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The Importance Of Wintertime Humidity Control In The Home

A view out a cabin window with condensation overlooking a snowy mountain landscapeNow that we are experiencing the colder temperatures that are associated with winter, it’s important to be mindful of the ways in which we maintain our homes. Naturally, we’ll want to keep our indoors heated. But you don’t want to have an excess of humidity in the home. If you’re noticing condensation on the windows, this could be a sign that the inside of your home is too humid.

So how can you reduce indoor humidity during the winter? Be vehement about ventilating. On ArrowGroup.ca, it is explained that moisture can enter the air of our homes in many different ways. They include humidifiers, heating systems and even our house plants. In addition, our regular daily practices add moisture to the air. “Cooking three meals a day adds four or five pints of water to the air,” informs the site, “Each shower contributes 1/2 pint.”

As a result, it’s important to ventilate your home as best as you can. Use the exhaust fans above your stove when cooking and use the ones in your bathrooms while bathing. You may also want to crack the windows every so often. Now, considering the frigid outdoor temperatures, you’re not going to want to keep them open for very long. Instead, use the technique provided by ArrowGroup.ca.

“As a temporary solution to an acute problem, open a window in each room for just a few minutes,” recommends the site, “Opening windows allows the stale, humid air to escape, and fresh dry air to enter. After a shower, for example, open the bathroom window, or turn on the exhaust fan, so steam can go outside instead of remaining in the home.” You may also want to close the doors of the rooms where the windows are open so as to not make it too cold throughout the home.

Again, you don’t want to keep the windows open for very long. “Opening the windows slightly throughout the house for a brief time each day will go far toward allowing humid air to escape and drier air to enter,” ArrowGroup.ca further describes, “The heat loss will be minimal. Installation of storm windows will often relieve condensation on the prime house windows by keeping the interior glass warmer.”

On MadisonVinyl.com, Associated Press Building editor, David Bareuther reports that there are only three ways to reduce humidity. They are controlling sources of humidity, such as gas burners and clothes dryers, using dry heat to counterbalance all of the moisture produced by modern living and ventilating. Bareuther explains a bit further just how important winter ventilation is.

“Because outside air usually contains less water vapour, it will ‘dilute’ the humidity of inside air,” he notes, “This takes place automatically in older houses through constant infiltration of outside air.” If you’re still wondering about the ways in which you can prevent your home from being too humid this winter, it’s wide to consult a professional. That way, you’ll enjoy the very best indoor air quality.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we make it our mission to ensure that all of our clients are enjoying top-notch indoor air quality all year long. Knowing that this can be a bit more difficult during the winter, when the house is usually sealed off to the outside world, we offer our clients services that speak to the need for humidity control. Our Moisture Monitoring Services evaluate buildings for moisture sources in order to help prevent the development of mould.

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 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The Winter

Depositphotos_39321245_s-2015During the cold winter months, you’re a lot more likely to spend time indoors. This is just the way it is in Canada. Cold and snowy winters keep many of us from enjoying the outdoors as much as we do in the summertime. Sure, there are the snowboarding, skiing and skating fans out there who just can’t wait for the white stuff to fall. But, for the most part, Canadians view winter as a season to stay inside.

As a result, we do a lot to diminish our indoor air quality. The more we do in our homes, the more likely we are to make messes. Messes, by the way, don’t necessarily mean keeping things untidy. But our increased use of the kitchen and bathrooms, for example, stand to add more moisture to the air. More moisture means more chances for mould to grow. There are, of course, other examples of how indoor air quality can suffer during the winter.

So how can we work to improve it? Here are six ways:

1. Invest in plants. This should be an especially welcome tip for Canadians with green thumbs. Gardening is about to take a back seat to shovelling. So, if you can’t enjoy your plants outside, why not bring them indoors? As Loretta Lanphier points out on ExhibitHealth.com, plants such as Areca, Lady, Dwarf Date, Rubber Plant, Dracaena, English ivy, Peace Lily, Boston fern, Aloe Vera, Snake Plant and Spider Plant all help to clean and purify the air.

2. Pick up after your pets. Not only should you ensure that your pets aren’t tracking dirt, mud, slush and water into your home after you take them out for their winter walks, but it’s important to be mindful of their dander as well. “Make sure to give pets baths on a regular basis to minimize exposure to dander,” insists Marla Esser on HomeNav.com, “Most people don’t realize how difficult the microscopic dead skin cells that make up pet dander are to remove from upholstery and carpet.”

3. Get an air purifier. “Good air purifiers will improve indoor air quality by removing allergens, harmful particles, and odours,” Lanphier informs us, “Purified air is especially important to people suffering from asthma, allergies, or chemical and pollutant sensitivities. Ideally, according to the layout of your home, it is best to have air purifiers in all bedrooms as well as the main living areas. Most effective air purifiers cover up to 600 sq.ft. of living space.”

4. Vacuum twice as often. Many of us vacuum our homes on a weekly basis. But, during the winter, our windows are bound to be closed a lot more often. This disallows fresh air from outside to circulate with the stagnant air inside. As a result, you’re likely to have more dust accumulate in your home. It’s wise, therefore, to vacuum more often. “Properly vacuuming and keeping up with dust can go a long way toward controlling the harmful contaminates you are exposed to,” reminds Esser.

5. Make use of essential oils. According to Lanphier, “essential oils can be used to effectively clean and freshen indoor air”. She notes that they are free from chemical additives and are great at purifying the air in our bathrooms, closets, basements and sick rooms. Her recommended essential oils to put into a spray bottle along with vinegar and purified water include Lemongrass, Lime, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sage, Tangerine and Tea Tree.

6. Consult a professional. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know the importance of maintaining healthy indoor air quality levels during the harsh Canadian winters. To maximize the health of our clients, our Air Quality Services work to locate any harmful elements in their homes or offices. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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How Do Live Christmas Trees Impact Indoor Air Quality?

Family decorating beautiful live Christmas tree.It’s that time of year again! The holidays are well on the way. And you know what that means for people all over the world – it’s time to put up the decorations! Canadians seem to especially love this time of year. With winter imagery so directly associated with Christmas, it’s quite enjoyable to “deck the halls” with as many seasonal decorations as possible. After all, Canada is certainly known for its winters. And most Canadians see the end-of-year holiday season as the best part of winter.

Of course, it’s important to be take precautions when bringing the winter indoors. Most people choose to decorate their homes with store-bought materials that are safe, for the most part. But there are still some traditionalists who like to include live evergreen trees as part of their Christmas decor. Is bringing the outside in all that dangerous? Can it present a problem for our health?

Do live Christmas trees negatively impact indoor air quality? As far as Brian Bussey of Bussey Environmental Inc. is concerned, the answer is yes. “Live Christmas trees can carry pathogenic mould spores that proliferate rapidly in the cozy warmth of your living room,” he writes, “One study showed that indoor mould counts went from 800 to 5,000 spores per cubic meter by the fourteenth day a Christmas tree had been kept indoors.”

Just how bad is the increase of indoor mould due to live Christmas trees? Honestly, it’s pretty bad. In fact, Bussey refers to it as “an explosion of mould growth”. This is because the average healthy home tests at about 600 mould spores per cubic metre. This information was discovered at the conclusion of a study by researchers, John Santilli, M.D. of St. Vincent Medical Center in Connecticut and Rebecca Gruchalla, M.D. of University of Texas.

What symptoms can live Christmas trees trigger? If you’re an asthmatic, you know the symptoms all too well. Wheezing and a shortness of breath have been known to be caused by having live trees inside the home. Of course, these symptoms are common among allergy sufferers who are exposed to mould spores. So, it should go without saying that such individuals should stick to the plastic variety of Christmas trees each holiday season.

But what makes live Christmas trees so prone to the development of mould? It has a lot to do with how they are stored prior to sale, says Patricia Kirk on WebMD.com. She too, writes of the study conducted by Santilli and Gruchalla and comments upon the relationship between live Christmas trees and a rise in indoor mould spores.

According to Kirk, Gruchalla says that “the relationship between live Christmas trees and a rise in indoor mould spores comes as no surprise, particularly since most Christmas trees are cut well in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment before being placed on a lot for sale. Then they’re then taken home and placed in water too.” She goes on to note that such trees collect dust while in storage and should be shaken out prior to being brought inside, if you insist on them.

So how do you plan on decorating your home for the upcoming holidays? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we certainly recommend that you do in the safest way possible. Promoting good indoor air quality while beautifying your home for Christmas should be your priority. For more information on 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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4 Ways To Remove Mould From Your Bathroom

Black mold growing on shower tiles in bathroomMost of us clean our homes on a regular basis. But, sometimes, it seems that no matter how hard you clean, there are still areas that can’t exactly be categorized as spotless. This is especially true for our bathrooms, isn’t it? That ugly green and black mould is often found in our shower tiles and even though we attempt to spray it with cleaner and wipe it away, it often will stubbornly remain. Sound like a problem, you have? If so, you’re not alone.

Mould requires dark, warm and moist environments in order to thrive. Ironically, the cleaner we get, the dirtier our bathrooms become. Quite obviously, showering introduces a lot of moisture to your bathroom. Especially when the shower is hot – and most are – both the water itself and the steam that arises from it is bound to keep the tiles warm and wet for quite some time after the shower is completed.

Not only is mould unsightly, but it is also known to present health hazards. Similar to dust, mould spores – when airborne – can enter our lungs. People who suffer from asthma and allergies are especially susceptible to the health risks associated with mould. So cleaning your bathroom is actually a much more important task than you may think. But how can it be cleaned in such a way that the mould actually disappears?

Here are four ways:

1. Create a baking soda and water solution. HowToRemoveBlackMold.com suggests that you place the baking soda solution in a spray bottle and use it to target all the areas where mould is present in your bathroom. Let the mixture sit for five to ten minutes, recommends the website. Then use an old toothbrush to scrub away the mould. After scouring the mould away, wipe away any excess solution and then rinse and repeat the process if necessary.

2. Use a white vinegar spray. If baking soda is unavailable, white vinegar may be a great alternative. On his website, David Suzuki writes that undiluted white vinegar can help to remove mould. He warns, however, that vinegar is a “strong acid” that can potentially etch your tiles or grout. “Use it only on the caulking and rinse off well,” he advises, “it’s always best to do a test patch.”

3. Try liquid oxygen bleach. Suzuki offers liquid oxygen bleach as another mould-removing suggestion. “It’s basically diluted hydrogen peroxide, found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store,” he informs, “Apply it with a spray bottle or follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Worst case scenario is if the mould has worked its way behind the caulking. In this case, you may have to re-caulk, and if you do, choose non-toxic, 100 per cent silicone.”

4. Be mindful of your humidity levels. One of the best ways to remove mould from your bathroom is to not let it develop to begin with. Suzuki reminds us that mould prevention is the best way to keep a safe and clean home. “Get a handle on the humidity of your bathroom,” he warns, “Make sure the fan is rated to fit the size of your bathroom and that it’s working properly.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly advocate for mould-free environments. As part of our mandate to have our clients live in homes that promote good health, we offer Mould Assessment Services that seek to locate all areas of the home where mould exists. You may be surprised to discover some of the places where mould may be hiding. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

5 Comments

  1. March 31, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Wow what great advice! You can also use HOT steam to remove mold. That’s what we do here at The Steamers!

  2. Anna Levis-Reply
    September 25, 2016 at 11:04 am

    This is an informative article. I really appreciate your efforts for writing such an amazing post. Showering cause lot of moisture to a bathroom especially when the shower is hot because the steam which arises from it’s bound to keep the tiles warm and wet for sometime after the shower is completed. http://www.floodaz.com/how-to-remove-black-mold-without-killing-the-environment/

    • November 17, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you for the information but I do have one question. Can the mold spread in to your air conditioning duct system ? If so you should have your air ducts cleaned often.

      • Dennis French-Reply
        November 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm

        Hello Anna
        Within your air conditioning duct many things can happen. They can be simply a pathway to move contaminants from one are to another or if the ducts are dirty they can be a food source for biological growth such as mould growing on debris inside ductwork. Ductwork should be cleaned to remove this source. Also Standing moisture in ductwork can also source for other contaminants such as Legionella.

        • December 27, 2016 at 3:04 pm

          Your answer about the air duct cleaning is correct. It is recommended to clean the air ducts every two years to prevents mold growth.

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