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Should You Keep Your Windows Open In The Fall?

Canadians are prone to cracking the windows in the summertime. Obviously, right? With the warmth and sunshine so prevalent during the summer, it only makes sense to let some of the fresh, warm air from outside circulate with the otherwise stagnant, stale air from inside. But now that the fall is in full swing, Canadians are prone to keeping their windows shut. Considering the much cooler temperatures, that would make sense right?

Have you heard of sick building syndrome?

It’s what can happen when we keep our windows closed all the time. Known as SBS for short, sick building syndrome refers to the health issues that may arise when we keep ourselves locked in tightly sealed spaces with little ventilation. In a special to the National Post, Mike Holmes of “Holmes On Homes” fame explains that there are a number of symptoms that people experience when they keep themselves cooped up.

Headaches, dizziness and nausea are among them. “Not only can keeping openings closed cause condensation issues inside your house (i.e. weeping windows), which we know can lead to mould, it also allows toxins already inside the home to build up,” writes Holmes, “That includes volatile organic compounds, mould spores, dust, smoke, radon, viruses and bacteria. Breathing these in over an extended period of time isn’t good for your health.”

How can opening windows improve our health?

When we keep our windows closed, we trap air pollutants in our home. By opening the windows, we let them out. It’s really that simple. And yes, even during the colder months of the year, it’s wise to crack the windows to allow for that healthy circulation of air to take place. Of course, you don’t have to keep the windows open all day long. On MindBodyGreen.com, it’s explained that only a few minutes a day are necessary.

“Even when it’s chilly outside, you should open a window for at least five minutes a day to significantly decrease the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home,” says the website, “Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Manual is the way to go.”

Should you keep the windows open in the winter?

Holmes believes that cracking the windows is an activity that shouldn’t be limited to the summer or fall. He advocates for the opening of windows during the ever-frigid wintertime too. “You don’t need to do this for hours; 15 to 20 minutes is enough to make a difference,” he points out, “It’s also a good solution for homes that don’t have forced air. Yes, you will be losing some energy, but the health benefits you get from bringing fresh air into your home can offset this energy loss.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we regularly champion any act that will help to improve indoor air quality. And while we agree that opening your windows each day, throughout the year, is a good idea, we know that there is more that can be done. And we’d like to do it for you!

Contact us to today to learn about our Air Quality Services. Call 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Battling Mould And Mildew With The Simple Act Of Keeping Things Dry

It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Just keep your home dry. That way, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of having any mould or mildew growth. It really isn’t all that simple though, is it? When you really think about it, we all require the presence of moisture in our daily lives. We cook, we clean, we drink, we bathe – our daily routines demand the presence of water. So how can we reasonably keep things dry?

First things first, wipe up those spills.

As Better Homes & Gardens explains, mould and mildew can quickly grow anywhere there is moisture. “They serve an important purpose in our environment by helping to destroy organic materials such as leaves, thereby enriching the soil,” explains the site, “But that same attribute can cause a serious health issue for people living in a mouldy home: respiratory problems; sinus congestion; eye, nose, or throat irritation; and headaches.”

The site goes on to reveal that infants, children, pregnant women, elderly individuals and people who have existing respiratory conditions are at the highest risk of experiencing the symptoms associated with mould and mildew presence. Heidi Hill of the Mother Nature Network seconds the call for wet areas to be dried up immediately. She points out that without paying attention to the moist areas of the home, mould can appear.

“Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours,” writes Hill, “If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don’t leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower.”

Hills goes on to mention that even the simplest of acts like leaving wet clothes in the washing machine can promote mould growth that can spread quickly. “Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation,” she advises.

Never neglect the bathroom.

Naturally, the bathroom is an area of the home where moisture is always present. Keeping things dry in there is especially important if you want to prevent mould from growing. As a result, it’s important to keep your bathroom well ventilated. If you’re home alone, shower with the bathroom door open. If you want to guarantee privacy and keep the door closed, be sure to run the exhaust fan.

Better Homes & Gardens also offers the following tips to keep your bathroom mould-free:

  • Spread towels out after use so that they dry more quickly.
  • Minimize containers left in the shower for cleaning ease and better circulation.
  • Wipe down the shower with a clean towel or squeegee after its last daily use.
  • Choose shower curtains that dry and clean easily to help avoid soap residue, which fosters mould.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to keep your home mould-free. It’s imperative for promoting optimum health for everyone who dwells within it. For more information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Asbestos Found To Be Deadliest Substance In Ontario Workplaces

We’re now less than three months away from the beginning of 2018. And while time is known to fly, the new year can’t come soon enough for thousands of families all across Canada. Sadly, so many of them have been gravely affected by the hazardous substance known as asbestos. Taking far too many lives each year and earning top spot as the number one cause of workplace deaths in Canada, asbestos will finally be banned nationwide next year.

While the announcement of the comprehensive ban last December was met with widespread approval, many rightfully believe that it came far too late. As Tavia Grant points out in her recent article in The Globe and Mail, asbestos leads all carcinogens as the top cancer-causing agent in workplaces within the province of Ontario. She cites a paper released by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre and Cancer Care Ontario last week as evidence.

The study, notes Grant, is the first to estimate the number of cancer cases from workplace exposure in Ontario. It is part of a four-year national project. Paul Demers is the OCRC director. “I can’t count the number of times that I have talked about how important it is to prevent exposure to carcinogens, but raising awareness doesn’t always lead to action,” he is quoted as saying, “I think the numbers are important to make this real and push action towards preventing exposure to these causes of cancer.”

The OCRC paper exposes the fact that Ontario workers spend approximately a third of their waking hours in their workplaces. Nevertheless, very little has been done by way of researching the impact of the cancer-causing agents that are present in their places of work. The recent OCRC study identifies four key carcinogens: asbestos, diesel-engine exhaust, silica and solar ultraviolet radiation (outdoor sun exposure).

Asbestos is clearly highlighted as the worst of them all. Grant notes that it “causes an estimated 15 laryngeal cancers in Ontario each year, as well as some ovarian cancers. By industry, most workplace exposure to asbestos is in construction, largely through maintenance and renovations of homes and buildings, as well as in manufacturing.”

She goes on to highlight the fact that even though the forthcoming ban of asbestos seeks to eliminate its use in Canada, there are still a number of asbestos-laden products that are being used throughout the country.

Insulation and tiles have been widely used in the construction of homes and public buildings such as schools and universities, Grant reminds us. It can easily be concluded that by eliminating asbestos use in any and all products all throughout Canada, the risk of people contracting deadly lung cancers will significantly be reduced.

As Grant reports, “the study recommended strengthening rules on workplace exposure limits, reducing or eliminating the use of toxic substances on the job, and creating registries of worker exposures to occupational carcinogens.”

It should come as no surprise that the team at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is practically counting down the days until Canada’s nationwide asbestos ban takes full effect. 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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