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3 Reasons Why Ventilation In The Home Is So Important

By this time next week, we will all be able to say that wintertime is over. Or will we? We Canadians know better. The calendar may indicate the beginning of spring next Monday, but we understand that when frigid temperatures persist and there’s still snow on the ground – it is still winter. As a result, the time for opening our windows to let the fresh air come inside is still several weeks away. Here’s the thing though – it shouldn’t be.

In fact, it’s recommended that we all keep our windows open all winter long. No, we’re not saying that your windows should remain open all the time. Instead, we’re saying that it’s wise to let the fresh air from outside circulate with the stagnant air from inside for, at least, a few minutes every day – no matter how cold it is. The reason for this, quite obviously, is to promote ventilation. And ventilation in your home is incredibly important.

Here are three reasons why:

1. Ventilation helps to lower VOC concentrations.

Our homes are filled with harmful VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are found in many of our household cleaning products, furnishings, paints and carpets. If you can smell the scents that emanate from these household items, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re in the presence of VOCs. In high concentrations, VOCs are toxic.

However, as Dustin DeTorres explains on ZehnderAmerica.com, VOC concentrations can be decreased with ventilation. “Maintaining adequate ventilation can help to control concentrations of existing VOCs within a home, as it is nearly impossible to eliminate VOCs from indoor air,” he writes.

2. Ventilation helps to reduce condensation.

Those droplets of water that often form on our windows are created when warm air hits cool surfaces. Because the warm air is no longer able to hold its moisture when it is cooled, it ends up forming water droplets in various parts of our homes. Windows, walls, furniture – these are all locations where condensation may be present in the home. The problem is that these collections of moisture promote the development of mould.

“Condensation is the most common form of dampness and will eventually lead to mould growth,” explains Envirovent.com, “If it is left to develop over time then damp patches may start to appear on walls, which means that wallpaper may peel and ultimately black mould will grow. This leads to musty smells, damage to the fabric of the house and it can even result in health problems.”

3. Ventilation helps to filter our allergens.

In last week’s blog, we highlighted some of the issues presented by dust mites. Known allergens, the waste products left behind by dust mites are often triggers for asthma attacks. When we ventilate our homes, we give ourselves better opportunities to filter out such allergens as dust, pet dander, pollen and other irritants that can become trapped and concentrated inside our homes.

“Proper ventilation will help to remove large particles and dust from the air,” says DeTorres, “This can effectively help to reduce allergy symptoms, making the indoor air much more comfortable for allergy sufferers.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly advocate ventilation of the home all year round. As part of our commitment to helping Canadians live healthy lives, we offer Air Quality Services that work to eliminate health hazards from the air in their homes. 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 Harmful Substances In Our Household Cleaning Products

Who doesn’t like a clean and tidy, fresh-smelling home? Most of us, we’d think, relish the idea of walking into our homes with everything in their proper places, having no dust to look at and enjoying the smell of a fresh summer day. Oh, those pleasant smells! Too often, they have us thinking our homes are clean and safe to inhabit. And that’s why cleaning product manufacturers go to great lengths to add fragrances to cleaning products.

But are scented cleaning products good for our health? Overwhelming evidence insists that they are not. And that’s because they contain an array of harmful substances.

What are those substances and how do they impact our health? Here are three to watch out for:

1. Phthalates. These are commonly found in many of our fragrance-enriched cleaning products such as dish soap, air fresheners and even toilet paper. As Jessie Sholl explains on ExperienceLife.com, the word “phthalates” doesn’t appear on product labels due to proprietary laws. Therefore, it’s important to look out for the word “fragrance” instead. It’s a sign that phthalates are present.

“Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors,” explains Sholl, “Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem…Unlike the digestive system, the skin has no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.” It is highly recommended that you opt for fragrance-free or all-natural organic products to clean your home.

2. Ammonia. Ammonia is a more commonly known cleaning substance, but it’s a powerful irritant. It’s especially hazardous to sufferers of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Nevertheless, the chemical is found in numerous polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewellery. It’s also found in glass, floor and oven cleaners.

According to Dr. Edward Group on GlobalHealingCenter.com, if a product is at least 5 percent ammonia, it must be labelled as poisonous. He notes that studies have confirmed that ammonia can irritate, burn and even damage the eyes and skin. “Ammonia is irritating to the respiratory tract and causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath,” he explains, “Higher exposure can cause pulmonary edema, a life-threatening issue.”

3. 2-Butoxyethanol. The sweet smell that emanates from window cleaners is thanks to a chemical known as 2-Butoxyethanol. And just like phthalates, law does not require it to be listed on a product’s label. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Especially when you consider that the Environmental Protection Agency has found that 2-Butoxyethanol can cause sore throats, narcosis, pulmonary edema and severe liver and kidney damage, reveals Sholl.

Safer options for cleaning mirrors and windows are diluted vinegar. “For other kitchen tasks, stick to simple cleaning compounds like Bon Ami powder; it’s made from natural ingredients like ground feldspar and baking soda without the added bleach or fragrances found in most commercial cleansers,” Sholl suggests, “You can also make your own formulas with baking soda, vinegar and essential oils.”

As you may have guessed, we’re only scratching the surface here. There is a long list of harmful substances that are found in many of our household cleaning products. Every time we clean our homes with them, we’re doing our health a disservice.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re committed to helping our clients enjoy safe air to breathe in their homes. Our Air Quality Services are designed to locate any areas of concern in your home that may be presenting reasons for poor indoor air quality. Allow us to help you eliminate them!

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

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4 Ways To Show Your Lungs Some Love

Even though another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, the time is certainly not over to show love. And when it comes to your lungs, the time to show love is each and every day. Ironically, most of us neglect our lungs, taking them for granted with the assumption that the air we breathe is always adequate. However, there are many things we can do to ensure that our homes constantly provide safer air to breathe.

Here are four ways to show your lungs some love:

1. Go vacuum crazy! Who knew the vacuum cleaner could be such a life saver? Its ability to remove dust and other filth from our homes provides us with a much greater service than just having neat and tidy houses. Vacuums also eliminate many of the health hazards that impact our respiratory systems. This is especially true for vacuums that include HEPA filters which are extra layers of protection for allergy sufferers.

“Vacuums suck up dust that settles on carpets, furniture, and other surfaces,” Daniel DiClerico of Consumer Reports reminds us, “Choose a top-rated one that cleans while minimizing emissions back into the air…For day-to-day maintenance, you might consider a robotic vacuum. It can scoot around your home sucking up dirt and other surface debris while you’re out living your life.”

2. Improve the ventilation in your home. It’s not easy to rid your home of pollutants during the winter. With it being so cold outside, the concept of opening the windows can be construed as a ridiculous one. However, it’s not so ridiculous when you consider how beneficial it is to allow for the fresh air from outside to circulate with the stale air from inside. As Aylin Erman points out on OrganicAuthority.com, “to reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants in your home, it is important to increase the flow of outdoor air coming indoors.”

“Ventilation helps to remove or dilute indoor airborne pollutants coming from indoor sources,” she informs, “Most homes are equipped with heating and cooling systems that don’t allow outdoor air to enter indoors. To remedy this, try keeping a few windows ajar, weather permitting, or install local bathroom and kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors and thus transfer contaminants from the inside of your home, to the outside.”

3. Allergen-proof your bedroom. Naturally, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom. After all, considering the fact that we spend about a third of our days sleeping, it stands to reason that where you lay your head at night should be an environment as free from pollutants as possible. Especially because dust mites are such pesky allergens that love living in our bedsheets, it’s important to take measures to minimize their appearances.

“Encase box springs, mattresses, and pillows in covers made from woven microfiber fabrics (with a pore size no greater than 6 micrometers) designed to keep them free of dust mites and animal dander,” recommends DiClerico, “Wash your bedsheets weekly in hot water and dry on high heat. If you have a high-efficiency top-loader, choose a low spin speed when washing waterproof fabrics to prevent them from trapping water and causing the drum to become unbalanced.”

4. Identify and remove products containing harmful chemicals. Too often, we get tricked into thinking that the fresh scents that emanate from our cleaning products indicate that our homes have been rid of pollutants. And while these products do serve to present our homes in more acceptable fashions, they have a penchant for adding toxic chemicals to our living environments. Erman recommends that you remove the “obvious culprits” from your kitchens and bathrooms.

However, “if you are having trouble identifying the culprits (it’s not always that obvious), hire a professional to test your house for moulds and toxins,” she advises. We couldn’t agree more. The Air Quality Services offered by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. are incomparable in the world of indoor air quality. To truly show your lungs the love they need, contact us today!

Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Ways To Have A Healthier Home In The New Year

Teenager girl throwing pillow into the air, having funMost New Year’s Resolutions focus on self-improvement in some way. Generally, people endeavour to quit smoking, exercise or change their diets to include healthier food choices as ways to better their health. However, most neglect to make resolutions about improving the air they breathe. It goes without saying that the air we breathe is vital to our health. So why not make 2017 the year you make your home the healthiest it has ever been?

Here are three ways to have a healthier home in the new year:

1. Focus on improving indoor air quality. This newfound focus will require many tasks – but they shouldn’t be hard to do. Regular vacuuming, dusting and mopping will do away with many of the dust particles that inhibit our air from being at its purest. Buying some houseplants to improve the oxygen content of the air is also advisable. As well, making sure to take your shoes off before entering your home will prevent excess dirt and grime to come in from outside.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we specialize in Air Quality Services. We employ a number of trained individuals who all have strong understandings of the indoor environment. They maximize their inspection processes in order to target all areas of concern in your home or office. The air you breathe in your home can cause health and wellness issues that you can avoid through thorough inspections.

2. Test for asbestos. Our blog has been closely covering our nation’s campaign for a complete ban of asbestos for many months now. Last week, we proudly reported about the federal government’s plan to completely rid Canada of asbestos by 2018. While we haven’t exported asbestos in quite some time, we were still importing it through such products as brake pads. Known for causing lung cancer, mesothelioma and other deadly respiratory diseases, asbestos is definitely a material you do not want in your home.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services that involved onsite assessments as well as sampling and analysis of the materials collected. Our team will be able to locate asbestos if it is contained within such areas as your furnace, plumbing, electrical wiring, attics, cinder block walls, flooring and ceilings.

3. Limit the moisture in your home. When you shower – especially when you take those long hot showers during the winter – it’s important that you run your exhaust fan. When you’re cooking in the kitchen, running your exhaust fan is just as important. Limiting moisture in your home will help to prevent the growth of mould. When mould spores are airborne, they can present many health hazards to our respiratory systems. Asthmatics are especially aware of this.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we off Moisture Monitoring Services that evaluate buildings for moisture sources such as building envelop failures, leakage issues and occupant-based moisture sources that could be the cause of mould development. We also offer Mould Assessment Services that include inspections involving analytical sampling, moisture analysis and thermal scanning.

Let’s work together on making 2017 your healthiest year yet. For more information on any and all of the above mentioned services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

Happy New Year!

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3 Easy Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality During The Winter

Cozy winter composition in a room, with snowy landscape seen through the window.During the warm and sunny summertime, many Canadians keep their windows open in order to circulate the air from outside with the air from inside. Then again, maybe less Canadians do that than we think. Far too many of us are prone to turning on the air conditioning. As a result, the air inside our homes gets stale and stagnant during the summer. Who complains about the heat in Canada anyway? Don’t people remember what winter is like?

Well, it seems like most Canadians have excellent memories when the winter comes. Recalling just how cold it can get, they go ahead and seal their homes up again. This time, they keep the heat going inside. We can never be satisfied, can we? Here’s the problem: with our homes sealed up during the winter, we continue to promote stale and stagnant air inside. So, it’s important that we take measures to improve the indoor air quality in our homes throughout the winter.

How do we do that? Here are three simple ideas:

1. Fill your home with plants. It’s a win-win situation to have plants in your home. Not only do they beautify your living spaces, but they help to clean the air. As we’ve pointed out in past blogs, certain plants such as spider plants, dracaenas, golden pothos, areca palms, bamboo palms, English ivy, rubber plants, Chinese evergreen, peace lilies and chrysanthemums are highly recommended.

“Houseplants can clean and purify the air in a home, helping to remove formaldehyde, benzene and other toxins that can make indoor air unhealthy to breathe,” reminds TheReflector.com, “Benzene is an irritant that can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and blurred vision, among other side effects. Formaldehyde, which is often found in homes thanks to its widespread use in a range of products, can cause watery eyes, nausea and wheezing.”

2. Use cleaning products with natural ingredients. There are a number of cleaning products on the market that don’t contain harmful chemicals. Be sure to look for them when you go grocery shopping. They not only make your home pleasant smelling and cleaner overall, but they help you to avoid the toxic chemicals that can negatively impact your home’s indoor air quality. Don’t be fooled by sweet fragrances!

“It’s ideal to avoid heavy chemical usage inside a home throughout the year, but it’s especially important to do so during winter,” says MyValleyNews.com, “Solvent-based cleaners or cleaning products with strong fragrances can negatively affect indoor air quality and potentially trigger allergic reactions. In lieu of chemically-enhanced cleaning products, use natural products that get the job done without sacrificing indoor air quality.”

3. Absolutely insist on a no smoking policy. By today’s standards, smoking cigarettes indoors is considered bizarre. With laws protecting Canadians from secondhand smoke in nearly all indoor environments, it’s not uncommon to see people huddled outside on their smoke breaks from work. Insist upon this policy for your home. It’s hard to argue that cigarette smoke is among the worst possible ways to ruin the air you breathe.

“Many homeowners know that smoking indoors drastically reduces indoor air quality, putting even nonsmokers at heightened risk of developing various respiratory ailments,” notes TheReflector.com, “Homeowners concerned about the indoor air quality in their homes should ban smoking inside, no matter how low temperatures dip outside.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to help target any problems areas of your home to ensure that you are enjoying the best indoor air quality possible. 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 Holiday Gift Ideas That Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

Bouquet of red flowers of chrysanthemums isolated on white background. Flat, top viewWe’re just a few days over a month away from Christmas Day. So, this is certainly the time of year when Canadians are out in the malls shopping for holiday gifts. This will be especially true in a couple of days when the annual Black Friday festivities kick off. And by “festivities”, we mean craziness. Holiday shoppers who have participated in Black Friday shopping events know just how much havoc can occur when people are actively seeking discounts on highly-sought after items.

There are some items, however, that may not necessarily be among the most popular holiday gift ideas, but they are among the most important. Why not consider buying a loved one a gift that will speak to their health needs? There are numerous items on the market that can improve the indoor air quality of one’s home. And, as any reader of our blog knows, improving indoor air quality is incredibly important for our health.

Here are three holiday gift ideas that can improve indoor air quality:

1. HEPA air purifier. In order to remove pollutants from our air, we often have to do more than simply open the windows. And yes, it is recommended that you open the windows during the winter time – even if it’s for a few minutes at a time. This will help circulate the stale and stagnant air from inside with the fresh air from outside. However, since the winter offers weather conditions that don’t allow us to keep the windows open for very long, a HEPA air purifier is an excellent addition to the home.

“Make sure to get an air purifier that does not produce ozone, and one that does eliminate VOCs that off-gas from paint, furniture, and cleaning chemicals,” recommends Cambria Bold on ApartmentTherapy.com. She points out that VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are a danger to our health. So while doing your holiday shopping, be sure to avoid such gifts as air fresheners and other scented cleaning products that contain VOCs.

2. Green plants and flowers. Plants and flowers are gifts that can satisfy a wide range of recipients because they add some nice decor to homes. However, they also help to purify the air. As reported by Ellen Ruoff Riley and Stuart Robbins on Healthline.com, “in 1998, NASA discovered that houseplants can absorb harmful toxins from the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little air flow…While plants have less horse power than air purifiers, they’re more natural, cost effective, and therapeutic.”

They recommend such plants as spider plants, dracaenas, golden pothos, areca palms, bamboo palms, English ivy, rubber plants, Chinese evergreen, peace lilies and chrysanthemums. “Florist’s chrysanthemums or ‘mums’ are ranked the highest for air purification,” write Riley and Robbins, “They’re shown to eliminate common toxins as well as ammonia.”

3. Pet grooming products. You’re bound to have an animal lover on your list of gift recipients this holiday season. If so, a gift certificate for grooming, non-chemical based cleaners, vacuums and mops are certainly some great ideas for helping them to keep their homes clean and air pollutant-free. On Mom.me, Sara Tan highly recommends the Swiffer Sweeper as a gift for pet owners.

“Any pet owner knows that pet hair and dander can accumulate on floors and other hard surfaces of your home,” she writes, “Stay on top of this cleaning challenge with Swiffer Sweeper. Swiffer’s trap and lock technology picks up pet hair and dander allergens on hardwood, tile and linoleum floor types.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., there is one more gift that we’d recommend you give yourself. Our Air Quality Services can help target any problems areas of your home to ensure that you are enjoying the best indoor air quality possible. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

4 Comments

  1. November 29, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Very concise yet detailed and it helped both of our confidence. Great work!

  2. Betty larose-Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    What is your recommendation on furnace cleaning? We have an electronic furnace filter, but are still finding the house dusty. We have both found we’ve had sinus issues since moving into this house. What should we check?
    Many thanks
    Betty

    • Dennis French-Reply
      December 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Hello Betty
      I will respond directly to you on this email rather than the public forum.

  3. December 18, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Great post! I agree that a combination of fresh air, air purifier, and plants can really make a big difference. Thanks for sharing!

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Are Fireplaces Hazardous To Our Health?

Feets of a family wearing woolen socks warming near the fireplaceNow that November is here, we’re willing to bet that the majority of Canadians already have images of the holiday season on their minds. It would be hard to avoid them as the shopping malls are already decorated with festive colours to commemorate this exciting time of the year. Of course, cold weather is also commonplace during the year’s final months and, as a result, most of us seek ways to warm up all winter long.

How do many Canadians warm up their homes during the winter? You guessed it – the good old fireplace! The crackling of burning wood in a fireplace is as much part of the holiday season as Christmas trees. The only difference is that we tend to keep fires burning in our fireplaces long after the holidays are over. That, however, can present major problems for our health. Fireplaces, you see, are actually pretty bad for our indoor air quality.

How do fireplaces impact our indoor air quality? Well, let’s consider the obvious. With the burning of wood comes smoke. And with smoke comes contaminants in our air. As you can imagine, this can make it a lot harder to breathe. As explained by Cleveland Clinic, numerous scientific studies have found that breathing in smoke from fireplaces has “serious adverse health effects”.

“That’s because smoke from these fires contains small particles that can get into your eyes and respiratory system,” their website explains, “The result can be burning eyes, a runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest health problems, because they can get deep into the lungs, and some may even get into the bloodstream.”

Cleveland Clinic also quotes Dr. Sheila Armogida as saying that wood smoke contains a number of toxic substances including benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein and methane. She highly recommends that fireplace users significantly limit their exposure to the smoke that emanates from their fireplaces. This is especially important for people who have a history of lung disease and asthma.

However, one doesn’t need to have a history of respiratory system issues in order to be negatively affected by wood smoke in the home. Cheryl Katz of Environmental Health News reports that a University of Copenhagen study found that air pollution from wood stoves is also quite hazardous to the health of all who are exposed to it. Researcher, Steffen Loft found that wood burning stoves release a lot of particulate matter into the air.

“The tiny airborne specks of pollution known as particulate matter, or PM, produced by wood-burning stoves appear to be especially harmful to human health,” writes Katz of the study’s findings, “Small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, they carry high levels of chemicals linked to cardiopulmonary diseases and cancer, and they can damage DNA and activate genes in hazardous ways comparable to cigarette smoke and car exhaust.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re very well aware that many Canadians enjoy their fireplaces during the winter – and for good reason. Who doesn’t like being warm and toasty and when it’s frigid outside? But since there are health implications to fireplace use, we would highly recommend our Air Quality Services to ensure that your home is a safe living environment for your family all winter long.

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 Ways To Treat Yourself To Improved Indoor Air Quality

depositphotos_2428997_s-2015Halloween is almost here! So the idea getting treats, by way of candy, is a hot topic this week. Believe it or not, participating in the annual trick-or-treating festivities can actually good for your indoor air quality. Sort of. You see, during the chillier months of the year, we Canadians tend to keep our doors and windows firmly closed in order to keep the cold out. This promotes the stagnation of our air and the keeping in of indoor air pollutants.

When we open our doors to trick-or-treaters, we allow for some of that stagnant air to circulate with the fresher air from outside. It is recommended that we open the doors and windows for even just a five minute period every day – even when it’s cold outside. This is just one of the things you can do to treat yourself to improved indoor air quality.

Here are five more:

1. Keep your home as neat and tidy as possible. It’s important to take on the habits of a neat freak as often as possible. This will be especially true over the course of the winter when you will be a lot less likely to keep the doors and windows open for long periods of time. Get used to vacuuming, mopping and dusting at least once a week. As well, place door mats at the entrance ways to your home to prevent dirt from entering it. And be sure to ask people to take their shoes off when they come inside – it’s a great Canadian tradition!

2. Monitor your humidity levels. It’s normal for Canadians to turn up the heat in their homes during the winter. But it’s important to remember that with excess heat comes excess humidity. Too much humidity is bad for your indoor air quality because it can produce mould and mildew. On Withings.com, Jonathan Choquel recommends that you keep your home’s humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.

“This will limit the growth of mould and the presence of dust mites that pollute the air,” he explains, “Some moulds produce allergens and mycotoxins – they can have adverse health effects, ranging from allergic reactions (like a stuffy or runny nose, or eye and skin irritations) to asthma attacks, depending on the exact type and amount of mould, and the sensitivity of those exposed. This is true even in non-allergic people.”

3. Filter your air. While it remains important to ventilate your home, extra measures should be taken to remove the air pollutants that can contaminate the air within it. “Portable air cleaners, particularly HEPA filters and electrostatic precipitators, can reduce some air contaminants,” informs the Healthy Canadians website, “HEPA filters collect particle pollutants with a fine filter. But electrostatic precipitators collect pollutants with electrostatic energy, which causes pollution to stick to the filter.”

4. Avoid synthetic fragrances. Most of us associate sweet and fresh smells with cleanliness. However, those air fresheners and laundry soaps that are infused with scents are actually pretty bad for our living environments. Containing harmful volatile organic compounds, these products can do a lot to irritate our eyes, skin and respiratory systems. “Choose fragrance-free products, or products with scents of natural origin for your laundry and cleaning needs,” advises Choquel.

5. Get a professional inspection of your home’s air quality. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that target areas of concern in your home. Our team of trained professionals has a strong understanding of the indoor environment and is therefore able to maximize their inspection processes to ensure all of our clients’ questions about their homes’ indoor air quality are answered.

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

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How Does Cold Weather Worsen Indoor Air Quality?

Beautiful young woman sitting by the window having hot drinkAlthough we’re still in the middle of October, the cold weather has definitely returned. At least, here, in Calgary, the days have certainly gotten a lot chillier. As a result, most of us are turning up the heat in our homes, preparing for another long winter when staying indoors is more commonplace. It is our tendencies to stay inside more often that makes winter a season that wreaks havoc on our indoor air quality.

How does staying inside more often worsen indoor air quality? Considering that most of us prefer to keep warm and toasty during the winter, there is a desire to keep all of our doors and windows shut, even going so far as sealing any cracks in our insulation. And while this helps to eliminate cold drafts from entering our homes, it also seals out any fresh air. As a result, the pollutants in our homes become more concentrated.

What pollutants exist in our homes? Well, there’s certainly a bunch! Household cleaning products produce some of the most common indoor pollutants. Those disinfectants, personal care products and air fresheners that give off “fresh” scents are especially known for containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are hazardous air pollutants. VOCs are also commonly found in paints, varnishes and glues.

If you use any household appliances that use oil, kerosene, gas, coal or wood, you’ve got combustion sources that can produce dangerous levels of pollution. They are especially hazardous if not regularly cleaned and maintained. And those of us with pets are also susceptible to increased levels of indoor air pollution thanks to animal dander and other particles that often cause allergic reactions and asthma triggers.

What are the symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality? If you notice that you’re experiencing headaches, dizziness, fatigue or itchiness of the eyes, nose and/or throat, it could be due to the air pollutants in your home. Asthma sufferers will be especially aware of poor indoor air quality as respiratory issues often result. Naturally, it’s wise to take measures to improve indoor air quality during the coldest months of the year.

How do you improve indoor air quality when it’s cold outside? Sensibly, you should simply rid the home of pollution sources. Reduce gas emissions from the afore mentioned household appliances as much as possible by limiting their use and/or making sure that are very regularly cleaned and maintained. You’ll also want to promote ventilation throughout the home. And yes, this does mean opening the windows every now and again.

You’ll also want to clean very regularly. Stepping up your dedication to vacuuming, dusting and mopping throughout the winter will go a long way in improving the air quality in your home. This is especially true if you have pets, but will also aid in the prevention of mould and mildew growth. Mould can become a problem when the air in the home is too humid. A sign may be the condensation that appears on your windows.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we focus pretty strongly on keeping the indoor air quality of your home at the highest levels possible. If you have any concerns about the quality of the air you’re breathing in your home this winter, please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask about our Air Quality Services. For more information, give us a call 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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