Do you use air fresheners in your home or your car? If so, you’re a lot like most people. It’s natural to want your environment to smell fresh and pleasant, especially considering that there are numerous products on the market that offer up a wide variety of sweet scents. However, if you’re one of the many individuals who use aerosol sprays and other air freshening mechanisms, you are creating an unhealthy living space.
As April McCarthy informs us on PreventDisease.com, artificial fragrance sales exceed $8 billion a year although they emit “toxic fumes”. Among the health ramifications of spraying your air with such products are headaches, earaches, depression, allergies, irregular heartbeat and even diarrhea, she notes. “Fragrance can be made up of more than 100 chemicals, most of which are synthetic, and most of these chemicals are harming our health,” writes McCarthy.
What chemicals in air fresheners are causing the most damage? McCarthy reveals that phthalates are regularly used in common household air fresheners in order to prolong the length of time that the scented products maintain their fragrances. Phthalates, in fact, are also used as plastic softeners, anti-foaming agents in aerosols, in vinyl found in children’s toys, automobiles, paints, pesticides and in cosmetics and fragrances.
According to a 2007 Natural Resources Defense Council report, 12 of 14 brands of common household air fresheners contained phthalates, reports McCarthy. “Regular exposure to phthalates can increase your risk of experiencing endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems,” she reveals, “Amazingly, some of the brands that tested positive for phthalates did not include phthalates on their lists of ingredients; some of these brands were even labeled as being ‘all-natural’ and ‘unscented.’”
The NRDC also points out that exposure to phthalates can interfere with the production of the male hormone testosterone which can be linked to reproductive abnormalities. However, phthalates are far from the only chemical found in air fresheners that can be hazardous to our health.
What other dangerous chemicals are found in air fresheners? On Grandparents.com, Sara Schwartz reminds us that air fresheners also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They include such toxic chemicals as acetone, ethanol, d-limonene, pinene, and acetate. “Depending on your exposure and sensitivity, toxic VOCs can produce a range of health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and headaches, and even damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system,” she explains.
What chemical-free ways can we freshen the air in our homes? According to Dr. Anne Steinemann, who is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Melbourne, the best smell is no smell at all. In Schwartz’s article, she advises opening up the windows even for a short period each day. And yes, this includes the wintertime. “Why use an air freshener at all? It’s not designed to clean and disinfect the air; it’s a chemical mixture that masks odor,” she is quoted as saying.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we agree that having fresh air in the home is of major importance. However, maintaining a living environment that is free of harmful chemicals is most ideal. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’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 email@example.com.
Now 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halloween 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 email@example.com.
Although 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you enjoying the summer yet? While not every day is a sunny one, the time of year when the weather is at its warmest is certainly here. Warm and sunny days are usually associated with summertime but, of course, we’re bound to experience our damp and rainy ones as well. Our neighbours, here in Calgary, Alberta know exactly what we mean. And because the summer isn’t without its rainy days, it’s important to know how our health can be affected by them.
Are rainy summer days bad for our health? Not necessarily. However, as AdvantaClean.com points out, “outdoor humidity and summer storms can carry damp air indoors. Damp air can bring on asthma symptoms and encourages dust, mould and mildew growth, so keep your doors and windows closed on those days.” There are also other weather conditions associated with summer than can present some health issues.
A combination of heat, humidity and wind can make for some air quality problems. When they all combine with pollution emissions, high levels of ozone can form near the ground. And this can be the cause of some harmful health hazards. Such a situation is referred to as an Ozone Action Day. Weather Underground explains further.
“Local air quality experts (usually meteorologists) use air quality computer models, weather data, measurements of pollution levels, and local experience to come with a daily air pollution forecast,” explains the website, “When this forecast indicates that high temperatures, light winds, no rain, and/or a wind direction blowing in polluted air from another area will combine to cause ozone levels in excess of the federal standards, an Ozone Action Day is declared.”
What can be done to limit ground ozone during Ozone Action Days? Controlling auto emissions is especially important on such days. Drivers should seek to significantly limit idling their cars and avoid any unnecessary driving. If possible, take public transportation instead of your own car to your destination or consider walking or riding a bike if the distance isn’t too great. You’ll also want to avoid the use of lawn mowers and outdoor grills until after 6:00pm.
How can indoor air quality be improved on Ozone Action Days? While at home, limit your use of aerosol cans. You’ll also want to conserve energy by turning off or unplugging any electrical devices that are not in use. It’s also wise to keep all of your windows and doors shut. Wait until those windy days to open them up so that the stagnant indoor air can properly circulate with the fresh air from outside.
What else can be done to keep indoor air quality healthy during the summer? “Good ventilation is the easiest way to improve indoor air quality,” states AdvantaClean.com, “A thorough air duct cleaning right before you kick your air conditioning into high gear isn’t a bad idea. Weatherizing your home against air leakage is a good idea as well, both to prevent unwanted moisture from coming in and to keep utility bills low.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re experts in the field of indoor air quality. If you have any concerns about the quality of the air you’re breathing in your home this summer, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Be sure to ask us about our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Even though it’s the summertime, it stands to reason that most of us still spend the majority of our time in our homes. After all, we do have to sleep for approximately a third of our days. And while it’s always fun to enjoy the warmth and sunshine of the outdoors during this time of year, it remains important to take steps to ensure that the air we breathe inside our homes is pure. But how would you even know if your home’s indoor air quality is poor?
Here are five indications your home is suffering from poor indoor air quality:
1. You and your family members are experiencing health issues. How often do members of your household endure headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, sore throats, sneezing, coughing, dizziness and nausea? While these symptoms of illness may sound common, it’s important to note that indoor air pollution is often the cause of them. This is especially true for those who already suffer from respiratory issues, allergies and asthma.
2. You’ve noticed the growth of mould in one or more areas. Mould is most commonly found in our bath tiles. This is because bathrooms are havens for excess humidity and humidity encourages mould growth. However, mould can grow in humid areas in other parts of the home including the walls, floors and furniture found in just about any room. Poor indoor air quality is often a cause for the humidity that causes mould to grow.
3. You feel that your home is too humid. As mentioned, too much humidity is a sign of poor indoor air quality and can often result in mould growth. It is recommended that indoor humidity be kept between 30 and 50 percent throughout the year. This may be particularly difficult during the warm summertime. It’s advisable to use a hygrometer to determine moisture levels in your home.
4. You see that dust accumulates quickly. All homes get dusty. But some seem to attract and develop more dust than others at much quicker paces. Dust is a sign of poor indoor air quality as it indicates a heavier presence of particles resulting from a lack of cleaning, pet dander and pollen. The more dust in your home, the tougher it will be on your respiratory system. Asthma sufferers will especially be prone to breathing problems in a dusty house.
5. You’re finding that odours are more noticeable. Every home has its own smell. And they’re not necessarily bad. The thing is, most people who dwell within a home develop sensory adaptation and don’t even notice smells within it the way visitors do. However, if you begin to notice unpleasant smells in your home, chances are you have an indoor air quality problem. If you’ve left your house for a day or two and come home to notice a foul stench, you know there’s an issue.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to help combat poor indoor air quality in your home. We’re mindful that indoor air quality problems can have long-term effects on the health of you and your family. Our services incorporate inspection processes that target areas of concern in order to determine ways to eliminate causes of indoor air pollution.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in the beginning of May, a massive wildfire raged throughout Fort McMurray, Alberta destroying thousands of homes and forcing an evacuation of the city’s residents. It was the largest wildfire evacuation in our province’s history. Now, as we approach the end of June, we’re happy to report that the Government of Alberta has already begun the re-entry process so that residents can return to their homes.
We’re thankful that the wildfires have been deemed to no longer be a threat to those who call Fort McMurray their home. As you can imagine, even with the fires no longer burning, there was a great cause for concern about poor air quality last month. As reported by Phys.org, the air quality around the entire Fort McMurray area remained very poor right up until the end of May. As a result, it wasn’t quite ready to be re-inhabited.
“The Alberta Health Services has issued warnings for the entire area with Health Quality Index of 10+ (very high risk of triggering health issues) reported in the area,” revealed the website on May 26th, “The Alberta Health Services has issued an air-quality advisory for the Fort McMurray area, as well as a precautionary air-quality advisory for Edmonton and communities in the North Zone due to wildfires.”
At the time, the wildfires were still raging out of control, covering an area estimated at 522,892 hectares or 2019 square miles. This included 2496 hectares, which is nearly 10 square miles, in Saskatchewan. “Fort McMurray, Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation and Fort McKay First Nation remain under a mandatory evacuation order,” reported Phys.org. That order, however, has since been lifted.
As Stephanie Jellett of FortMcMurrayToday.com reported last week, the air quality advisory that had been in place in Fort McMurray since May 2nd was lifted as the community was no longer being impacted by the smoke from the wildfires. “Alberta Health Services (AHS) lifted the advisory on June 14 stating that there’s no risk to the public,” she writes.
As of the afternoon of June 15th, the Air Quality Health Index was at a two, compared to a high of 10. “Last month, the wildfires created an AQHI rating as high as 51,” informs Jellett. Not only is the fire no longer out of control, but there is no indication that the air quality will worsen in the future. Even the temperatures have dropped. As a result, Fort McMurray is inhabitable again.
Jellett does note, however, that “although the Fort McMurray advisory was lifted, Kirsten Goruk, North Zone senior communications advisor with AHS said the precautionary air advisory for the entire north zone, which was issued on May 5, is still in effect.” She goes on to reveal that AHS no longer recommends delaying children who are either younger than seven years-old or have acute medical conditions to return to their Fort McMurray homes.
On behalf of the entire DF Technical Consulting Services Ltd. team, we would like to offer our best wishes to everyone who has been affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires. If you would like to donate to the Alberta Fires Appeal through the Canadian Red Cross, you can do so HERE. All donations will be matched by the Government of Canada.
For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
With the weather slowly, but surely warming up, most Canadians are relishing the idea of being able to spend more time outdoors. And while the impending summer months provide ample reasons to get out of the house, it remains a fact that most of us spend the majority of our time indoors. The time is takes to sleep, for example, puts us in our homes a minimum of a third of each day. As a result, our indoor air quality will always remain a concern.
Yes, warmer temperatures give us more opportunities to open the windows and allow the stale, stagnant air from inside to circulate with the fresher air from outside. But there is one particular habit that will keep your indoor air quality at dangerous lows if it is not put to an end. You likely won’t be surprised to know that we’re referring to cigarette smoking. Arguably, there isn’t a more obvious detriment to the air we breathe than cigarette smoke.
As you’re likely aware, cigarette smoke affects everyone who comes into contact with it. Of course, that doesn’t just mean smokers. Our blog has covered the impacts of secondhand smoke and even thirdhand smoke in the past. So, needless to say, if you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality of your home and the health statuses of everyone within in, you’ll find a way to quit smoking immediately.
Every smoker is aware, however, that that’s easier said than done. Attempting to quit cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone. While some people who have experienced major health scares are able to kick the habit immediately, there are others who need even more incentive to finally do away with their addictions to nicotine. Perhaps, in their cases, some unconventional approaches to quitting smoking are necessary.
Here are three:
1. Create a non-smoker’s savings jar. For some people, saving money is an excellent incentive for accomplishing any goal. If protecting your health isn’t motivation enough, consider putting the money you would otherwise spend on cigarettes into a jar to physically show you just how much money you can save by quitting. For an added push, put a picture of a vacation spot you’d like to visit on the jar to remind you of an alternative use for the money.
2. Trick yourself by limiting your access. People who are approaching new paths towards better health and nutrition will inhibit their previous bad eating habits by simply not storing bad foods in their homes. The principle is that it’s hard to cheat on your diet when junk food isn’t readily available. It’s the same idea here. Force yourself to leave the house without your pack of cigarettes. Carry just a couple of them on you so that you can’t satisfy every craving you have throughout the day.
3. Create a list of alternative activities. Smokers often justify their bad habits simply by referring to them as “something to do”. If that sounds like you, it’s time to come up with other things to do. Reader’s Digest offers the following suggestions for people trying to quit smoking. “Take a walk, drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child, throw the ball for the dog, play a game, wash the car (and) clean out a cupboard or closet” are just a few of their recommendations.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we fully support your quest to quit cigarette smoking. To reiterate, it will greatly improve the health of both you and the people around you. With the improvement of indoor air quality being our specialty, we urge you to learn more about our Air Quality Services – especially if you have done any smoking in your home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s be honest. It’s our fault. Each and every day, we humans engage in activities that serve to worsen our indoor air quality. Our often-not-even-thought-about bad habits can have serious health implications considering how much time we spend in our homes. We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors. And when we keep up with our naturally bad habits, it only serves to cause health problems – especially for those with asthma and allergies.
So what bad habits worsen indoor air quality? Here are seven:
1. Not opening the windows. We know – it’s the winter time in Canada. But guess what? Opening the windows for a few minutes a day won’t freeze you to death. By contrast, it can be good for your health. Exchanging the fresher outside air with stale indoor air out is “one of the simplest (and most affordable) things you can do to improve your home air quality,” according to NaturallySavvy.com.
2. Not cleaning heating and air conditioning filters. We often take the appliances that cool and heat our homes for granted. We can’t forget that they need to be regularly maintained. “Heating and air-conditioning filters and vents that are not regularly cleaned can trap pollen, dust and other allergens,” explains Mary West on Wakeup-World.com, “They are easily accessible in many systems, but if yours are in a difficult-to-reach area, have a professional cleaning service take care of them periodically.”
3. Opting for carpet over hardwood floors. Most of us probably grew up in homes that were predominantly carpeted. And such homes provided a warmth and comfort that we grew up to love. It’s hard to argue that carpets offer a cozy softness to walk on, making the home seem friendlier. However, carpets trap dust and other indoor pollutants creating a nightmare for allergy and asthma sufferers. Simply put, remove carpeting from your home for better breathing.
4. Using traditional household cleaning products. Most of us are still caught up with the idea that if our homes smell clean, then they must be clean. So we use scented aerosol sprays and other fragrance-riddled disinfectants that only serve to add harmful chemicals to our living environments. “Traditional household cleaning products are one of the leading contributors to poor home air quality,” says NaturallySavvy.com, “In fact, the average home contains 62 harmful chemicals.”
5. Not owning houseplants. It’s important for us to bring certain elements of the outdoors inside with us. Plants are especially useful as many of them serve as perfectly natural air filters. Plants such as the peace lily, the bamboo palm, aloe vera and the English Ivy (or Hedera helix) are known for removing such harmful chemicals as formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide from the air we breathe.
6. Not making use of essential oils. “Essential oils will impart a wonderful scent into your home, and many have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can enhance indoor air quality,” writes West, “Use diffusers but place them on a high shelf out of the reach of children. Good ones to try include citrus, eucalyptus, thyme or peppermint. A nice one for the bedroom is lavender, which has an intoxicatingly fresh scent that promotes relaxation.”
7. Smoking indoors. Does this bad habit really need an explanation? There is literally nothing worse that you can do for your home’s indoor air quality than to light up a cigarette within its walls. Secondhand smoke as well as thirdhand smoke (as discussed in last week’s blog) can create disastrous health hazards that have been well documented. If you can’t quit smoking, at least endeavour to quit smoking in your home.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strive to improve your indoor air quality by seeking out all contaminants and pollutants through our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.