos. As we’ve mentioned, there is really no limit to the amount of damage that the material can do to our lungs. So, there should really be no limit to the amount of information you get about why to avoid it. As you may be aware, asbestos was once popularly used, predominantly as an insulation material in homes and office buildings. Renovations to such buildings have been known to send asbestos fibres into the air.

Breathing in these fibres has been known to lead to lung cancer as well as other fatal respiratory diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma. There is no shortage to the amount of protection we should all be giving our lungs. So, in addition to checking your home for asbestos before any renovations are made, it’s pretty important that you keep mindful of other materials in your home that may also present health hazards.

Here are three:

1. Carpeting. These days, many home owners opt for hardwood flooring throughout their homes. Not only does it help for the home to have a sleeker and cleaner look, but it also helps for the home to be safer. Firstly, carpet is well known for collecting dust and, as such, requires regular vacuuming. The more dust in your home, the more susceptible you are to the allergens that are present as a result of dust mites.

As well, as Dr. Joseph Mercola reports on his website, “indoor carpeting has recently come under greater scrutiny because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with new carpet installation. The glue and dyes used with carpeting are known to emit VOCs, which can be harmful to your health in high concentrations. However, the initial VOC emissions will often subside after the first few days following.”

2. Pressed wood products. Not all of our wood furniture is made from solid wood. Many of our homes inhabit desks, coffee tables, shelves and other types of furniture that are made from pressed wood. And while these particular items are generally sturdy enough to do their jobs, it takes a little bit of extra work to keep all of that “faux wood” together. Dr. Mercola explains that the glue used to do so isn’t exactly safe.

“The glue that holds the wood particles in place may use urea-formaldehyde as a resin,” he reveals, “The U.S. EPA estimates that this is the largest source of formaldehyde emissions indoors. Formaldehyde exposure can set off watery eyes, burning eyes and throat, difficulty breathing, and asthma attacks. Scientists also know that it can cause cancer in animals. The risk is greater with older pressed wood products, since newer ones are better regulated.”

3. Laser printers. This one may catch you by surprise. What could possibly be wrong with using a laser printer? “A 2007 study found that some laser printers give off ultra-fine particles that can cause serious health problems,” reveals Dr. Mercola, “Another study confirmed that laser and ink-jet printers can releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone particulates. All of these have been linked with heart and lung disease.”

He also points out that household items such as mothballs, paint, air fresheners, cleaning products and even baby bottles all pose potential health hazards. Dr. Mercola admits that this can be overwhelming, but there are ways to limit your exposure. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we believe strongly in the need to inspect your home to determine its indoor air quality.

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.

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Canada Now Realizes That All Asbestos Is Dangerous

no asbestos sign illustration design over a white backgroundIn our latest blog, we highlighted the importance of having your property inspected for asbestos before doing any renovations. We noted that asbestos, all by itself, isn’t particularly dangerous. However, when it is disturbed and its fibres become airborne, asbestos becomes a major health hazard that could lead to death. It’s certainly no laughing matter. Lung cancer is just one of the many fatal respiratory issues that could arise from inhaling asbestos fibres.

So why would asbestos ever be used? Well, prior to the 1990s, it was seen as an affordable and reliable solution to insulation within homes. As well, there was a thought that some forms of asbestos were less harmful than others. However, as Lynn Dejardins reports for Radio Canada International, Canada has finally recognized that all types of asbestos are dangerous. She writes that a government website has now acknowledged the material’s penchant for causing cancer.

“Long after the World Health Organization, medical bodies and other industrialized countries declared asbestos to be a carcinogen, Canada has finally admitted on a government website that ‘breathing in asbestos fibres can cause cancer and other diseases,’” Desjardins reveals in an article from July of this year. Apparently, getting the nation to admit to this has been a long time coming.

Pat Martin is a member of Parliament. Desjardins writes that he has been campaigning for Canada to recognize asbestos for the disease-causing material that it is for quite some time. Martin has lost many friends to asbestos-related diseases and has fought long and hard to see it banned in Canada. Our nation, it seems, has been one to support the production and use of asbestos for far too long.

“Frankly, Canada’s policy on asbestos has been morally and ethically reprehensible,” he was quoted as saying, “Not only were we one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of asbestos, we were probably the world’s number one cheerleader in trying to promote Canadian asbestos.” Martin’s fight has helped for Health Canada’s website to finally change its view on the material.

“Health Canada’s website used to say that one from of asbestos—chrysotile was less potent and did less damage than did other kinds,” Desjardins informs us, “It also used to say the substance was dangerous if inhaled in ‘significant quantities.’ The WHO says all kinds of asbestos are carcinogenic and there is no safe level of exposure…These few changes on the government website may seem innocuous, but Martin thinks they are a significant change that could eventually lead to a ban.”

She reveals that, unfortunately, Canada has still not banned asbestos. Worse than that, the nation continues to import products, such as brake pads, that contain the product. According to Martin, the nation’s commercial interests are killing Canadians. “More Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial and occupational causes combined,” he says, “Yet for political reasons, and because of commercial interests we’ve been laggards on this file and I can only hope this is one step closer to doing the honourable thing and…banning it altogether.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know all too well just how dangerous asbestos is. It’s vitally important that you have it removed from your property if you plan on doing any renovations that may disturb the material. If it’s present in your property, you need to know about it. Our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services can certainly help with that.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Checking For Asbestos Before You Renovate

Danger Asbestos vintage grunge poster, vector illustratorIs a newly-renovated kitchen on your Christmas wish list? If so, you’re not likely to be alone. Families all across Canada enjoy sprucing up the various living areas of their homes. It can almost feel like you live in a new home once a new renovation has been completed. They’re often expensive, of course. And, if not done properly, they can be dangerous too. Wait, what? How can renovations be dangerous?

These days, the words “renovate” and “asbestos” should go hand-in-hand. As in, before you decide to renovate your home, be sure to have it checked for asbestos. “If your home was built before 1990, then you are more likely to have asbestos in your home,” explains HealthLink BC, “It could be in the insulation wrapped around your furnace ducts or pipes, as well as in your floor tiles and other areas.”

So what’s the big deal if asbestos is in my home? Well, this is why “renovate” and “asbestos” have an interesting relationship. You see, if asbestos goes undisturbed, there really isn’t anything to worry about. However, when asbestos fibres get airborne, they are susceptible to getting breathed in and trapped in our lungs. Plain and simple, this is bad news. Asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs), lung cancer and mesothelioma are known health problems caused by asbestos.

Summer Green is the owner of RemovAll Remediation Services in Victoria, British Columbia. She has plenty of experience dealing with the presence of asbestos in homes that are being renovated. As reported by Megan Cole of The Canadian Press via Global News, Green advises that people follow specific guidelines when dealing with asbestos removal. For example, wetting it to avoid the disbursement of airborne fibres may help.

She explains that breathing in asbestos fibres is a lot worse than breathing in fibreglass fibres. “You can go up in an attic and breathe in fibreglass insulation and it can get in your lungs, and it can cause problems, but with fibreglass insulation the fibres are straight fibres,” Green is quoted as saying, “But with an asbestos fibre no matter how small you make it or break it down they are constantly splitting and have a barb on them.”

What precautions can be taken to avoid asbestos-related health problems? Firstly, it will be important to determine whether or not there is asbestos present in the home before you renovate. HealthLink BC advises that your visually check out all hot water pipers and furnace air ducts to see if asbestos or insulation material is either breaking or coming apart. It’s important that it not be disturbed so as to not introduce its fibres into the air.

“If you are renovating an older house, be alert to unexpected sources of asbestos,” continues HealthLink BC, “Get a professional opinion before starting the renovation and hire a professional to conduct the removal. Power-sanding floor tiles, plaster walls or partitions made partly from asbestos can release dangerous quantities of inhalable fibres into the air.” Needless to say, it’s important to take the danger away from the renovating process.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are committed to helping our customers renovate their homes in the safest ways possible. We proudly offer Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services that involve asbestos testing, onsite assessments, sampling and analysis of the materials collected. 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 Easy Ways To Keep Your Home Clean On A Regular Basis

Depositphotos_35983849_s-2015With winter coming, Canadians will be provided with many more ways to mess up their homes. With numerous opportunities to bring dirt in from outdoors thanks to the wet boots we’ll be wearing, it stands to reason that additional cleanups will be in order. Cleaning up, by the way, should be a year-round chore. Yes, it’s not always all that fun. And it does take time. But the tidier your home is, the better your indoor air quality will be.

And what’s the big deal about indoor air quality? Well, consider just how much time you spend in your home. The amount of time, no matter how little or how much it is, is bound to increase during the winter’s cold months. And when you bring moisture into the home (remember those wet boots?), you provide more opportunities for mould to grow in your home. Mould spores are known allergens. So keeping your home as clean as possible is simply good for your health.

Here are three easy ways to keep your home clean on a regular basis:

1. Clean as you go. Most of us have “cleaning days” that are usually reserved for the weekend. However, many of our weekends get busy with other plans, so we often tend to postpone our promises to clean up. This only makes more of a mess of things. And, as a result, we never really get the clean homes that we dream of. The best way to avoid the skipping of “cleaning days” is to not have them at all! Instead, just clean as you go.

On ApartmentTherapy.com, Adrienne Breaux makes a strong case for this practice. “You know the best time to clean your shower? After you’ve showered and everything’s already wet,” she explains, “The same applies to your kitchen while you’re cooking (pick up as you go and clean after you finish), your closet as you dress (re-hang stuff after you take them down) and plenty of other examples.”

2. Invest in waterproof mats. You know those wet boots we kept harping on earlier? Well, there’s a way to keep the dirt and water that usually follows you into your home, during the winter, away. With mats placed at each doorway, you give yourself and your guests the opportunity to dry and clean off as best as possible before entering the house. This will significantly diminish the moisture and dirt content of your footwear.

“Put down waterproof floor mats near every door leading outside to catch melting snow and salt,” recommends Debra Ronca on HowStuffWorks.com ,”Pick up some large baking sheets — the kind with a raised edge — and use them for boot and shoe storage. It will keep dirt and snow from spreading and melting in the house. Try to find the baking sheets at garage sales or flea markets for real savings.”

3. Use rooms for their intended purposes. How often have you had dinner in the living room? Or in your bedroom? Chances are you’ve left a lot of crumbs lying around. Not to mention, you’re more liable to leave a mess in places they shouldn’t be. “Anytime you say, eat in the bedroom or work in the living room, you’re bringing in items that don’t belong in that room,” states Breaux, “Meaning you’ve got to bring those items back to where they belong when you’re done, or your house looks messy.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we champion the concept of the clean home. The cleaner your home, the better the air within it is bound to be. We proudly offer Air Quality Services to ensure that your indoor air quality is at its absolute best. We also offer Moisture Monitoring Services that detect any areas of concern – leaks, for example. It’s all in the name of good health!

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 Monitoring Your Home’s Humidity

illustration of a metal framed Hygrometer, eps 10When colder weather arrives, it’s natural for us all to turn up the heat in our homes. No matter how much you may love the wintertime, no one wants to live in a house that feels like a refrigerator. When warming the home, however, it’s important to be mindful about the level of humidity that exists within it. Believe it or not, the humidity level in your home can have a significant impact on your health.

How can humidity affect our health? Well, let’s suppose the level of humidity in the home is too high. It can lead to the presence of sickness-inducing viruses. According to CriticalCactus.com, “not only viruses but also fungi, mites, moulds, mildew and other sick makers thrive on high humidity. Mite populations, for example, flourish at 80% relative humidity but are minimized when the relative humidity is below 50%.”

All of the above mentioned ramifications of high humidity are known to trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. This winter, it will be very important to maintain safe levels of humidity in the home while keeping it heated. CriticalCactus.com writes that “ medical studies indicate that maintaining your home’s humidity between 30% and 55% restrains the survival of various viruses, including ¬influenza, polio, measles, and herpes.”

So how can we measure the humidity in our homes? The use of a hygrometer will do the trick. They can be used to monitor both outdoor and indoor humidity and they come in a number of variations. The two most popular are the analog and digital hygrometers. As Acurite.com explains, “analog hygrometers use a moisture-sensitive material that is attached to a coil spring. The spring controls a needle on an easy-to-read circular dial.”

Analog hygrometers are described as both inexpensive and easy to use. And while they are generally considered reliable, their digital counterparts are known for their sensors which monitor electric currents that are affected by moisture levels. “Digital hygrometers can keep track of high and low humidity measurements, historical data, and trends,” explains Acurite.com, “They are more precise than analog hygrometers, with a typical accuracy range of ± 5%.”

How else can we determine if there is too much humidity in the home? There are some things you can look for. Telltale signs include condensation. The presence of moisture in areas of the home where it shouldn’t be may be an indication that it is too humid inside. On SFGate.com, Laurie Reeves recommends that you should “check windows, mirrors and vertical glass surfaces for condensation. Condensation on the inside of windows or glass surfaces indicates a buildup of moisture and water vapour in your home’s air.”

She also advises that you look for wet stains on the ceilings and walls of your home. They too can indicate an increase of moisture or water vapour in the home that comes as a result of high humidity. In addition, the smell of your home can help to determine if the humidity is too high. “Check for musty or wet mildew smells in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room,” says Reeves. And finally, be sure to note any allergic reactions your family may be experiencing when the house is closed up.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to maintain safe humidity levels in the home. Our Moisture Monitoring Services work to ensure that any and all moisture sources in the home are located in order to prevent negative health reactions from 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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6 Tips For A Dust-Free Home This Winter

Attractive girl with vacuum cleaner on light backgroundWe’re all pretty used to the concept of spring cleaning. But, by no means is the springtime the only time of year when your home should go through a thorough cleaning session. As we all know, it will be a lot tougher to circulate fresh air throughout our homes when the weather is cold outside. Not many of us will be willing to keep the windows open. However, keeping a dust-free home throughout the winter is important for promoting top-notch indoor air quality.

Here are six tips that will help you to pull it off:

1. Change your furnace filters. What is the likelihood that you will be turning up the heat in your homes this winter? Very likely, we’re guessing. It’s important to ensure that there is as little dust as possible in your furnace filters. On HowStuffWorks.com, Debra Ronca suggests that you “change your furnace filters a bit more regularly in the winter. The furnace runs more often, so — especially if you have a fireplace — there’s more debris in the air.”

2. Vacuum your dryer vent. Even the most staunch vacuumers forget this little nook and cranny of the home. But as John Riha points out on HouseLogic.com, dryer vents produce heavy lint build-up that can become fire hazards. “Pull out the dryer as far as the vent pipe allows,” he instructs, “Disconnect the vent pipe from the dryer, and clean the outlet hole in the back of the dryer with a shop vac or regular vacuum.”

3. Clean your computer. This is an element of our homes that we use very often but seem to neglect at the same time, isn’t it? Seems weird. But as Ronca suggests, “winter is also a good time to clean your computer, since you have more downtime. Power the computer down and unplug it. Take off the back panel — it’s easy and usually just a couple of small screws. You don’t need to touch anything. Just use some canned compressed air to blow out dust and pet hair from the components.”

4. Turn over furniture and vacuum underneath. Now, how often do we do this? You may vacuum regularly, but it is likely that you’re missing a lot of dust that accumulates underneath all of our furniture. “Tilt upholstered chairs and couches all the way back (much easier with two people) to expose the bottoms,” advises Riha, “The dust covers tacked underneath furniture can catch dreck and dust bunnies, so vacuum them off, being careful not to press too hard on the fabric.”

5. Prevent dirt from entering your home. When you come in from outside, you bring in a lot more of the outdoors than you may think. This is especially true during the slushy and wet wintertime. “Put down waterproof floor mats near every door leading outside to catch melting snow and salt,” insists Ronca, “Pick up some large baking sheets — the kind with a raised edge — and use them for boot and shoe storage. It will keep dirt and snow from spreading and melting in the house.”

6. Vacuum behind the fridge. We don’t usually think about the dust we can’t see. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Our refrigerators and stoves hide a lot of dust. Pull them out and be sure to vacuum up all of the hidden dust that has had a chance to accumulate. Riha notes that this can actually save you money! “Your fridge needs to be cleaned periodically so that it operates at peak efficiency,” he writes, “Ignore this chore and face another $5 to $10 per month in utility costs.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly believe in improving the indoor air quality of all Canadian homes. And this entails keeping homes as dust-free as possible. There are, however, some other aspects of your home that require attention. That’s where our Air Quality Services help to improve the air you breathe in your home. 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 Removing Mould From Your Home

Mildewed walls with different sorts of mold (close-up shot)Mould is a problem. It’s not just something that appears on old food that can be removed from your home simply by throwing the food out. Mould has a tendency to grow in areas where it can’t be seen. It thrives on moisture and our homes provide plenty of it. Especially in rooms such as the kitchen and the bathroom, the constant presence of moisture allows for mould to find a home. But it’s important to keep it out of your home.

What’s so dangerous about mould? As Joe Cuhaj explains on TodaysHomeowner.com, the presence of mould in the home can lead to a number of negative health effects. He writes that although it often results in minor allergic reactions such as sniffling, watery eyes and sneezing, “some people are more sensitive than others and may experience a stronger reaction that can include difficulty breathing and asthma attacks.”

What is it about mould that causes breathing difficulty? “Several types of mould release toxic substances called mycotoxins,” explains Cuhaj, “Exposure to high concentrations of mycotoxins from Stachybotrys (a greenish-black green mould that grows on cellulose material such as wallpaper, cardboard, and wallboard) or Chaetomium (a white to gray colored mold found on decaying wood and water damaged drywall) may lead to more severe health issues including chronic bronchitis, heart problems, and bleeding lungs.”

So what can be done about preventing mould growth? The first step would be to control the amount of moisture that is present in your home. As we alluded to earlier, it’s practically impossible to avoid moisture altogether as cooking and bathing – two very common daily routines – require the use of water. Controlling moisture, however, includes looking for damage in your home that may be leading to leaks.

The absence of leak sources will be very helpful in keeping mould at bay. But to control moisture, it’s important to monitor your home’s humidity levels as well. According to Gerri Willis on CNN.com, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommend keeping the humidity level in your house below 50 percent.” She goes on to suggest that you “use an air conditioner during humid months.”

What else can be done to control humidity in the home? “Make sure to check the ventilation in the kitchen and the bathroom,” advises Willis, “Open a window or turn on a fan when showering. Do not carpet bathrooms and consider using mould inhibitors that can be added to paints. If you see moisture building up, act quickly and dry the area. If you have any water leaks, whether it is coming in through the roof, or from a pipe or the ground, patch it up immediately.”

How can mould be cleaned up? It all depends on the amount of mould and the size of the area that needs to be cleaned. “If the mould is limited to an area of less than 10 square feet, then you might be able to clean it up yourself,” informs Cuhaj, “Areas larger than that should be handled by a professional. If you decide to enlist a professional, make sure they are trained and experienced in mould cleanup.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we couldn’t agree more. Our Mould Assessment Services provide very thorough examinations of your living space to detect any presence of mould. It’s our job to help you to minimize the risk of any negative health effects that may arise due to mould in your home. 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 More Ways To Make Cold Weather Breathing A Breeze

Side portrait of a beautiful healthy young woman breathing fresh air with her arms raised and outstretched up while in the snowed mountains during a winter snow day, outdoors.In our last blog, we revisited the topic of indoor air quality during the wintertime. Whether we like it or not, the coldest months of the year are coming up! And, as a result, we should all be taking measures to ensure that our respiratory systems don’t suffer the consequences that often come with winter’s colder air. Taking precautions will be especially important for asthmatics. And while our last blog offered some very helpful tips, there are a few more to go around.

Here are three more ways to make cold weather breathing a breeze:

1. Eliminate or minimize gluten, dairy and sugar consumption. We’re going to wager a guess and say that most of you may be surprised to see this tip topping our list. It’s true, however, that what you eat can affect how you breathe. On Care2.com, Michelle Schoffro Cook explains that gluten-rich foods (that include those made with wheat, rye, oats and barley) often present problems for asthma sufferers.

As well, “dairy products like cheeses, butter, ice cream, milk, and cream are mucus-forming and can aggravate inflammation and respiratory conditions,” Cook informs us. She recommends dairy-free beverages like almond or coconut milk as alternatives. As well, she notes that asthma sufferers are also sensitive to sugars of all kinds. “If you have a sweet tooth, opt for a piece of fruit or sweeten your beverages or foods with natural stevia,” she advises.

2. Try herbal remedies when asthma symptoms arrive. Most asthmatics are used to steroid-based inhaler medicines such as Ventolin. In fact, they’re so popular that most people envision the blue L-shaped “puffer” when they think of someone taking asthma medication. While this medicine is commonly known to help asthma sufferers open up their airways, naturopath Mim Beim highly recommends some herbal remedies that are known to control and treat asthma symptoms.

“Herbs such as euphorbia and grindelia are well known by herbalists as broncho-dilating and anti-inflammatory,” she writes on BodyAndSoul.com, “Licorice is another much loved herb that can reduces spasm, and is gently demulcent, gentle on the mucous membrane that line the lungs. A steam vaporizer by the bedside is an excellent way to ease symptoms during the night, with the addition of some essential oils to boost the therapeutic value.”

3. Do away with scented candles and perfumes. It’s not unreasonable to want to fill our homes with sweet smells. It can be comforting to light candles that are made with perfumes. Sure, they usually smell great. But as Cook reminds us, the perfumes in these products contain lung irritants. “If you want a fresh-smelling home add orange rinds and cinnamon sticks to a pot of water and boil it on your stove for 10 to 15 minutes,” she recommends.

Cook also insists that we skip on the perfumes. “Perfumes can contain up to 400 different ingredients, 95% of which are chemicals used in the single ingredient ‘fragrance’ and are derived from petroleum products,” she writes, “Many of these ingredients cause coughing and aggravate respiratory conditions in addition to headaches, depression, and other symptoms. Switch to a natural essential oil-based product if you just can’t live without perfumes.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we completely understand the need to have a sweet smelling home. But we’re also aware that the best way to have such a home is to keep it clean and free of irritants to our respiratory systems. We also know that there may be issues that you’re not even aware of. This is where our Air Quality Services come in! We highly recommend them for the best possible indoor air quality this winter.

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 Ways To Breathe Easier This Winter

Profile of an explorer woman breathing fresh air in winter with a snowy mountain in the backgroundOver the past couple of weeks, our blog has been predominantly dedicated to finding ways to making breathing an easier task this winter. We often take breathing for granted, don’t we? Usually, we don’t even think about the fact that we’re doing it non-stop. For most asthmatics, however, easy breathing is a luxury not taken lightly. This is especially true during the harshly cold Canadian winters which can produce additional problems for those with asthma.

So how can those problems be avoided? Here are three ways to breathe easier this winter:

1. Build up your immune system. Many of us often forget that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves. That is to say, of course, that if we are giving our bodies fighting chances to stave off infections and viruses that are commonplace in the winter, we will be able to be a lot healthier. This involves eating healthfully and staying away from smoke of any kind. As naturopath, Mim Beim points out on BodyAndSoul.com, prevention is the best medicine.

“For many asthmatics, symptoms often rise after a cold or flu,” she informs us, “These respiratory infections cause added stress and inflammation to the respiratory tract that may snowball into an asthmatic reaction. The best treatment is prevention. Building up the immune system increases the potential to avoid the offending virus. Herbs and supplements that boost immunity include the old-fashioned remedy, cod liver oil (as well as) zinc and vitamin C.”

2. Do away with air fresheners. When winter arrives, it will be a lot less likely that Canadians will be keeping their windows open in order to allow fresh air into their homes. In its place, many will choose to spray their homes with air fresheners in an attempt to do away with stale and stagnant smells. Unfortunately, this does more to worsen indoor air quality than it does to “freshen” things up.

According to Michelle Schoffro Cook on Care2.com, we should eliminate air fresheners altogether. “The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) conducted a study of ‘air fresheners,’ ‘air sanitizers,’ and other related products,” she reveals, “They found toxic ingredients like acetone, butane (yes, that’s lighter fluid), liquefied petroleum gas, propane, and formaldehyde (among many others), all of which are linked to respiratory problems.”

3. Step up your dusting and vacuuming game. Our blog has often provided incredibly helpful tips in the world of dusting and vacuuming. They may seem like mundane, simple-to-do tasks, but you may be surprised to know that we’re not all cleaning our homes as effectively as we should. Eliminating as much dust from the home all winter long will go a long way in helping you to breathe easier each day.

As Beim points out, asthma is often triggered by common allergens that are found in the home. “Common allergens include cigarette smoke, mould, pet dander, pollen and cockroach saliva,” she reminds us. It should go without saying that minimizing the presence of all the above from your home should top your to-do lists this coming winter. Diligent dusting and vacuuming to improve your indoor air quality will do quite the favour for your respiratory system.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re very well aware that you can’t always be cleaning your home. As a result, dust and other allergens are bound to make their ways into your living space. With that said, there will be times when extra help will be necessary. We’re only too happy to provide Air Quality Services that work to improve your indoor air quality all year round!

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Improving Indoor Air Quality During Winter

open window and snowIt’s probably a safe bet to state that most people understand the concept of fresh air. You open up a window to let it in and circulate with the more stagnant air that is kept inside. It’s not a hard concept. This is why most people happily open their windows throughout the summer time. The warm breeze from outside is a welcome change to the air that was cooped up in our homes throughout the colder months of the year.

Speaking of colder months, they’re coming up. Let’s face it, they’re already here! So what do we do about getting that well needed fresh air into our homes? Naturally, colder temperatures don’t exactly encourage us to crack open those windows the way we did during the summer. So what do we do when it’s cold outside but still want some of that fresh air? According to Robin Konie on ThankYourBody.com, it’s still worth circulating outdoor air in your home in the wintertime.

Should we open the windows during the cold days of winter? “I will open 1 or 2 windows for 10 – 15 minutes once or twice a day,” she reveals, “It generally doesn’t affect my heat, but I do notice a difference in the air almost immediately. (I’ll often turn my heater off during that time so that it doesn’t turn on and push money out the window.)” If you can’t imagine turning off the heat at any time during the winter, you’re not alone. Most Canadians can’t imagine it!

Won’t opening the windows for that long make it “freezing” inside the home? Thankfully, Konie reveals a pretty inventive technique to spare the entire house from becoming a refrigerator. “You can also choose one room, close the heat vents and open the windows for 20 minutes with the door closed,” she explains, “When you are done, close the windows and then open the door to let that fresh air in throughout the whole house.”

What other ways can we improve indoor air quality when it’s cold outside? Not everyone is going bound to be a big fan of opening the windows during the winter. But that doesn’t mean that they’ll be forced to breathe in stale air all winter long. Going green and bringing house plants into your home will go a long way in improving indoor air quality. Konie explains that this works wonders.

How beneficial are house plants to indoor air quality? “In the late ’80s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities,” she informs, “Since plants are nature’s lungs, it makes sense that they would be good to have in the home. Best of all, many houseplants not only filter the air but can also absorb air toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.”

Katie of WellnessMama.com completely agrees. Inspired by the same NASA study, she decided to fill her home with plants in order to assist one of her children – an allergy sufferer – to enjoy cleaner air to breathe. Research has shown that many plants are excellent at filtering carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. These plants are also safe for children to be around.

What plants are best for filtering such chemicals from the air? They include aloe vera, English ivy, spider plants, snake plants, Boston ferns, bamboo palms, peace lilies, Chinese evergreens and several different kinds of dracaenas just to name a few. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we couldn’t agree more than improving indoor air quality throughout the winter is very important.

For more information on how our Air Quality Services can help you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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