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4 Bad Habits To Break To Improve Your Air In 2016

Young woman opening window in living roomWe’re just a couple of days away from a brand new year! And with 2016 right around the corner, most Canadians (along with the rest of the world) have come up with New Year’s Resolutions they hope to stick to. In most cases, these annual resolutions have to do with breaking bad habits. And in many cases, eliminating these bad habits can improve one’s health. Quitting smoking is the perfect example.

But what other New Year’s Resolutions can improve your health? Many of the bad habits we have are carried out in our homes. And, as a result, we are causing the air we breathe to be a lot more harmful to our health. How can we protect ourselves and our families from poor indoor air quality? Breaking bad habits that impact the air you breathe will go a long way in improving the health of all of your loved ones.

Here are four:

1. Cigarette smoking. It only makes sense that we start with the most obvious bad habit that most people attempt to quit at the beginning of each new year. As Health Canada reminds us, cigarette smoke emits a long list of chemicals that include carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Arguably, the single most important thing you can do to improve your home’s indoor air quality in 2016 is to eliminate all cigarette smoking.

2. Heating the home with gas-burning appliances. Canadian winters insist upon heated homes. But it’s important to heat your home without using methods that add harmful elements to the air. Health Canada reminds us that gas and wood fireplaces, gas or oil furnaces and gas water heaters all emit such gases as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as well as other VOCs and particulate matter.

3. Operating gas-powered machinery in the garage. It should probably go without saying that you should never heat your car up in the garage. The emissions from your muffler are deadly. However, you should also bear in mind that machinery such as gas-powered lawnmowers, snowblowers, generators and barbeques should all be operating in the open air. Health Canada points out that they emit CO, NO2, VOCs and other particulate matter that can enter the home.

4. Renovating without a thorough inspection of your home. Renovations aren’t generally considered bad habits. But making changes in your home without inspecting for asbestos is certainly a bad idea. By itself, asbestos is harmless. But when it is disturbed, its fibres can become airborne and lodged in your lungs if inhaled. This has been known to cause serious health effects such as lung cancer.

“Asbestos was used as an insulator and fire retardant for many years,” explains HealthLink BC, “It is sometimes still found in insulation around older hot water pipes and boilers. It is also found in old flooring material and some types of insulation used in attics and walls. Asbestos does not cause a health risk unless it is frayed or crumbling and releasing fibres into the air that can be inhaled.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services and Asbestos Containing Materials Services, among many others that serve to improve the indoor air quality of your home. This new year, have us inspect your home to ensure that you and your loved ones are enjoying life in a very healthy environment. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Happy new year!

2 Comments

  1. Tamara-Reply
    January 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I am inquiring about having an indoor air quality test done for our office building, as it is an older house, and we have had a very steep jump in staff illnesses and recurring illness throughout the office. I am wondering if a quote is available, and what type of testing you would be conducting etc.

    Please contact me at (403)324-1322 ext. 205

    • Dennis French-Reply
      January 24, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hello Tamara, I have been trying to reach you via phone and email reply with no luck. Phone number not in service.

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Giving Your Family The Gift Of Health This Christmas

Apple with ribbon in women's hands on white backlgroundOn behalf of the entire team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and the absolute happiest of holidays! It will come as no surprise to readers of our blog that our company believes strongly in giving the gift of health to your loved ones all year long. So this Christmas, consider how you may offer that gift to your family members and friends.

How can you go about giving the gift of health? To be honest, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest differences. For example, changing the type of cleaning products you use can go a long way in making the air that you breathe in your home a lot purer. Doing away with products that include volatile organic compounds goes a long way in improving indoor air quality.

On CottageLife.com, Sara Laux champions this view. “While you’re on a cleaning kick, don’t re-pollute your air with artificial scents, which can be irritating to many people,” she recommends, “Look for cleaners with natural ingredients or, better yet, make your own for a fraction of the cost… Go aerosol-free completely, and look for unscented products wherever possible.”

What other gifts can improve indoor air quality? In our last blog, we highlighted the fact that houseplants have a cleaning effect on the air you breathe. Many of them have the ability to filter out air pollutants and remove chemicals from the air. In another article on CottageLife.com, Samantha Sexton reveals which houseplants are most effective in improving the indoor air quality of homes.

Among them are spider plants, English ivy, Boston ferns, peace lilies (which “neutralize toxic gases like carbon dioxide and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde”) and aloe vera. In addition to providing cooling and healing agents for the skin, the aloe vera plant also “filters gas emissions and toxic materials such as benzene, which can be a by-product of household cleaners and paints,” says Sexton.

Is getting your home tested necessary to guarantee the good quality of its air? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we definitely believe it’s a good idea. Our Air Quality Services, in addition to many other services that we provide, help to pinpoint problem areas in the home that could be impacting the health of your family. Laux agrees that getting your home tested is important as there are many gases that are undetectable by sight and smell.

They include carbon monoxide and radon. “Both lead paint and radon, an odourless, colourless radioactive gas, can contaminate your indoor air,” she points out, “If your house was built before 1960, have your paint tested for lead. If you do have lead-based paint, keep your house dust-free and have an experienced contractor sand or remove wall coverings or ceilings contaminated with lead.”

Give your family the gift of health this Christmas! Ensuring that your home’s indoor air quality is at its highest will be a great way to welcome in the new year and the many years to come. 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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5 Holiday Gifts That Improve Indoor Air Quality

Yorkie puppy with gift boxes on white backgroundWith only a week and a half left to go until Christmas Day, Canadians are smack dab in the middle of a nationwide shopping frenzy. Searching for gifts for loved ones can be a tiring task, especially when you’re not sure of what to buy. Naturally, people seek gifts they believe their family members and friends will like. But, arguably, the best gifts are those that their family members and friends need.

Is there any greater necessity than something that promotes good health? It’s hard to be happy when you’re not healthy. And a focus on improving the indoor air quality of a home is an excellent start to promoting a healthier lifestyle. This holiday season, why not consider buying gifts that improve indoor air quality? You may just end up making your greatest holiday purchases yet!

Here are five ideas:

1. Pet grooming tools. Pet owners generally love grooming their pets. Buy the pet owner in your life some tools that will enable them to do so. It will help to reduce pet dander as well as the dirt that pets track into their homes. Pets that are known to shed are especially bad for a home’s indoor air quality. In fact, according to Jessica Ross on CanadianLiving.com, pet owners should “brush pets outdoors often, wash their bedding and vacuum (their homes) regularly to control hair.”

2. Doormats. One of the best ways to eliminate outdoor contaminants from entering your home is to have them dusted off your footwear before you enter through its doors. “Look at entranceway design including landscaping materials used near entranceways to ensure dirt and plant materials aren’t being tracked into the building, and make sure there is an effective track-off mat system for cleaning shoes,” recommends Kim Arnott on Lowes.ca.

3. Washable drapes. Dust is a major household allergen. The more of it that collects in your home, the worse your indoor air quality will be. The blinds that cover your windows are well known for being dust collectors. By removing them and replacing them with washable drapes, you’ll be doing your home a big favour. “Replace blinds with washable drapes and you’ll have a window covering that’s friendlier to those with dust allergies,” says Ross.

4. Houseplants. Not only do they look beautiful, but they help to beautify the air you breathe. “Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis,” explains Maria Janowiak on Greatist.com, “But that’s not all – microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes are also responsible for much of the cleaning effect.”

5. HEPA filter vacuums. Simply put, the cleaner your home, the better the air quality will be. Therefore, regular dusting and vacuuming is a must. However, not all vacuums are created equal. As Ross reminds us, it’s important to “use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter to pick up fine particles that could irritate asthma and other respiratory ailments.” Consider this gift for the allergy sufferer in your family.

On behalf of everyone at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we would like to wish you your happiest holiday season yet! It’s our strong belief that the healthier you are, the happier you will be. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how our Air Quality Services, among the many other services we offer, help to improve indoor air quality. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. December 30, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Healthy air is now hard to find, especially now that the things we use in our everyday lives narrows our chances of getting clean air. So these gift suggestions are very timely. Plus, these things are not that hard to find and what we’re actually using today, like washable drapes, filter vacuums, and houseplants. We should all take advantage of the things that will help better our chances of attaining clean air.

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The Importance Of Breathing Easy In Your Home This Winter

Humidifier spreading steam into the living roomIt’s not uncommon to associate the brisk winter air with freshness. Sometimes, it feels like all you need to freshen up the air inside your home is to open up the windows for a couple of minutes. Yes, even during the cold winter season, getting fresh outdoor air to circulate with the stagnant air inside your home is important. Naturally, it’s important for us all to get as much fresh air in our lungs as possible.

However, during the cold winter months, we are a lot less likely to spend time outdoors. That means that we won’t be getting as much of that fresh air as our bodies may need. On Earth911.com, Chrystal Johnson writes that “studies have consistently shown that indoor air quality is at least five times more polluted than outdoor air quality. During the winter months, however, this percentage can be even higher because we open windows and doors less often when it’s cold.”

Why is improving indoor air quality during the winter so important? As Johnson points out, “breathing in poor-quality air can significantly impact your health, and lead illnesses to last for longer periods of time. It can be especially dangerous for people with respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis.” Our blog has centred in on this topic over the past few weeks as there are few topics of greater importance during this time of year.

So how can we improve the air in our homes during the course of the winter? As you may have guessed, it begins with ventilation. As we mentioned before, you should crack the windows and open the doors every so often. But you should also ensure that your ventilation system is up to snuff. “Look into getting trickle vents installed,” recommends Johnson, “These allow fresh air to trickle in to your home, and for polluted air to trickle out.”

What other ways can indoor air quality improve in the wintertime? Another important way is to be mindful of what you track inside from the outdoors. With snow on the ground and salt being spread everywhere to melt the ice, you’re bound to have a lot more debris on your footwear than you normally would. Tracking slush, water and dirt into the home during winter is a common practice in Canada. So how can you avoid it?

Doormats, says Johnson, noting the importance of keeping your home’s floors clean during winter. “Adding a doormat to each of your doors can help reduce the amount of dirt and germs that are tracked into your home on shoes,” she writes, “Also, make sure everyone removes their shoes at the door so any remaining pollutants stay there. Using a vacuum with a good HEPA filter and keeping hardwood floors clean with a microfiber mop can also help.”

How else can the air in our homes be kept fresh without utilizing the air from outside? Investing in plants would be a good idea. As David Suzuki writes on his website, “you don’t have to be an astronaut to know that plants produce oxygen. But what you might not realize is that indoor plants can also absorb contaminants like benzene and formaldehyde (a known carcinogen).” Replacing air filters, using air purifiers and refraining from the use of toxic products will also help your home’s indoor air quality this winter.

Of course, contacting DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. would also be a good idea. We offer Air Quality Services that include thorough inspections of your home or office in order to target areas of concern. The air you breathe in your properties can cause health issues that we can help you to avoid 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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5 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality This Holiday Season

Portrait of happy business people chatting while celebrating Christmas in officeThe month of December is quite often one that is packed with a lot of celebratory events. With the holiday season here and a lot of holiday spirit going around, you’re bound to partake in a party or two over the next month. Perhaps, you may even be throwing one yourself. If so, you’re likely worried about food, drinks, decorations, music and catering to your entire list of invitees. There is, however, one other thing to keep in mind – your indoor air quality.

The quality of the air in your home or office usually doesn’t cross the mind of a party planner. But because winter already forces most of us to spend more time indoors, we are more susceptible to allergens that are often found indoors. As David Kottke reminds us on FoxService.com, ‘hidden dangers like dust mites, moulds, mildew, viruses and allergens increase the likelihood or irritate certain health conditions.”

You can only imagine then, that the more people who enter the doors of your home or office, the more pollutants are entering it. So, this year, when you throw your holiday party, you may want to consider implementing a few rules that will assist you in maintaining the best indoor air quality levels possible. These are rules that will be necessary for you to follow before, during and after your holiday party.

1. Make note of any allergic reactions in the home or office. What is the state of your home or office’s air quality right now? One of the ways to find out is to check on the health status of everyone who lives or works in it. “Irritated eyes, nose and throat are some of the first indicators of poor indoor air quality,” writes Kottke, “Dust or dirt around heating or air vents, on ceilings or stained walls should alert you that there is a problem.”

2. Minimize your candle use. Lighting candles – especially scented ones – is a pretty popular practice during the holidays. However, you’re not doing your air quality any favours when you light them up. According to Brad Kovar of SafeGuardEnviro.com, “the smoke and perfume scent in many candles can produce unsightly soot staining and increase airborne particulates and volatile organic compounds, which may affect sensitive individuals.”

3. Insist upon “no smoking” at your party. Chances are that some of your invitees are bound to need to light up cigarettes at some point during the night. Be sure to insist that all smoking be done outdoors. It should go without saying that cigarette smoke offers some of the worst possible effects on our respiratory systems. If you don’t want to sicken your party guests and leave your indoor air quality in a horrible state at party’s end, insist upon a “no smoking” policy.

4. Be mindful of decoration storage. Once the parties are done and the holidays have winded down, you’ll need to put away all of those great decorations for use next year. But did you know that how you store your decorations can impact your home or office’s indoor air quality? “Don’t use corrugated boxes stacked in the garage, attic or basement because they can collect dust which can aggravate asthmatic or allergic symptoms in some people,” warns Kovar.

5. Get an inspection of your property. DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. offers Air Quality Services that involve the thorough inspection of your property to target areas of concern. The air you breathe in your home or office can cause health issues that can easily be avoided. And you’ll certainly want to avoid them this holiday season. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

2 Comments

  1. December 7, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Hi Dan,

    This article sure is informative and is very timely, not just because of the season, but because the weather now is very unpredictable, which makes it even harder to breathe at times. So when having house guests, or even not, you should always consider the effects of your house decors to the air you’re breathing. Yes you have a well-decorated house but you can live in it because you can’t breathe.

    Thanks for this Dan! Hope to hear more from you!

  2. January 1, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe
    that this website needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more,
    thanks for the info!

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