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3 Easy Steps To Living In A Healthier Home

This past Monday, most of the world celebrated Earth Day. As we pointed out in last week’s blog, the annual celebration is a reminder that we can all put more efforts into protecting our environment. Of course, it’s also wise to protect the environments within which we spend most of our time – our homes!

Do you wish to live in a healthy environment? Who wouldn’t? Here are three easy steps to living in a healthier home:

1. Crack open the windows.

You won’t be surprised to see this piece of advice on today’s list of tips. It’s one we’ve championed several times over. With warmer weather now here, it’s a good idea to keep your windows open more frequently. There’s likely to be a lot of stale air that has been cooped up in your home all winter long. Let it out! And be sure to have the fresh air from outside circulate with the stagnant air from inside a lot more often throughout the spring and summer.

According to BoneStructure.ca, “even if your indoor air is clean and free of irritants, your home requires a steady flow of fresh air in, stale air out. Today’s new houses are tightly sealed for energy efficiency, but while innovations like triple-pane windows are excellent at preventing drafts and lowering utility bills, they can also prevent a healthy exchange of indoor air with new air from outside.”

2. Test for radon.

Radon is a colourless, odourless gas. Because of that, it can’t be detected by sight or smell. Nevertheless, when it is found in high concentrations, it can be incredibly hazardous to our health. It comes from the ground outside and can seep into your home through its various cracks. In the outdoors, radon is relatively harmless. But, as mentioned, when trapped in tight spaces, it can be dangerous.

Testing for radon is vital to protecting the health of everyone in your home. “Radon tests are important when it comes to protecting your home and improving the air,” agrees Rinkesh on the Conserve Energy Future Blog, “Certain parts of the country have more problems with radon than others. Basements are popular spaces where radon is found. Detectors can be purchased to ensure the air is safe.”

3. Locate and remove all mould.

Mould is gross. Whether of the green or black variety, it is unsightly as it is bad for your health. When mould spores become airborne, they can significantly impact asthma sufferers as well as those who don’t even have respiratory issues. And as BoneStructure.ca points out, microscopic mould spores can multiply rapidly with the presence of moisture and can grow on certain building materials.

“Too much mould in indoor air can mean upper respiratory symptoms like coughing and wheezing in healthy people, and more severe respiratory symptoms, eye irritation and skin reactions for those who are sensitive or allergic to mould,” the website reveals, “If moisture gets trapped in the walls of your house it creates an inviting home for mould—and once this unwelcome guest takes root, it’s difficult to remove without structural work.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., our many health-promoting services include Radon Services and Mould Assessment Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Making It Earth Day In Your Home All Year Round

This year, Earth Day falls on Monday, April 22nd. The annual celebration of our planet is a reminder that we can all do more to protect our environment. And while it’s vital we all do our part to reduce waste, re-use certain items and recycle others, it’s also important to remember to cut down on pollution. Opting for public transit over driving your own car from time to time is helpful in that regard.

At home, Earth Day should be every day. Consider your home your own little planet and think of the ways you can make it a healthier place to live. For the most part, very simple changes to your daily routines can mean the difference between constantly breathing in air pollutants and living in a healthy environment.

Maintain a healthy humidity level.

During the colder months of the year, we tend to turn the heat way up. Thankfully, with summer on the way, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, where there is heat, there is often humidity. And where there is humidity, there is moisture. So, with that said, it’s wise to keep tabs on the humidity level in your home. Why? Moisture can create mould and mould can wreak havoc on those with asthma and allergies.

“It is important to have a balance of humidity in living spaces,” insists Rinkesh on the Conserve Energy Future Blog, “This means a healthy humidity level of 30-50%. Mould and dust mites grow in areas where there is too much humidity. It is important to monitor this in both homes and businesses to improve indoor air quality.”

Do away with the air fresheners.

We know. We want our homes to smell as fresh as you do yours. But, trust us, using scented cleaning products and air fresheners is not the way to go. Those fresh scents are often indications that you’re breathing in volatile organic compounds. Also known as VOCs, they are harmful gases that are known to cause headaches and nausea as well as irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.

“Long-term exposure can damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system, and has been linked to cancer,” reports BoneStructure.ca, “These gases, which usually are released in the greatest amounts when a building is new and slowly dissipate over time, are likely the culprit behind ‘new house allergy syndrome’ – the phenomenon in which people experience allergy-like symptoms in a newly constructed home.”

Invest in house plants.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve recommended house plants on our blog. And it’s not likely to be the last. In many of our past blogs, we’ve highlighted the fact that NASA studies have found house plants to be excellent pollutant removers. Adding house plants to your home will help to purify the air you breathe.

As Rinkesh puts it, “house plants serve more than one goal in this environment. These plants actually work to improve air quality. You can place plants in various rooms of the home to achieve this goal. Studies have shown that they help produce fresher air, as well.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we like to think of ourselves as year-long Earth Day celebrators! For information about our many health-promoting services which include Air Quality Services and Moisture Monitoring 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 Dust Mites From Your Home

They are so tiny, they can’t be seen by the naked eye. But, if we’re being honest, under the microscope, dust mites look pretty creepy! Smaller than 1/70th of an inch, dust mites are miniscule bugs that live in warm, dark and moist locations. They thrive in such areas of your home as the carpets, rugs, drapes, curtains and your bed!

Air your bed out.

One of your home’s locations that dust mites really seem to enjoy is your bed. This might make your skin crawl, but since it doesn’t get any warmer or darker than your bed, you can bet that there are countless dust mites joining you while you sleep at night. In fact, this is why it’s actually recommended that you hesitate before making your bed each morning.

“One of the biggest things you can do to reduce the dust mite population in your home is to stop making your bed,” informs Nicole Faires on EarthEasy.com, “If that’s not realistic, at least let your bed air out after a long night’s sleep before you create the ideal mite sandwich: dead skin inside warm, humid sheets.”

Steam clean your bedding.

Airing your bed out will only help to minimize the dust mite population. In order to eliminate it completely, you need to be a diligent bedding washer. Change your sheets weekly and be sure to wash them in hot water. You may also want to consider steam cleaning your fabrics. According to Gaiam.com, vapour steam cleaning, which heats surfaces with dry steam, kills fungus, bacteria and dust mites.

“Vapour contains only 5 to 6 percent water (conversely, most steam cleaners use lots of warm water to clean), so the vapour steam doesn’t contribute to a moist environment,” reports the website, “Vapour steam deeply penetrates whatever it is cleaning, and it is great for upholstery, couches, carpets, and mattresses.”

Reduce the amount of fabrics in your home.

If cleaning all of the fabrics in your home requires too much time and effort, it may be best to do away with them altogether. All of those soft and fluffy fabrics where dust accumulates are where you’ll find dust mites. We’re not just talking about your carpets and rugs, we’re also referring to your couches and cushions and even stuffed animals and books.

“Switch to blinds, swap out your carpet for a hard floor, and get rid of unnecessary fabric items,” Faires recommends, “Weed through your book collection in favour of an eReader or store all books outside the bedroom in a bookcase with glass doors. Get rid of your traditional dog bed and swap it with a washable blanket. If you must have carpeting, consider a natural fibre wool carpet, which will keep the environment in the fibre drier than other materials.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to minimize dust in the home. Doing so helps to prevent the onset of allergy symptoms and asthma triggers. To get a better understanding of the air quality in your home, contact us to learn more about 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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Never Underestimate The Importance Of Vacuuming

We get it. Chores aren’t exactly fun. Activities such as dusting, mopping, washing the dishes, doing the laundry and vacuuming can be made a lot more entertaining if you put on some music. Make it a party! Dance and get some always-needed exercise while doing your chores and your regular cleaning routines won’t seem so mundane.

If the whole “party while you tidy” thing doesn’t work for you, then perhaps it’s best you take a more intense look at the health implications that can ensue when you don’t clean up regularly. Vacuuming, in particular, is especially vital to your health. Believe it or not, the removal of dust, dirt and other home contaminants is essential in preventing respiratory problems and the onset of allergy symptoms.

There is more than just dust in your carpets!

Sure, dust can make you sneeze and cough. But when you’re not vacuuming your carpets (where dust easily accumulates) on a regular basis, you’re inviting unwanted visitors into your home – literally. Dust mites and other microorganisms feed off of the skin you shed every day. You may not notice it, but you shed a lot of skin all day long.

“A human sheds over 1 million skin cells per hour,” reveals Jason Roberts on an infographic provided by VacuumsGuide.com, “Every year, these mingle with airborne dust (soil particles) and accumulate to several pounds into carpets, rugs and furniture. They provide a great developing environment for lots of dangerous microorganisms.”

California-based professional carpet cleaners, Chem-Dry of Fair Oaks/Folsom corroborates this point. “When a carpet is not cleaned regularly, microorganisms tend to grow quickly and this can become an issue for those who are sensitive to allergens or who have asthma,” reads their website, “Dust particles and other micro substances that can become clogged within the fibres of the carpet can get stirred up and airborne every time someone walks across the room.”

Do you eat in the living room?

If so, you’re like most Canadians. It’s fun to plop in front of the television to watch the game or catch up on your favourite show during dinner time. And for everyone who partakes in the popular “watch while you eat” routine, it’s important to know just how dirty your floors are!

You may think you picked up every rice grain. You may assume you’ve swept up all of the crumbs. But living room eaters always leave food behind. And food in your carpets equals an illness waiting to happen.

“Dropped food is wasted food,” Roberts insists, “There is no 3 second, 5 second or 7 second rule. Dropped food gets infected with bacteria instantly…you could get Salmonella, Campylobacter, E-coli or several other viruses that will affect your digestive system.”

There are two things to draw from this information. 1) Never eat food that drops on the floor and 2) Vacuum the carpets of rooms you eat in right after eating!

How clean is your home?

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you get a much better understanding of how clean your home really is. Assessing its air quality is a great step towards ensuring better health for all who live in it. For information about 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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