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3 Easy Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The Summer

Most Canadians are counting down the days until the official start of summer. With under a month left, most of us are looking forward to the time of year when we can enjoy regular warmth and sunshine. We also anticipate the ability to keep our windows open more often to allow for the fresh air from outside to circulate with the stagnant air from inside – a practice much harder to do during the winter, for obvious reasons.

However, keeping the windows open isn’t the only thing we should do to improve indoor air quality this summer. In fact, keeping the windows open isn’t even recommended on particularly hot days when it is humid. This is especially true for allergy sufferers. So if keeping an open window isn’t the only answer to cleaner indoor air, what else can we do to improve indoor air quality this summer?

Here are three simple ideas:

1. Service your air filters.

Yes, there will be days when the heat may just be too unbearable to keep your windows open. And while air conditioners can work wonders in helping us to beat the heat, it’s important to remember that a lot of debris can get trapped within them. Checking your air filters and ridding it of build up will help to ensure that the cool air circulating in your home isn’t polluted.

“Air conditioner filters (whether in a central-air system or a window unit) trap a lot of the junk that comes in from the outside—pollen, smoke, smog, and dirt—but they also filter out dust, dust mites, and pet dander that builds up in recirculated indoor air,” explains Emily Main of Rodale’s Organic Life, “Check your system’s filter once a month and either change it or clean it, depending on the type.”

2. Insist upon a no smoking rule.

If this rule hasn’t been fully implemented already, allow us to firmly reiterate that cigarette smoking should be outlawed in your home – all year round. Just a couple of weeks ago, we blogged about the fact that the harmful effects of cigarettes can remain in your home long after the smoker is done with his/her nasty habit. If you have smokers in your home, remind them that the summertime is the perfect time of year to smoke outdoors!

3. Practice pest control…safely.

When we think of summer, we often think of bugs. And yes, they’re bound to creep into our homes. Generally speaking, bug sprays are considered the answers to pest control. But, it should come as no surprise to you that such products contain harmful chemicals that can negatively impact our health. Main highly recommends that you control bugs with boric acid.

“Rather than reach for that smelly ant spray, which likely contains pyrethrins that have been found to trigger headaches, nausea, and asthma attacks, use a less-toxic product like boric acid, which isn’t harmful unless eaten or directly inhaled,” she advises, “Better still, use ‘integrated pest management’ techniques, such as caulking cracks where bugs enter, keeping trash bins tightly covered, and storing food in the pantry in airtight containers rather than the box or bag in which it was sold.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly recommend our Air Quality Services to help you enjoy the highest indoor air quality possible this summer. They focus on problem areas in your home that may be presenting health hazards to your family and its visitors. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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For Some, Nationwide Asbestos Ban By 2018 Isn’t Soon Enough

When it was announced, this past December, that Canada would finally be implementing a nationwide comprehensive ban on asbestos, it was met with much praise. Considered way past due, the decision to ban the hazardous material from being imported into Canada is one that will inevitably save thousands of lives. However, the ban, which is set to fully commence by the end of 2018, is one that isn’t being implemented soon enough.

On TireBusiness.com, Rob Bostelaar of Automotive News Canada reports that some people simply can’t understand why Canada isn’t insisting upon an immediate ban. Most specifically, Jim Brophy, a University of Windsor adjunct professor and former director of the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, is voicing his displeasure over the fact that the ban hasn’t already taken effect.

Sensibly, Brophy notes that the many Canadians who will endure exposure to asbestos, between now and the end of next year, are at risk of developing serious illnesses in the years to come. Mechanics, for example, must still endure the potential of asbestos exposure from imported replacement brake pads and shoes which have been used as cheaper alternatives to synthetic fibres.

“The latency here is enormous,” Brophy is quoted as saying, “Every day we allow these products to come into the country just extends the time frame in which this disease will arrive and be experienced by people in our population.” Bostelaar points out that asbestos doesn’t just appear in automotive materials. Citing a Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) report, he notes that building products, paper and even footwear contain the substance in small amounts.

Nevertheless, workers in the automotive industry appear to be at the highest risk of health issues due to asbestos exposure. “The lion’s share — nearly 75 per cent of the $8.3 million in asbestos imports in 2015, the CLC reports — is friction materials,” reveals Bostelaar, “The Automotive Industries Association (AIA), which represents aftermarket suppliers, was among those pressing for a grace period to allow the removal of existing products from vehicles and store shelves.”

But is the grace period really necessary? Bostelaar writes that suppliers of friction products such as Rayloc have stopped using asbestos over a decade ago and retailers such as Canadian Tire aren’t currently selling any asbestos-containing products. Without an immediate ban, fears Brophy, mechanics won’t know for sure if they’re being exposed to asbestos or not.

“Most garages do not have even close to the kind of protections that government regulations would say would be needed,” he insists, noting that the dangers are even higher for home mechanics who likely lack training on how to deal with asbestos, “And that’s why the only real way to effectively deal with this is to enact the ban and make sure that these products are not sold on the Canadian market.”

Sadly, asbestos is the leading cause of work-related deaths in Canada, taking 2,000 lives every year. Diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma are killers proven to be caused by asbestos exposure. “The full extent of the harm that has been caused is so under-reported and so under-recognized, that even when you say that it’s the leading cause of occupational disease and death in this country, you’re actually underestimating the full extent of it,” Brophy states.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we fully support the nationwide ban on asbestos and agree that it can’t come a moment too soon. And, as always, we are committed to helping Canadians avoid the harmful effects of asbestos exposure. For more information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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How To Eliminate The Smell Of Cigarettes From Your Home

If you’ve recently quit smoking, allow us to offer you some sincere and hearty congratulations! We don’t need to tell you how detrimental cigarette smoking is to your health. We probably also don’t need to tell you how harmful the effects of smoking are on people who don’t even smoke.

Secondhand smoke has been proven to cause just as deadly diseases as smoking itself. Having quit smoking, you’re helping to save the lives of the people you love – not just yourself. However, there is a problem that your former nasty habit has left behind.

What can you do about that nasty cigarette odour lingering in your home?

Believe it or not, thirdhand smoke (nicotine residue that sticks to surfaces) can also create numerous respiratory illnesses in addition to irritating our senses of smell. It’s important that if you or anyone else has smoked cigarettes in your home, you perform some maintenance work in order to fully eradicate the health hazards associated with the bad habit.

On TheSpruce.com, Diane Schmidt insists that you clean everything! We’re talking the walls, ceilings, carpets, floors, doors, drapes, blinds, windows and mirrors. To completely remove both the smell and harmful effects of cigarette smoke from your home, you literally can’t leave any surfaced untouched. It sounds overwhelming. However, you can get quite a jump on effectively removing the smell of cigarettes from your home simply by opening the windows.

“Fresh air is your friend so open all windows,” advises Schmidt, “Get as much fresh air into your home as possible. While this won’t get rid of the smell, it’ll help. Also, set bowls of white vinegar around your home, at least one per room (depending on the room size). Just make sure small children and pets are safe.”

How important is vinegar in the removal of the smell of cigarettes in your home?

Well, let’s put it this way. If fresh air is your friend, then vinegar is your best friend when it comes to eliminating that nasty smoky smell. A natural cleanser, vinegar can be used to clean both the surfaces in your home and all of the fabrics within it. On QuickAndDirtyTips.com, Amanda Thomas offers up a simple, yet comprehensive way to deodorize your household fabrics.

“While it might not necessarily be practical, or possible, to remove all the fabric from your home (a couch can be a beast to move to the patio!), do remove all the fabric items you can from the smelly room,” she instructs, “This includes any pillows, bedding, blankets, and curtains. If you have a large washing machine, you can throw all these through a cold wash cycle with 2 cups of vinegar added to the load.”

How can you be sure that the air in your home has been purified?

It may be necessary to get an air purifier. As Jeff Flowers tells us on AllergyAndAir.com, “these purification systems work by pulling indoor air into their them, cleaning it, and then circulating it back into the room…This is by far the most effective way to cleanse your indoor air of cigarette smoke, as well as many other airborne toxins.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend our Air Quality Services in order to help you enjoy the highest indoor air quality possible. Our inspection processes focus on problem areas that may be presenting health hazards to your family and other visitors to the home. 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 Liquids You Can Use To Eliminate Household Mould

Mould is nasty! And we’re not just talking about the fact that it looks gross. No one likes to see those black and green clumps accumulating in their bathroom tiles or on their shower curtains. But those aren’t the only places that mould can appear in your household. Mould thrives on the warmth and moisture in your bathroom, but it can also be found in any and all areas of the house where warmth and moisture exist.

And mould isn’t just nasty because of its appearance. It’s known to trigger allergies, invoke asthmas symptoms, create sinus infections and irritate our skin. When it comes to our homes, mould is definitely a villain. So, it’s important that we all fight like superheroes in order to eradicate mould from our home bases. It just so happens that there are some effective secret weapons that can help you!

Here are three liquids you can use to eliminate household mould:

1. Tea Tree Oil.

Tea tree oil is known as a natural, yet powerful fungicide. Unlike many store-bought chemical-based solutions, this effective mould remover provides your home with a sweet scent. Using tea tree oil to eliminate mould is actually pretty easy. All that is required is about ten drops in a spray bottle filled with water. Simply spray the solution on all of the mould-ridden areas of your home and let it sit for a while. You’ll soon be able to wipe away the mould completely.

On NaturalLivingIdeas.com, Janice Taylor heralds tea tree oil as top natural mould removal solution. She offers up some advice on how to maximize its effectiveness. “You’ll still have to scrub a bit, but with repeated use this all-natural cleaner will kill the fungus and help to prevent future growth,” she explains, “Remember: You’ll have to shake this mixture well before each use as the oils will separate.”

2. Vinegar.

Not necessarily the sweetest smelling of all liquid-based mould removers, plain white vinegar is an effective solution nonetheless. Considered one of the world’s best all-natural cleaners in general, vinegar is a naturally antimicrobial solution. As a result, it’s not necessary to mix it with water or any other cleaning products. It kills and dissolves mould and fungus all on its own!

It’s also a very inexpensive solution to your mould problem, Kirsten Hudson points out on OrganicAuthority.com. She goes on to offer some vinegar-based cleaning tips. “Simply fill a spray bottle with vinegar straight up. No diluting!” she writes, “Spritz the vinegar directly on the mouldy spots in your home. Let the vinegar sit for a while and then wipe away the vinegar, mould and all. Repeat as needed.”

3. Vodka.

Yes, you read that right! The popular alcoholic drink is good for more than getting the party started. In fact, the most inexpensive versions of vodka make for the best cleaners, says Taylor. This is because they are filtered less, distilled fewer times and therefore, “contain more congeners like acetaldehyde which is exponentially more toxic (about thirty times more so) to unwanted fungus than ethanol.”

Hudson completely agrees. “Pull out that vodka from your liquor cabinet and pour it into a spray bottle,” she advises, “Don’t worry. You don’t need to grab the top-shelf stuff. The cheap kind actually works better for cleaning. Spritz the vodka straight on mold to put it into a drunken stupor. Let the vodka work for a while, and then use a rag or sponge to wipe away the mould.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we proudly offer Mould Assessment Services to help you combat the mould problem that may exist in your household. 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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