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Preventing Carbon Monoxide From Entering Our Homes

fire smoke carbon monoxide detector alarm - illustration for the webCarbon monoxide is a silent killer. That isn’t just a flashy nickname. It’s an unfortunate truth. Because it is an odourless, colourless gas, it cannot be detected without carbon monoxide detectors. An inability to recognize the presence of the deadly gas quickly after it makes its way into your home can lead to death. This is an all-too-tragic fact, as reported by Mariam Matti of CTV Toronto.

In March of 2014, she reported on the death of a Brampton, Ontario family that had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. “The family had been using two portable propane heaters indoors to keep the house warm after their furnace broke, according to police,” reports Matti, noting that all fuel-burning appliances and wood stoves can serve as culprits to the emission of carbon monoxide gas. As such, they should be professionally serviced.

“Carbon monoxide comes from the burning of various fuels — propane, natural gas, wood burning appliances and gas barbeques,” she quotes Raynald Marchand, the general manager at Canada Safety Council, as saying. Matti goes on to insist that generators or oil-based heaters never be operated in enclosed spaces. “Marchand said a common mistake people make is bringing appliances meant for outdoor use inside their home,” reveals Matti.

What are some of the early warning signs of carbon monoxide? Because it is so difficult to detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the home, it’s of vital importance to be mindful of the symptoms that surround its exposure. They include fatigue, headaches, disorientation, shortness of breath, nausea and impaired motor functions, Matti lists. She also notes that chest pain, poor vision and dizziness can arise due to exposure to low levels of the gas over time.

What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous? “If allowed to accumulate, it can fatally starve the human body of oxygen,” reports The Canadian Press, courtesy of CityNews, “Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the bloodstream, normally has a spot reserved for the oxygen molecule. Carbon monoxide binds to that spot instead, preventing oxygen from being effectively carried to the rest of the body. High exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal.”

The Canadian Press also reports that in January of this year, a 15-month-old girl was credited with saving the lives of her parents and pets after carbon monoxide entered their Kamloops, British Columbia home. According to the report, “the toddler was crying in the middle of the night, which alerted her parents.” Thankfully, this family was able to avoid joining the list of the 380 people who died due to accidental CO poisoning between 2000 and 2009, as reported by Statistics Canada.

What precautions can be taken to prevent CO from entering the home? “Health Canada says every home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed to warn if CO levels pose a threat,” says The Canadian Press, “An ideal location for a detector would be hallways outside bedrooms, since noise from the alarm could potentially wake up occupants in case of emergency.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning very seriously. As such, we offer Air Quality Services among many others that work to pinpoint any problem areas in the home that may be negatively impacting its indoor air quality. For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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4 Summertime Tips For Improving Indoor Air Quality

Beautiful view over a window of a green field with a blue skyWarmer temperatures are often causes for celebration in Canada. And with signs of summer slowly appearing, many of us are already planning all of the outdoor activities that will help us to enjoy the heat and sunshine. It’s also very likely that most of us will also be opening our windows a lot more often. Being able to circulate the stagnant and stale air in our homes with the fresher air from outside can do a lot to improve our indoor air quality.

But what other ways can we improve indoor air quality in the summer? Here are four tips:

1. Keep the floors clean. Remember that with summer comes a lot more time being spent outdoors. That also means you’ll be giving yourself many new opportunities to track the dirt from outside into your home. In Canada, we generally maintain the habit of removing our outdoor shoes when we enter homes. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep the floors of your home clean in order to keep the air inside as fresh as possible.

“One of the best ways to help keep the air in your home fresh is by cleaning the floors,” advises TimeForComfort.com, “Be sure to vacuum the carpet at least once a week for the best results and even more frequently than this if you suffer from extreme allergies. It’s ideal to mop the ceramic, tile or wood floors weekly, as well. This will get rid of the dust and other pollutants in your home that could deter you from having a higher quality of air in your home.”

2. Change your air conditioner filters regularly. While Canadians tend to love the heat during the summertime, there’s only so much of it we can take. On especially hot days, it’s nice to be able to cool off in our air conditioned homes. It’s important, however, to properly maintain our air conditioners so that they are not adding pollutants to the air we breathe. “It’s very important to clean air filters regularly and replace them with new ones every two or three months,” advises TemperaturePerfection.com.

3. Keep cigarette smoking an outdoor activity. To be fair, heavy cigarette smokers are often known for being courteous. Many of them travel outdoors during the winter, braving subzero temperatures simply because they need to address their nicotine habits. That way, they don’t disturb those who they’re family members and co-workers with their toxic cigarette smoke. However, not every smoker is that considerate. Smoking indoors is arguably the worst thing a person can do for the quality of the air.

During the summertime, it’s important that smokers do the right thing. If you’re not going to quit, be sure to take your smoking habit outside. “Smoke is one of the worse toxins to let in your home, and this should be avoided,” asserts TimeForComfort.com, “Refrain from smoking in the house and ask others not to do so, as well to keep your indoor air quality high. Being able to create a smoke-free environment, this will allow you to have better air quality for your health and your loved ones.”

4. Test for radon. “You could have a radon problem if you have a new or old home,” TemperaturePerfection.com warns us, “This odourless, colourless gas raises the potential for developing lung cancer.” Radon is a naturally-forming gas that evolves from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It can seep into our homes through cracks in the foundation. In enclosed spaces, it can become highly concentrated and very dangerous.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Radon Services which are designed to locate the exact levels of radon in the homes and offices of our clients. We are committed to ensuring that your indoor air quality is the best it can be all summer long. For more information about our new Radon Services, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-855-668-3131. You can also email us at info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Impact Of A Dirty Home On Indoor Air Quality

Depositphotos_48440033_s-2015Have you ever been to dinner with a friend and noticed a bit of food stuck in his/her teeth? We all have. The question is, do you say something about it? It’s not all that big a deal, right? But it tends to bother you nonetheless. Most people, we would venture to guess, would kindly point out the trapped food to allow their friends to remove the potentially embarrassing remnants of their meals. But this kind gesture isn’t so easy to offer in other situations.

Take, for example, the state of a person’s home. We all have our own particular tendencies for the ways in which we maintain the states of our places of living. Have you ever been to someone’s home and couldn’t help but notice how messy it is? Do you see dust on all of the furniture and pet hair strewn all over the floor? Do you notice grime in the tiles and stains in the carpets? What do you say in such situations?

Although most would likely keep their opinions about their friends’ messy homes to themselves, they’d actually be providing big favours by making mention of them. This is because cleaner homes foster healthier lifestyles. The messier a home is, the worse it is for its indoor air quality. And this can present long-term negative health effects. Dust is an especially big problem for those with asthma and allergies.

How does dust become a major health problem? On ImmaculateClean.com, it is explained that bedrooms and living rooms that aren’t regularly cleaned become major problem areas. “If your living room has not been vacuumed or its curtains are not clean, then you risk exposing you and your family to allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, mold, and other free-floating debris,” explains the site, “These problems can also trigger asthma attacks in people who are prone to them.”

On BranchBasics.com, Marilee Nelson suggests that, thanks to dust, the dirtiest part of your home may very well be the air that you’re breathing. After all, air is invisible and generally odourless, so you’re not prone to consider the ways in which you can clean it. People tend to only clean surface areas of the home that they can see. And, in many cases, the cleaning products they’re using are only serving to worsen the quality of the air in the home.

How do some cleaning products worsen indoor air quality? “Conventional cleaning methods often fail to address the indoor air pollutants that could be making you sick,” reports Nelson, “In fact, cleaning with products containing synthetic fragrance and other harmful chemicals or with an unsealed vacuum cleaner can actually leave the indoor air quality in your home worse than when you started cleaning.”

How does mould become a major health problem? Bathrooms are often places where household cleaning products are used. Of course, it only makes sense to keep bathrooms clean. But, once again, not everyone practices the same home cleaning routines. As a result, some bathrooms become havens for mould growth which can exacerbate asthma symptoms as well as cause eye, nose and throat irritation.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we have always taken the issue of indoor air quality very seriously. If your home (or the home of a friend) isn’t regularly cleaned, you could be leaving its inhabitants open to unnecessary health hazards. Our Air Quality Services pinpoint a home’s areas of concern to enable its residents to live in a cleaner environment. 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 Unconventional Approaches To Quitting Smoking

Young caucasian woman quiting smoking isolatedWith the weather slowly, but surely warming up, most Canadians are relishing the idea of being able to spend more time outdoors. And while the impending summer months provide ample reasons to get out of the house, it remains a fact that most of us spend the majority of our time indoors. The time is takes to sleep, for example, puts us in our homes a minimum of a third of each day. As a result, our indoor air quality will always remain a concern.

Yes, warmer temperatures give us more opportunities to open the windows and allow the stale, stagnant air from inside to circulate with the fresher air from outside. But there is one particular habit that will keep your indoor air quality at dangerous lows if it is not put to an end. You likely won’t be surprised to know that we’re referring to cigarette smoking. Arguably, there isn’t a more obvious detriment to the air we breathe than cigarette smoke.

As you’re likely aware, cigarette smoke affects everyone who comes into contact with it. Of course, that doesn’t just mean smokers. Our blog has covered the impacts of secondhand smoke and even thirdhand smoke in the past. So, needless to say, if you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality of your home and the health statuses of everyone within in, you’ll find a way to quit smoking immediately.

Every smoker is aware, however, that that’s easier said than done. Attempting to quit cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone. While some people who have experienced major health scares are able to kick the habit immediately, there are others who need even more incentive to finally do away with their addictions to nicotine. Perhaps, in their cases, some unconventional approaches to quitting smoking are necessary.

Here are three:

1. Create a non-smoker’s savings jar. For some people, saving money is an excellent incentive for accomplishing any goal. If protecting your health isn’t motivation enough, consider putting the money you would otherwise spend on cigarettes into a jar to physically show you just how much money you can save by quitting. For an added push, put a picture of a vacation spot you’d like to visit on the jar to remind you of an alternative use for the money.

2. Trick yourself by limiting your access. People who are approaching new paths towards better health and nutrition will inhibit their previous bad eating habits by simply not storing bad foods in their homes. The principle is that it’s hard to cheat on your diet when junk food isn’t readily available. It’s the same idea here. Force yourself to leave the house without your pack of cigarettes. Carry just a couple of them on you so that you can’t satisfy every craving you have throughout the day.

3. Create a list of alternative activities. Smokers often justify their bad habits simply by referring to them as “something to do”. If that sounds like you, it’s time to come up with other things to do. Reader’s Digest offers the following suggestions for people trying to quit smoking. “Take a walk, drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child, throw the ball for the dog, play a game, wash the car (and) clean out a cupboard or closet” are just a few of their recommendations.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we fully support your quest to quit cigarette smoking. To reiterate, it will greatly improve the health of both you and the people around you. With the improvement of indoor air quality being our specialty, we urge you to learn more about our Air Quality Services – especially if you have done any smoking 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. Theresa Croft-Reply
    April 7, 2016 at 1:16 am

    how much does it cost to have an assessment of a home?

    • Dennis French-Reply
      April 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Theresa, I have emailed you directly to discuss the assessment. I hope to hear from you to sort out your concerns.

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