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Taking Steps To Prevent Mould Growth In The Home

Condensation cause mold and moisture in the house -Towel absorbs water from the windowMould is often associated with food that has gone bad. That mossy green stuff is a clear indicator that whatever you had leftover is now inedible. However, mould can actually be found all throughout our homes. It comes in different forms and colours. So, it’s important to know where and why it exists. Because mould spores can be hazardous to our health, it’s wise to take the necessary steps to prevent mould growth in our homes.

Where can mould be found in our homes? Mould most often grows in areas of the home that are damp and poorly ventilated. It often appears black, brown or dark green in colour. It can show up on our walls, ceilings and around windows where moisture can seep through cracks. It also commonly rears its ugly head in our showers and bathtubs, especially between the tiles – also places where there is a lot of moisture.

Mould can also be found in our carpets and in our closets. Especially when we keep our homes untidy or cluttered, mould has the ability to find dark, dank spaces to grow. Be on the lookout for stains that may have been caused by leaks or other water damage. This will especially be important during the upcoming fall season when there may be a lot of rainfall and during the winter when the snow on top of our homes melts.

How can you discover what caused the mould growth? In order to determine the source of the mould, it’s a good idea to inspect the outside of your house. That way, you’ll be able to locate openings where moisture may be able to seep into the home. Be sure to check out your roof, the siding, your attic, the gutters and the drains. Of course, you’ll also want to inspect areas inside of the home – especially behind your furniture, in closets and storage spaces and in the basement.

What can you do to prevent mould growth? Keeping a clean and tidy home is an excellent start. The quicker you’re able to locate leaks or wipe up spills, the better. You don’t want pools of water to accumulate anywhere as mould simply thrives on moisture. Be sure to clean and dry all water spillage within a day or two. And if any of your home’s elements experience water damage, it’s best to replace them right away.

You also want to avoid having it be too humid inside the home. Among other issues, humidity creates condensation on the windows and the walls. To decrease the humidity in your home, you’ll want to limit the length of your showers, especially if you’re using particularly warm water that generates a lot of steam. You know all of that mist that is left on your mirror after a shower? That’s a sure fire sign that it is way too humid.

Be sure to use the exhaust fan in the bathroom during your showers. Do the same in the kitchen when you’re cooking. You’ll also want to ensure that your home is properly ventilated. Open the windows as often as possible to allow the air from inside to circulate with the air from outside. If you have a ventilation system, make sure that you are regularly maintaining it. This will all help to prevent humidity levels from getting too high.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services that assess, analyze and report on the findings of mould in your home, office or building. Our comprehensive assessments include visual inspections for sources of mould, analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning. 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 Steps To Keeping Your Home Clean During Back-To-School Season

happy family do the cleaningIf you’re looking to maintain the highest levels of indoor air quality in your home, it’s important to take regular steps to keeping it clean. That should probably go without saying. However, there are certain times of the year when it’s a bit more difficult to keep your home clean. And the impending back-to-school season is one of them. With the kids headed back to the classroom in a couple of weeks, they will likely be engaging in activities that make for messier homes.

With less time to dedicate to keeping their rooms clean, clothes, books and other possessions are bound to pile up. Your children are also likely to invite friends over to study – or not to study! – which tracks more dirt into the home from their shoes. And you’ll also be busy preparing lunches for each school day, giving your kitchen more opportunities to be in disarray. Fear not. There are some ways to keep your home clean throughout the school year.

Here are five steps to keeping your home clean during the back-to-school season:

1. Start cleaning now! Don’t wait for the school year to begin to start your revved up house cleaning routines. In fact, the cleaner your home is before school starts, the easier it will be to keep it clean throughout the school year. “Don’t let the school year sneak up on you,” warns RightAtHome.com, “When you’re scheduling your last summer vacation, use one of those days off work to get your house in order for what’s ahead.”

2. Insist upon the shoes-off policy for guests. As we mentioned earlier, there may be a few new faces showing up at your front door in the coming weeks. Make sure that the friends of your children know that wearing shoes in the home is a no-no. “It’s important to make sure that playdate mates know this rule right out of the gate,” insists Vera Sweeney on SheKnows.com, “When friends come over, they must take off their shoes. Have a mat by the front door and make sure your children offer up some encouragement.”

3. Establish a new storage system. Your school-bound children will have many new items that will become parts of their regular school days in the coming weeks. So where will those items be stored once they’re back in the house? “Clean your coat closet or streamline your mudroom to create space for the kids (not you) to store their backpacks, jackets, sports and music equipment, and other back-to-school gear,” suggests RightAtHome.com.

4. Make weekly room cleanings a must. With your children using their rooms more often – for studying and homework, we would hope – it’s likely that they will become messier than normal. As a result, instilling a new rule about regular room cleaning is necessary. “Every single weekend, make sure your children clean out their corners, closets and underneath their beds, “advises Sweeney.

5. Engage in daily wipe downs. During the school year, your kids will be placing just about everything they carry to and from school on your furniture – most notably, your kitchen table. Between their books, lunch boxes and backpacks, your table is going to encounter more germs than at any other time of the year. It’s recommended that you use disinfectant wipes to wipe down both your children’s school materials and your furniture on a regular basis.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take your indoor air quality seriously. We offer Air Quality Services that use inspection processes that target all areas of concern in your home. As a result, we’re able to foster much healthier living conditions for you and 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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Impatience Growing Over Canada’s Slow Move To Ban Asbestos

Red stamp with text Warning Asbestos,vector illustrationOver the past several months, our blog has been monitoring the ongoing news story about our federal government’s commitment to implement a nationwide ban on asbestos. The longer it takes for the ban to take effect, however, the more that there is doubt that such a ban will ever commence. It is well documented that asbestos has been the cause of death for many hard-working Canadians.

So could possibly be the hold up for a nationwide ban? In several of our blogs, we’ve noted the number of cases and high costs for medical care caused by the hazardous material. The Chronicle Journal calls the delay “shameful” and pointed out that more than 55 other countries across the world have already implemented asbestos bans. For some reason, Canada is yet to join the list of countries that recognize asbestos for what it is: a deadly, toxic material.

“The roots of our dangerous obstinacy are political,” reports The Chronicle Journal, “Successive prime ministers have defended the deadly mineral in the hopes of winning votes in rural Quebec, where asbestos mining was an important industry for more than a century. Only last summer, three years after the last of Quebec’s mines shut down amid dwindling demand, did Ottawa finally acknowledge that ‘asbestos, if inhaled, can cause cancer and other diseases.’”

Even still, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet called for a nationwide ban, even though he announced, months ago, that Canada was “moving to ban asbestos” because “its impact on workers far outweighs any benefits that it might provide.” This came as welcome news to both health advocates and victims of asbestos-related diseases alike. Today, however, there are doubts that the ban is coming.

Just how much damage is asbestos causing Canadians? “A recent study found that in 2011 alone, nearly 2,100 Canadian workers were diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers,” reveals The Chronicle Journal, “It pegged the financial cost of such illnesses at $1.7 billion per year. One would hope that statistics like these would add some urgency to the government’s review.”

A nationwide ban may not be in effect yet, but people throughout Canada are practically implementing bans of their own. Earlier this week, Ricardo Veneza reported on BlackburnNews.com that the County of Essex, in Southern Ontario, is completely backing the call to ban asbestos in Canada. “Council approved a resolution that will see the county pressure the federal government to bring in a complete ban of the cancer-causing substance in Canada,” he writes.

Brian Hogan is the President of the Windsor and District Labour Council. “I think if enough councils, enough citizens push (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) that things will happen,” he is quoted as saying, “(It is) beyond tragic when you have so many citizens that have died — I’ve lost relatives — and you’re perpetuating it, that’s pure ignorance…Fifty-six countries now (have banned asbestos) so we’re not on the ground floor.”

It’s no secret that DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. also firmly supports a nationwide ban on asbestos. Understanding how hazardous it is to the health of Canadians, we are highly committed to offering our Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) Services that include asbestos testing procedures. 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 Important Reasons To Test Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Profile of a beautiful woman relaxing lying on a couch at homeLet’s be honest. We all take the air we breathe for granted, don’t we? We know that it’s there, but we rarely ever pay attention to it. It’s safe to say that that is because we usually can’t see it or smell it. But that can actually be a problem. Just because nothing out of the ordinary is detectable, it doesn’t mean that the air we breathe is free of contaminants. Air pollution, unfortunately, is all around us.

And this is certainly true in our homes. Even for the most meticulous of “neat freaks”, poor indoor air quality is a factual concern. Everything from contaminated air from outside seeping in to pet dander to the growth of mould and mildew due to humidity can make our homes susceptible to housing air that is bad for our health. This is why an indoor air quality inspection is so important. Most often, poor indoor air quality is undetectable without one.

Here are three important reasons to test your home’s indoor air quality:

1. Undetectable gases. Not all gases have colours or odours. Carbon monoxide and radon are among them. And they often find themselves in our homes. CO, for example, is often emitted from such household items as furnaces, gas stoves, fireplaces and water heaters. “CO causes an array of symptoms — from headaches and nausea to confusion and unconsciousness,” explains Russell McLendon of Mother Nature Network.

Radon enters our homes by seeping in through cracks and other openings. It is emitted from nearby soil that contains low levels of decaying uranium. While generally harmless in the outdoor air, it can become a health hazard when concentrated. As Joseph Loiero of CBC News reports, “radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada after smoking.”

2. Volatile organic compounds. Also known as VOCs, these are the types of air pollutants that we actually invite into our homes. We may not have done so purposely, but if you’ve ever installed new carpeting, painted your furniture, hung a new shower curtain or used cleaning products, you have subjected yourself to VOCs. You’ll know because of the smells that are emitted from these items and tasks.

“Countless products in your home emit VOCs, from cleaners to paint to furniture,” explains Michael Rosone on Aristair.com, “Even through you can’t smell all of them, they’re present in most homes at least at “background” levels, and can cause short-term health symptoms including headaches and nausea. Longer term (and scarier) health effects are also possible with repeated exposure.”

3. Asbestos. Over the past few months, we have been paying particular attention to a controversy in Canada over its intention to propose a complete nationwide ban on asbestos. Although the federal government made promises to do so a few months back, we continue to await any official word on an official ban. By now, it should be needless to say that asbestos in an incredibly hazardous material.

Especially if you live in an older home, there may be asbestos in your insulation materials. When disturbed by renovations, for example, asbestos can release airborne fibres that are known to cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. “Given the risks involved, DIY asbestos remediation is rarely a good idea,” advises McLendon, “Even taking your own samples for testing isn’t recommended.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer expert services to detect and inevitably do away with the causes of poor indoor air quality. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about our Air Quality Services, Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services and Radon Services among many others. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Removing Your Shoes The Canadian Way Is Still Good For Your Health

Old blue tennis shoes on welcome mat outside worn door.One year ago – almost to the day – we posted a blog suggesting that being Canadian was good for your indoor air quality. Specifically referring to the fact that it’s a Canadian custom to remove your shoes when entering into a home, our blog highlighted the importance of keeping your indoor environment dirt-free. It’s still a surprise to many that our American counterparts don’t seem to share the same views. Many still choose to wear their outdoor shoes indoors.

Most Canadians simply don’t understand this. When walking outdoors, we simply cannot avoid stepping in dirt, water, grass, gum, debris and when we’re not careful, animal feces! Why would we want to track any of that stuff into the house? A simple look at the bottoms of our shoes after one outdoor excursion should tell you that they should not be worn in the house. Exchanging them for house slippers, socks or even bare feet is a safer bet.

Is it hazardous to your health to wear shoes indoors? Well, let’s look at it from this perspective. Is it healthy to have an unclean home? Obviously, it is not. The cleaner you keep your home, the better your health will be. On TreeHugger.com, Melissa Breyer confirms this when she reveals the findings of a University of Arizona study that collected the germs and microbes from footwear.

“The researchers found 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe, including E. coli, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract and wounds,” she reports, “Granted the study was co-sponsored by The Rockport Company, but even so, it definitely brings the point home.”

What else do outdoor shoes track into the home? Breyer reveals that, in addition to bacteria, a number of toxins enter our homes on the bottoms of our shoes. She points to a United States Environmental Protection Agency study that discovered the presence of unhealthy herbicides, such as 2,4-D (which is used to kill weeds), can be imported into the home by our shoes for up to a week after application.

“The ‘track-in’ exposures of these chemicals may exceed those from residues on non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Breyer, “The study didn’t expound on the health threat of the specific herbicide, however the study’s lead author, Dr. Robert G. Lewis, said the potential exists. Exposure to 2,4-D can cause immediate and relatively minor problems like skin rashes and gastrointestinal upsets; long-term health effects of the herbicide are unknown, the EPA said.”

How can we avoid tracking dirt into our homes? Well, we suppose the answer here is obvious. Removing your shoes when you enter your home is a great way to minimize the amount of dirt and grime you bring into it. We’re not exactly sure why more of our American neighbours aren’t practicing this simple, yet effective routine. But we’re certainly supportive of the Canadian custom to do so.

Breyer suggests going with bare feet when you’re inside. “The opportunity to be barefoot is just good for your feet,” she writes, “Studies have shown that children who habitually go without shoes have fewer cases of flat feet, as well as having stronger feet with better flexibility and fewer podiatric deformities. Allowing your foot muscles to do their thing helps them stay strong and flexible.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we recognize that it’s not altogether possible to keep your home completely dirt and grime free. Years of allowing the elements from outside to infiltrate into the home can produce less-than-stellar indoor air quality. Our Air Quality Services use inspection processes to target all areas of concern in your home to promote much healthier living.

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

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