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Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Experts


4 Simple Ways To Keep A Dust-Free Home

Young woman wiping the dust on TV in living room at homeYou don’t have to asthmatic to be affected by dust. Living in a dusty environment can be bad for anyone’s health. Among the problems that dust cause are dust mites. These tiny, invisible insects live in the fibres of carpeting, plush furniture, curtains, mattresses, pillows and bedding. It just so happens that most dust mites exist where you sleep. This is because they feed on dead skin which is often shed while you’re snoozing.

According to the Asthma Society of Canada, “the average adult sheds two pounds of dead skin per year; much of it while sleeping. Dust mites live in bedding and mattresses and eat these flakes of skin. They prefer warm, humid environments.” The problem with dust mites is that they leave fecal matter and body parts wherever they go. And these are common allergens. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? This is why it pays to keep a dust-free home.

Here are four simple ways to do just that:

1. Place doormats at the entrances of your home. One of the best ways to keep a dust-free home is to minimize its chances of entering its doors. There are many pollutants that come from the outdoors. And often, we track them into the house on the bottoms of our shoes. Having a doormat at each entrance gives both you and your visitors the opportunity to dust off your footwear before going inside.

On BobVila.com, Donna Boyle Schwartz highly recommends this practice. “Every time visitors come in from the outside, they track dirt into the house—and small dirt particles are a major component of dust,” she informs us, “Use both exterior and interior doormats—especially the kind with a bristle top—to trap dirt and keep it from traveling farther into your home. Wash or vacuum the mats regularly to prevent buildup.”

2. Place air purifiers in the rooms you use the most. We spend a lot of time in our bedrooms. But there are many other rooms in your home that you are likely to frequent. By using air purifiers, you help to minimize the amount of dust that collects on your furniture and other belongings. On WomansDay.com, Diane Benson Harrington recommends that you “skip ionic air cleaners; they release ozone. Instead, choose fan-powered cleaners.”

3. Keep your pets well maintained. Human skin isn’t the only part of the dust mite diet. If you own pets, you’re likely well aware that skin, hair and dander can find their ways to be left all over your home. Not only is it wise to continually clean it all up, but you’ll want to find ways to keep shedding at a minimum. Keep your pets well groomed and their specified areas for play and sleep properly cleaned.

This will go a long way in keeping dust mites at bay. “Dead skin cells and dead hair are a major source of dust—and unfortunately, our furry friends produce a lot of hair!” Schwartz reminds us, “Groom pets regularly to help keep dead skin and hair from accumulating. As a bonus, you and your pets will feel better too. Keeping kitty’s litter box covered will also help hold down the dust.”

4. Get rid of carpeting. “Getting rid of carpet might seem like a drastic measure, but carpeting holds an awful lot of dust—and releases it into the air every time you take a step,” continues Schwartz, “If you are thinking of redecorating, consider installing some type of hard-surface flooring: wood, tile, stone, or vinyl are all good alternatives to carpeting and much easier to keep dust-free!”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important keeping a dust-free home is to your indoor air quality. 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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Taking Precautions To Avoid Winter’s Asthma Triggers

Isolated on whiteFor the most part, we tend to take breathing for granted, don’t we? Generally, we don’t even think about doing it. However, our lungs and their natural capacity to work for us by inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide are absolutely necessary for everyday living. That goes without saying. Yet, there are many of us who can’t take breathing for granted. Asthmatics live life each day knowing that there are triggers that cause their disease to interrupt their normal breathing.

Asthma is one of the top reasons that DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. takes the issue of indoor air quality so seriously. Our many services work to find solutions to problems in homes and other properties that may be contributing to the triggers that impact asthma sufferers. And these triggers can be exacerbated during the winter. With the Canadian winters being as harsh as they are, it is always wise for asthmatics in our nation to take precautions when the season arrives.

“Winter can be beautiful with sights like sunshine sparkling off snow covered trees,” says the Asthma Society of Canada, “For those who enjoy winter sports this is a wonderful time, but for those with asthma triggered by cold air, it is a time for advance planning. Although cold air is a common asthma trigger, its effects can be anticipated and prevented from having an impact by taking a reliever medication 10-15 minutes prior to exposure.”

Outdoor precautions. As explained by HealthCommunities.com, “during the winter months, cold, dry air can tighten airways and worsen breathing.” If you’re an asthmatic, it’s important to be mindful of the precautions that can be taken when spending time outside in the cold. They include limiting or avoiding exercise outdoors, says the website. It also recommends that you wear scarves, turtlenecks or neck gaiters over your mouth and nose to warm up the air you breathe.

You’ll also want to be mindful of the outdoor areas you visit during the winter. The combination of pollutants and cold air can be especially harmful to those who suffer with asthma. The Asthma Society of Canada warns Canada’s numerous hockey players to bear this in mind. “Other triggers common to the winter season are hockey arenas where a combination of cold air, exhaust and vapours from the ice cleaning machines often trigger or aggravate asthma symptoms,” they report.

Indoor precautions. Of course, one of the easiest ways to avoid the asthma triggers that come with winter’s cold weather is to spend as much time indoors as possible. HealthCommunities.com points out, however, that there are precautions to take when you’re inside as well. As you may have expected, limiting dust through frequent dusting and vacuuming is always a wise choice. Vacuums with HEPA filters are highly recommended.

As well, it’s important to monitor the humidity levels of your indoor locations. “Ideally, you want to keep the humidity level in your home between 30 and 45 percent,” says HealthCommunities.com, “When humidity is too high, it can lead to the growth of dust mites, mould and mildew. Clean the humidifier regularly and replace the water daily as a preventative. If possible, use distilled or demineralized water in your humidifier.”

It is also recommended that you avoid down comforters and pillows and regularly wash your bedding in hot water above 130°F. It should probably go without saying that asthmatics should keep their homes smoke-free as well. That doesn’t just mean eliminating cigarette smoking, but also avoiding the use of fireplaces and even candles. Smoke can travel from room to room, even through closed doors, HealthCommunities.com remind us.

For more information on how the Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. can help you avoid asthma triggers this winter, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Limiting Household Moisture In The Wintertime

A view out a cabin window with condensation overlooking a snowy mountain landscapeHumidity and moisture go hand in hand. When we think of humidity, we often think of the sweaty and sticky state that it generally leaves us in. With summer now behind us, most of us are likely thinking that we don’t have worry about humidity until next year. But that doesn’t mean that the presence of moisture has disappeared. In fact, with winter coming in a couple of months, we’ll soon be experiencing more moisture than we’ll know what to do with!

The first reason is because, we Canadians tend to turn up the heat in our homes when it’s cold outside. Can you blame us? Canadian winters don’t exactly provide the warmest temperatures. As well, we also generally keep all of our doors and windows shut so as to not let out any heat. The warmer we are, the better, right? Well, as Tiffany Wild of Paragon Certified Restoration points out, closing up our homes and turning up the heat during the winter can cause some problems.

“You may think this would be a good thing since this would limit the amount of heat that escapes, but this can also lead to the buildup of moisture which can cause mould and mildew inside of the home,” she informs us. Wild goes on to note that mould-inducing moisture problems, during the winter, are generally the direct result of one of two problems: moisture in the air and moisture from actual liquid.

What problems are caused by moisture in the air? Keeping in mind that we much prefer warmer air in our homes during the winter, it presents a vast difference between it and the air outside. With much colder air hitting the outsides of our windows, condensation builds up. Wild writes that “the relative humidity on the surface of the window is 100%.” And, as you may have guessed, this humidity provides the breeding ground for mould and mildew.

“You may also notice some moisture on the window sill or on the window casing (the frame that goes around the window.),” Wild writes, “When this happens, mould and mildew can start developing in these areas. You may also notice mould or mildew forming on the insides of exterior walls, or on clothes or shoes that are located in closets where the temperature is lower than the adjoining room.”

What problems are caused by moisture from actual liquid? Quite obviously, the falling of snow is a telltale sign that winter has arrived. Here, in Calgary, we sometimes don’t even need for the official start of winter to begin seeing the fluffy white stuff fall from the sky. And as Wild points out, the accumulation of snow on our homes can lead to plumbing and roofing issues – the worst being “ice dams”.

“Ice dams usually form on your roof and in your gutters and can cause serious problems and damage if they are not dealt with properly,” she reveals, “Once an ice dam has froze on your roof, water will continue to build up behind it and will eventually run backwards underneath your shingles and into your home. Once you have water leaking into your home from the outside, you have an entirely new and expensive problem that will need to be dealt with.”

DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is prepared to assist you with your winter preparations. Our Moisture Monitoring Services can locate issues on your property such as sources of leaks and other contributors to the development of mould within the home. Let’s work together in keeping your home mould and mildew free 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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