Congratulations Canada! We’re almost there. In exactly two weeks, the spring season will officially be upon us. And while it’s true that winter-like weather conditions may persist well into April, there’s no question that we’re a lot closer to experiencing a return to warmer days. When the spring finally arrives, expect there to be a lot more people venturing outdoors. But what will that mean for the air inside our homes?
According to 1Source Safety and Health, Inc., people with allergies quite often have their symptoms triggered when the spring arrives. In their report entitled “Impact of Outdoor Seasonal Changes on Indoor Air Quality”, they note that outdoor contaminants are at their lowest levels during the winter. That’s because the frozen snow-covered ground combined with relatively low humidity levels tend to keep mould spores and other air pollutants at bay.
However, “dust, mould, temperature and humidity begin to increase during the spring months (March, April, and May),” reads the report, “ As pollen, mould and dust concentrations increase, so do the associated symptoms. Interestingly, these symptoms, which also occur outside of the workplace, carry over into an employee’s work shift and are often incorrectly associated with exposure within the workplace.”
Chances are, the windows of your home are bound to be open a lot more often during the spring than they were in the winter. With the warmer weather enabling pollen and dust to better enter our air space, it’s inevitable that some of it will enter our homes. Cincinnati’s Hader Solutions warns that it’s best to keep windows shut or not open too wide when there is a pollen alert. Your local weather station should be able to inform you if one is in effect.
As well, their website details how winter is the season of dust accumulation in the home, while spring enables it all to become airborne. “Because of improper ventilation during the colder months, dust can settle into vents, registers, and eventually ductwork, making it close to impossible to rid your home of these irritating pollutants,” says Hader Solutions.
What’s one of the biggest differences between winter and spring? Snowfall! All of the snow that winter brings ends up melting during the spring. And melted snow on your rooftop can lead to water leaking into your home. As you’re likely aware, water is the main culprit in the development of mould. It’s important to prevent any leak sources in your home.
“Prevent water from entering your home by making sure there are no cracks or gaps on your roof or foundation where water could easily enter,” Hader Solutions advises, “Standing water in your home can cause mould, which can be detrimental to indoor air quality. If you suspect any mould in your home, call an expert immediately to remove it.”
The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would love to help you ensure that your home enjoys the best possible indoor air quality this spring. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Mould is gross. For most people, the very sight of mould is an indication of a dirty, unkempt location. However, mould is more than just unsightly. It’s potentially hazardous to your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, moulds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation.”
Mould forms when heat and moisture are present. This is why mould so often rears its ugly head in the bathroom. Although the kitchen can give the bathroom a run for its money, there is no room in the house where heat and moisture appear more often. Every one of your hot showers provides an opportunity for mould to form. So, the first step to doing away with mould is to ventilate the bathroom as best as possible.
Make it a habit to flick on the fan every time you’re in the bathroom. Not only does it do its part in ridding the room of foul odours, it also helps with ventilation. When all of that hot steam emanating from your shower is sucked up into the fan, it reduces the possibility of mould forming in your tiles and on other surfaces. On HouseLogic.com, Stacy Freed explains that, in addition to running your exhaust fan, you should clean your shower walls after taking a shower.
“After a shower, use a towel or squeegee to wipe down shower walls,” she advises, “Open the shower curtain to let it dry. Mop any water spills on the floor and counters. Avoid piling in too many shampoo and body wash bottles. They’re a perfect place for moisture and mould spores to hide.”
If mould does happen to appear in your bathroom, utilizing natural cleaning methods is your best bet. Vinegar, for example, is not only a health-conscious choice, but it is also known for being one of mould’s arch enemies. According to Signature Maids, the non-toxic agent has been found to kill 82 percent of mould species.
“Pour mild white vinegar into a spray bottle, do not dilute with water,” instructs their website, “Vinegar’s acidic qualities make it quite deadly to mould, that’s why you don’t want to water it down. Spray affected surface areas with straight vinegar solution and then wait one hour. If your bathroom has windows, open them up and let it air out during this time. After an hour passes, use hot water and a clean towel to wipe the area.”
Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Alternaria are among them. All types of mould can create health concerns. Mould can also cause structure hazards throughout a home, office or building. Moisture sources including building envelop failures, leakage issues or occupant-based moisture problems may contribute to mould development within a building.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are intent on helping Albertans to live mould-free! We offer professional home inspections courtesy of our Mould Assessment Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re under the impression that the title of this week’s blog is one of our more morbid choices, you’d be right. Make no mistake about it, asbestos is a killer. The toxic substance, which Canada finally outlawed just before the new year, is the nation’s number one workplace killer and the cause of thousands of deaths annually. The importance of protecting yourself from the dangers of asbestos cannot be understated.
Formerly used as insulation in the construction of homes and buildings – among many other uses – asbestos is practically harmless when left undisturbed. However, when its fibres become airborne – a common occurrence during renovations of older facilities – they can become trapped in the lungs, leading to such deadly diseases as mesothelioma, asbestosis and many cancers.
According to Asbestos.com, asbestos is responsible for between 70 and 80 percent of all mesothelioma cases. It is a “signature” asbestos-related cancer and one of the most deadly diseases caused by the toxic substance.
“The cancer is named after the mesothelium, the thin protective lining where the tumors develop,” the website explains, “It can appear on the lining of the lungs, stomach, heart or testicles…Each type of mesothelioma is associated with a unique set of symptoms, but chest or abdominal pain and shortness of breath affect most patients, regardless of their specific diagnosis.”
Asbestosis is an incurable lung disease that is generally caused by years of occupational asbestos exposure. As you can imagine, it makes breathing very difficult. The disease has been found to be especially prevalent in individuals who work on construction sites, on ships and at industrial facilities where asbestos-containing materials are commonly found.
“Asbestosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis, a condition in which the lung tissue becomes scarred over time,” explains Asbestos.com, “It is not a type of cancer, but asbestosis has the same cause as mesothelioma and other asbestos-related… Because this disease is similar to other types of pulmonary fibrosis, diagnosing asbestosis requires thorough medical and occupational histories in addition to medical testing.”
Not surprisingly, asbestos is a known cause for many different cancers including lung cancer, ovarian cancer and laryngeal cancer. Smokers who are exposed to asbestos are especially at risk of developing lung cancer. As Asbestos.com informs us, just ten years ago, it was confirmed that there is a link between asbestos-exposed women and ovarian cancer.
“Another asbestos-related malignant disease is laryngeal cancer,” says the site, “There is a proven link between the fibers and the disease. Other risk factors, such as smoking or drinking, are more likely to cause the cancer. The risk increases with the length and intensity of a person’s exposure.”
Asbestos.com goes on to note that esophageal cancer, gallbladder cancer, kidney cancer and throat cancer are also loosely associated with asbestos although studies have reported various degrees of success linking these cancers to asbestos exposure. “Until research indicates otherwise, asbestos may be able to increase a person’s risk for these cancers, but it is not a proven risk factor,” the website states.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take asbestos exposure very seriously. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
In a recent conversation with a colleague, we received some insight into what it’s like to live with asthma. This isn’t to say we weren’t already aware of the dangers of smoking for asthmatics. After all, cigarettes are deadly for all of us. But after hearing our friend speak of his experiences with breathing issues related to cigarette smoke, we felt it necessary to communicate how important it is for us all to avoid secondhand smoke at all costs.
“I can’t even smell it,” our colleague informed us, “If you go outside to smoke and come back in and I smell it on you, I’ll start coughing. It’s unbearable. I literally don’t know how people do it. You couldn’t get me to smoke a cigarette for a million dollars. I’d literally die before I finished it.”
“Put all of your friends who are smokers on alert,” says our colleague, “If my friends plan on lighting up, they make sure to do so away from me. To be honest, I don’t ever have them over to my home because I just can’t have smoke anywhere around me. And when I visit them, they always go outside. Believe me, I appreciate it.”
It’s important to point out that our asthmatic friend doesn’t have the breathing issues he had when he as a child. As a kid, he experienced wheezing and coughing fits due to such irritants as pollen and ragweed. His last major asthma attack took place during a camping trip in Grade 4. However, as an adult, his asthma is all but gone. That is, of course, unless he smells smoke.
“Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.”
The Monday Campaigns is a global movement backed by leading public health schools that dedicates the first day of every week to health. On their website, they point out that secondhand smoke releases more than 7,000 harmful chemicals into the air. To reiterate, cigarette smoke is dangerous for all us, not just those with respiratory issues.
If you’re a non-smoker trying to avoid secondhand smoke, there is no simpler advice. Keep cigarette smoke out of your home. As our colleague mentioned, he won’t even let someone who has recently smoked a cigarette to enter his home. While this may seem harsh for some people, it’s a necessity if you wish to completely avoid the health hazards associated with cigarette smoking.
Kentucky’s St. Elizabeth Healthcare encourages people to ask their friends not to smoke around them. “It may be an awkward conversation at first, but it’s important to help your friend understand that while you love spending time together, you can’t be around him when he smokes,” they say on their website, “Be caring and understanding, but be firm.”
Unquestionably, a smoke-free home will vastly improve its indoor air quality. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you take things a step further. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
February is here. And while there are claims that the recent Groundhog Day forecast an early spring, most Canadians are well aware that we still have a ways to go before we’ll be enjoying hot and sunny weather. As a result, most will keep their doors and windows firmly shut in order to keep the cold from entering their homes. But, as we pointed out in our last blog, ensuring a high quality of air in the home requires the cracking of the windows every now and again.
There are, of course, a number of other ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality throughout the winter months. Here are three:
Keeping your floors clean is an especially important winter task. Especially when your windows are closed for most of the day, there is little to no escape for dust and other air pollutants. By vacuuming your carpets and keeping them as dust-free as possible, you’ll help to alleviate some of the irritants to your lungs that may be in the air. As Florida’s The Alternative Daily reminds us, carpets notoriously trap indoor pollutants of all types.
“To keep them clean, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter once a week, and consider steam cleaning every couple of months,” reads their website, “Investing in your own steam cleaner is wise, as professional carpet cleaning services often use harsh chemicals which can make your air even more toxic. If you steam clean yourself, you can choose to use a mixture of white vinegar and hot water to get the job done.”
To reiterate, most homes are kept shut all winter long. As a result, they depend more on their air filters to purify the air than they do the circulation of fresh air from outside. It’s important to remember that air filters can quickly get clogged up with dust and other air pollutants. Not cleaning them or changing them regularly can result in having those pollutants circulate back into the home.
“Dirty air filters are a major contributor to poor indoor air quality,” informs Wisconsin’s Titan Air, “Check your filters regularly and change them as needed. Make sure that when they are installed, filters are secured tightly to avoid gaps between the filter frame and rack. This reduces bypass air, which can harm indoor air quality by allowing breathable particles to pass through without being filtered.”
Back in December, we blogged about what great holiday gifts houseplants make. Their air-purifying ways make up some of the easiest ways to reduce air pollutants in your home. Houseplants provide such effortless solutions to poor indoor air quality. Just plop them down or hang them up and your job is done! As The Alternative Daily confirms, houseplants are known to filter air pollutants from our living environments.
“Azaleas and English ivy do well in cooler temperatures, and Chinese evergreens and bamboo palms thrive in the shade,” notes the site, “Aloe vera and chrysanthemums are two other great choices, however they require direct sunlight. Spider plants are a resilient and popular choice for first-time plant owners.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we don’t sell houseplants, but we do still offer you ways to ensure the purity of the air inside your home. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
As a Canadian, you’re most likely quite used to a few annual winter traditions. They include shovelling your driveway, scraping ice from your car windows and cranking up the heat of your home. And while every Canadian expects a fairly chilly winter each and every year, it doesn’t stop most of us from complaining about it when it arrives.
Complaining about the cold is as much part of the Canadian winter tradition as all of the above mentioned activities. That’s why the suggestion to crack open the windows, during the winter, is usually met with raised eyebrows. Maintaining top-of-the-line indoor air quality is a year-round requirement. And with the cold air outside encouraging us to keep our homes sealed shut, we leave ourselves susceptible to breathing stagnant, stale and polluted air more often.
Indoor air pollution is created in a number of ways and without ventilating the air in your home, it can actually lead to a number of health problems. On Glamour.com, Sarah Jio explains that opening your windows during the winter is a great way to both enjoy fresh air and avoid ill health.
“Health experts have longed warned of the dangers of ‘indoor air pollution,’ and for good reason,” she writes, “From mould spores to chemical off-gassing from paint, carpet, new furniture and cleaning products, sometimes the air in our homes and offices is many times more polluted than the air circulating outside.”
Consider some of the actions you may be taking that lead to the pollution of the air in your home. Cleaning products that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) may leave behind fresh scents, but they can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. Cracking the windows during your cleaning routines is one way to promote high indoor air quality during the winter.
Jio reveals that her favourite time to crack open the windows on chilly days is when she is cleaning and tidying up. “I feel warmer anyway, since I’m moving around, and I don’t mind a cool breeze flowing in,” she notes, “Plus, when I’m cleaning my house, I love the feeling of cleaning the air a bit too. Try it!”
As you may have guessed, keeping the windows open for prolonged periods of time will end up being counterproductive. Not only will it make your home cold, but it will waste a lot of the energy (and money) being used to keep your home warm. Crack open different windows in the home during different portions of the day for short periods of time. That way, each room will get its own special dose of freshness.
“You don’t have to leave windows open for hours on end,” WindowsCanada.com assures us, “Just cracking them for 15-20 minutes a day can vastly improve the air quality inside your home. Even though it’s cold outside, your health and the health of your family will be in much better shape with some fresh air.”
The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would love to work with you on keeping the air inside your home as pure as possible this winter. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about such services as our Air Quality Services and Mould Assessment Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When most people hear the term “carbon monoxide”, they are immediately aware that it’s a deadly gas. Carbon monoxide detectors are growing in popularity considering the colourless, odourless gas has been responsible for the deaths of many individuals who didn’t realize their homes were being poisoned.
Radon is another colourless and odourless gas that doesn’t seem to be as well understood as a threat to our health. Perhaps, this is why the Government of Canada marked November as National Radon Action Month. Explaining on their website that radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the ground and is found in every home, they also noted radon awareness is especially important during the winter months.
“Here in Canada, our homes are well sealed to keep us warm in the winter, which can cause radon concentrations in our homes to build up to dangerous levels,” Canada.ca reveals, “Over time, exposure to elevated levels of radon can cause lung cancer. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and kills more than 3,200 Canadians each year.”
Again, it’s important to note that radon as no smell, no colour and no taste. There’s no way for anyone to detect radon unless the air is tested for it. There are inexpensive do-it-yourself test kits available on the market. However, hiring a certified radon professional to conduct a test for you is your best bet.
Radon is created by the natural breakdown of uranium in the ground outside of our homes. It escapes by seeping up through the soil and out into the fresh air. The various cracks and openings in our homes give radon passageways to enter our living spaces. In small doses and in ventilated areas, radon doesn’t pose much of a threat. However, in the wintertime, we tend to keep our homes sealed up pretty tight to keep the cold out.
As a result, radon gas is given a greater amount of time to build up to higher, more concentrated levels. As well, because most of us tend to stay indoors for longer durations of time, during the winter, we are more susceptible to being exposed to larger doses of radon for longer lengths of time.
In addition, as Baxter Group Inc. explains, “during the winter, the ground can freeze, and get covered by snow. The snow forms an insulating blanket and creates a blanket effect that traps the radon in the soil. With less radon exiting through the soil around the house, more may be pulled inside.”
As we pointed out earlier, hiring a certified radon professional is a smart choice. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we provide Radon Services that are designed to determine the precise levels of radon in your home and whether or not they are safe. Radon testing can mean the difference between life and death so it is highly recommended that radon tests be conducted at least every two years.
For more information about our Radon Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131. You can also email us at email@example.com.
It’s a moment that the nation of Canada has been waiting for a long time. Announced back in December of 2016 by the federal government, the country’s comprehensive ban of asbestos is finally in full effect. As of December 30, 2018, asbestos is outlawed in Canada. We were remiss to not mention it in last week’s blog given how much extensive coverage of the subject has appeared in our blogs over the past couple of years.
The Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations now prohibit the import, sale and use of asbestos and the manufacture, import, sale and use of products containing asbestos, in Canada, with a limited number of exclusions. In a recently released fact sheet, which can be downloaded from a link on JobberNation.ca, full details of the new ban are given.
To be clear, the new regulations stipulate that any products that contain processed asbestos fibres at any level as well as consumer products that contain naturally-occurring asbestos in greater than trace amounts are prohibited.
“The Regulations also prohibit the sale, for use in construction or landscaping, of asbestos mining residues that are located at an asbestos mining site or accumulation area, unless authorized by the province in which the activity construction or landscaping is to occur,” reads the fact sheet, “In addition, the Regulations prohibit the use of asbestos mining residues to manufacture a product containing asbestos.”
As the fact sheet details, there is a limited number of exclusions to what is prohibited. They include disposal, roads, importing military equipment, servicing military equipment, servicing equipment of nuclear facilities, museum display, laboratory use and Chlor-Alkali facilities. With the exception of disposal and roads, reporting is required for each of these exclusions.
“Permits are available for limited and specific circumstances when no technically or economically asbestos-free alternative is available,” the fact sheet informs, “Reports for excluded activities must be submitted before March 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the activities occurred. For permit holders, the reports must be submitted within 90 days after the day on which their permit expires.”
As we’ve noted on many occasions, in our blogs, the asbestos ban truly couldn’t have come soon enough. The toxic substance, which was once a staple in the construction of office buildings and homes, is a known killer. Breathing in its fibres is a proven cause of lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma – all deadly diseases.
“Between 2000 and 2016 the number of Canadians dying from mesothelioma increased from 292 deaths in 2000 to 510 in 2016 – an increase of 70 per cent,” reports Kathleen Ruff on RightOnCanada.ca, “In total, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada, almost seven thousand Canadians died from mesothelioma during this period.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are aware that this ban won’t automatically protect Canadians from exposure to the asbestos that already exists in their homes and places of work. So we’d like to help out where we can. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to our first blog of 2019! On behalf of the entire DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team, we’d like to wish you a very happy new year. Of course, we’d also love the opportunity to do our part in helping your new year to be happy by offering you ways to purify the air in your home.
We live by the idea that the healthier you are, the happier you’ll be. So what will you be doing to improve your home’s indoor air quality this year? Here are four fresh ways to breathe cleaner air in 2019:
We all want our homes to smell pleasant. And while air fresheners can generally do the trick, they are actually causing your air more harm than good. Many sweet smelling sprays contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which pose dangers to our respiratory systems. To keep your home smelling fresh, crack the windows now and again and try using natural air fresheners.
“Chemical-laden air fresheners can irritate your skin and lungs,” affirms GetCold.net, “Opt for a natural product instead, such as essential oils in a diffuser, or a potpourri of dried herbs. Simmering orange peels, apple peels, cloves, or cinnamon sticks in a small crock pot will release a lovely natural scent as well.”
No, plants don’t have to sit with you and your family at the dinner table. But it would be a good idea to have them sit around the house. Making plants a regular part of your living environment will help to purify the air you breathe in your home. Last month, we blogged about some of the best plants that work as air purifiers. Be sure to give that blog a read if you haven’t already!
“Plants are amazing for improving indoor air quality,” insists Aprilaire.com, “Adding some green plants to your home can not only help you breathe better, but it adds major style points, too. To purify air, think one large plant for every 100 square feet in your home, or two smaller ones for the same effect.”
Arguably, this is a New Year’s Resolution that should have gone at the top of our list. It cannot be stressed enough that cigarette smoke is the worst thing you can add to the air you breathe. Eliminating the nasty habit of smoking from your life will not only add years to your life, but will vastly improve the health of everyone who enters your home.
We likely don’t have to remind you that cigarettes are cancer-causing. “About 30% of cancers are related to tobacco, with tobacco use also being the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the country,” notes David Boles on 620ckrm.com.
As we mentioned earlier, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would love to help you enjoy the purest possible air quality in your home. We have a vast array of services that include Air Quality Services, Mould Assessment Services, Moisture Monitoring Services and more! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
With Christmas Day now less than a week away, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that this holiday season will be your most joyous one yet. As well, we hope that the new year will be your healthiest one ever! Of course, if there’s anything we can do to help with that, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
As you’re well aware, the DF Technical &Consulting Services Ltd. is committed to restoring the purity of the air in your home or office space. Through the many different services we provide, we make it our mission to provide our clients with the absolute highest of indoor air quality. The quality of the air you breathe should never be taken for granted. Naturally, we need air to live. And breathing in pollutant filled-air is no way to live.
“In Canada, 3.8 million people over the age of one are living with asthma and 2.0 million are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), both of which can impact a person’s ability to breathe,” reports the Government of Canada, “Individuals living with asthma or COPD may experience impaired participation in daily life, school, work, and social activities.”
Quite obviously, it’s important that we all take steps to ensure the air we’re breathing is as pure as possible. This involves simple steps like cracking the windows open for a bit each day. That way, we circulate the stagnant and stale air from inside with the fresher air from outside. And yes, as we’ve pointed out in many past blogs, this is something that should be done in the wintertime.
“Tobacco smoking, including second hand or passive exposure, is the single largest threat to lung health in Canada,” the Government of Canada reveals, “However, it is one of the most modifiable risk factors…According to the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS), smoking rates are at their lowest ever. The proportion of Canadians who are current smokers is down from 21.7% in 2001 to 14.6% in 2013.”
Unquestionably, you can vastly improve your home’s indoor air quality by completely removing any possibility of cigarette smoke existing within it. As we’ve also addressed in numerous blogs of past, cigarette smoke can have fatal consequences for anyone who is exposed to it –non-smokers included.
As mentioned, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re very proud to offer an array of services that all work to improve the air you breathe. They include Air Quality Services which maximize the inspection process to target areas of concern, Moisture Monitoring Services which evaluate buildings for moisture sources and Radon Services which help to detect traces of the colourless, odourless gas.
For more information about any and all of our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Holidays!