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Air Quality

Is Being Canadian Good For Your Indoor Air Quality?

Red and white balloons with the Canadian maple leaf.Let us start off by saying that we’re well aware that the title of this blog may raise some eyebrows as a curious choice. What does being Canadian have to do with the quality of the air that we breathe in our homes? Well, it all comes down to a little Canadian practice that seems to be more of a unified commonality than it is a stereotype. It’s the act of taking off our footwear when walking into a home.

If you don’t think that this everyday practice is much of a Canadian thing, just ask one of your friends from south of the border how often he or she takes off his or her shoes in the home. From our experience, many Americans seem to find the whole “take your shoes off at the door” thing a waste of time. As well, many Canadians can’t imagine a world where they would track in the dirt and grime from the outdoor ground into their homes.

Arguably, HowToSpotACanadian.ca explains it best. “Canadians take their shoes off when entering a home. There isn’t any questioning it,” reads the parody-based website, “As soon as you enter the front door you’re taking off your shoes. That’s just the way it is. As a Canadian myself, I find this practice completely normal…From what I’ve heard, Americans generally leave their shoes on at home.”

So back to the question that makes up the title of today’s blog. Let us ask it another way. Does taking your shoes off at the door help to improve indoor air quality? Sure it does! As Jeanie Lerche Davis reminds us on WebMD.com, it’s important to keep the floors of your home as clean as possible. When people walk inside with dirty shoes, they are undoubtedly bringing in pollutants from outdoors.

To avoid this, Davis highly recommends that you put a large floor mat at every door. “People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their shoes,” she writes, “A door mat reduces the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants from getting into your home. If the mat is big enough, even those who don’t wipe their shoes will leave most pollutants on the mat — not the floors in your home.”

Bob Avonda of Avonda Air Systems writes that removing your shoes at the door is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you’re not tracking dirt into your house that can get picked up into the air. Naturally, it pays to keep a clean home. He recommends that you dust and vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly. However, it evidently pays to do things the Canadian way. Avoiding shoes in the home minimizes the amount of dirt that you have to clean.

If you do have to clean dirt that has been tracked in from the outdoors, it’s best to do so thoroughly. Davis insists that you mop up all of the dust that your vacuum may have left behind. “You can skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens,” she advises, “New microfibre mops (and dust cloths) reportedly capture more dust and dirt than traditional fibres and don’t require any cleaning solutions whatsoever.”

The way we see it, being Canadian is definitely good for your indoor air quality! As long as you’re practicing the good old Canadian tradition of leaving your shoes at the door, you’re doing your home – and everyone who lives in it – a big favour. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to ensure that you’re on the right track. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. May 10, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Great article! Getting your carpets and air ducts steam cleaned is good for your health too!

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5 Ways To Minimize The Effects Of Pet Dander

Girl owner is grooming the fur of retriever puppy after showerIn our last blog, we pointed out an unfortunate truth about being a pet owner. In many cases, it can negatively impact your health to own an animal with feathers or fur. As we mentioned, it’s not the feathers or fur that’s the problem. It’s that these bodily coatings often carry allergens that eventually become airborne. As a result, the air that we breathe becomes affected. This is especially a problem for those with asthma and allergies.

According to the American Lung Association, “animals with fur may be more likely to carry allergens from other sources, like dust, but the fur itself is generally not a trigger. For that reason, short-haired or hairless animals contribute dander and allergens to indoor air pollution just as effectively as long-haired animals do. There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog or cat.” So how can pet owners protect themselves?

Here are five ways to minimize the effects of pet dander:

1. Give away your pet. We’ve decided to list the most obvious solution first. However, we also recognize that it’s not one that most pet owners are likely to follow, no matter how bad their allergies may be. The American Lung Association notes, however, that “pet allergens may stay in the home for months after the pet is gone because the allergens remain in house dust. Allergy and asthma symptoms may take weeks or even months to improve.”

2. Become a consummate cleaner. Okay, so there’s no way you’re going to give up your familial bond with Fido or Fluffy. We get it. In that case, you’ll need to pay extra special attention to the cleaning routines of your home. As you may have guessed, removing pet dander will take a little bit of extra effort than your regular clean. FreeDrinkingWater.com advises that you regularly vacuum your carpets, furniture, and upholstery with HEPA filters.

3. Pay greater attention to personal hygiene. Pet owners – especially very loving and affectionate ones – need to be mindful of how often they come into contact with their pets. After every interaction, it’s wise to wash your hands thoroughly. FreeDrinkingWater.com also recommends that you wear gloves and a mask when you are grooming your pets. It’s also best to keep your pets out of your bedroom so that they are not impacting the area where you sleep.

4. Regularly change and wash bedding materials. To further the last point made, it’s important to consider just how much time you spend sleeping. There’s a lot of breathing going on at night. And you don’t want it impacted by pet dander. FreeDrinkingWater.com advises that you both wash your pets and their bedding often, but also try to use allergen-protecting bedding encasements for yourself.

5. Find love with a furless animal. To reiterate an earlier-made point, we know that it’s not easy parting with a beloved pet. But, in worst case scenarios when you are suffering severely from symptoms associated with pet dander, it is in your best interest to consider another type of pet. Perhaps, setting up a fish tank is in order? FreeDrinkingWater.com highly suggests that you “get pets without feathers or fur (such as fish), if possible.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we believe in providing our clients with the means to enjoy the purest indoor air quality possible. If you feel that pet dander may be negatively affecting your health, it’s important to locate all areas of the problem in your home. We offer Air Quality Services that provide such thorough inspections. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Are Your Pets Affecting Your Health?

Cute gray kitten with owner on floor at homeAre you a pet owner? Many Canadians are. Dogs and cats are most popularly considered members of many families all across this great country of ours. Animal lovers make up a huge part of our population. According to Tracy Hanes of The Globe and Mail, “pet owners represent $6.5-billion a year business opportunity”. So, it should go without saying that pets are quite a big deal in Canada.

But can having a pet affect our health? It certainly depends on the types of allergies pet owners may have. This is because pet dander has the ability to impact the air that we breathe. As the American Lung Association explains it, “pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.”

Are there other allergy triggers that come from our pets? Apparently, it isn’t just flecks of skin from our beloved animals that can affect the indoor air quality of our homes. The American Lung Association points out that “proteins found in saliva, urine and feces from cats, dogs and other pets can cause allergic reactions in some people.” And some animals happen to impact those with allergies worse than others.

Which animals tend to impact those with allergies the most? The American Lung Association points out that animals with fur are most likely to carry allergens, although the fur itself is not considered a trigger. They note, however, that “roughly twice as many people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs. Research also indicates that male cats produce less Fel d I allergen than female cats, although the reason is not clear.”

What is a pet allergen exactly? Similar to dust mites, pet allergens are microscopic in size. However, the American Lung Association notes that they tend to stay in the air for much longer periods of time. Their “jagged shape” allows them to “stick to furniture, bedding, fabrics and many items carried into and out of the home. Animal dander is easily spread through the home and out to public places like schools and hospitals.”

What are the symptoms of having allergies to pets? Unfortunately, they can be quite severe, in some cases. According to FreeDrinkingWater.com, “some of the symptoms to watch out for include coughing, dizziness, lethargy, fever, watery eyes, sneezing, shortness of breath, and digestive problems. The people most susceptible are children, older folks, and persons with general allergies or breathing problems and diseases.”

So what can be done to minimize pet dander-related allergies? The answer is not what an animal lover wants to hear. Unfortunately, the only surefire way to prevent such breathing issues is to not have pets. Either that, or stick with pets that don’t have any fur or feathers. “The best possible solution is the removal of pets (although it may take months to get rid of the effects of the lingering dander),” admits FreeDrinkingWater.com.

Is there an alternative way to get help? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are well aware that the majority of pet owners don’t have any plans of excluding their beloved pets from their families – even if they are presenting health issues. It is important, however, to have your home inspected for all sources that present indoor air quality issues. For more information about our Air Quality Services, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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5 Vacuuming Tips For Eliminating Dust In The Home

vacuum cleaner on the floor showing house cleaning conceptIn our last blog, we revisited the importance of dusting your home – and dusting it properly – in an effort to keep dust mites at bay. As you’re likely aware, dust mites are allergens that negatively impact the air that we breathe. So naturally, it pays to keep our homes as clean and tidy as possible. Obviously, dusting is not the only household chore that helps to minimize dust. Vacuuming is also a popular activity in the home.

And, by popular, we don’t necessarily mean enjoyable. It’s one of those regular tasks that are required of us all in order to keep our homes clean. Without vacuuming, the accumulation of dust is inevitable. But just like with dusting, there are some important techniques that will help you to get the most out of your vacuum. Isn’t this vacuuming stuff supposed to be straight-forward? Well not always, it seems.

Here are five vacuuming tips for eliminating dust in the home:

1. Empty the bag after every use. Some people wait until their vacuum bags or cups are full before emptying them. However, as Carolyn Forte points out on GoodHousekeeping.com, this can be a mistake. “Even though some vacuums have ‘check bag’ indicator lights, check the bag yourself and change it when it’s three-quarters full,” she advises, “This keeps your vacuum’s suction strong. And if you have a bagless vac, don’t forget the dust cup – dirt collects there, too.”

2. Move the furniture around. Some people are lazy. We’re just being honest here. They choose to vacuum around their tables, chairs and other furniture. As a result, there are areas of dust that never even get a once over. “Move any furniture you can out of the room; you don’t need to do this every time, but as part of seasonal cleaning it makes sense to clean the entire area of carpet,” Molly Maid strongly recommends.

3. Use the attachments. They are there for a reason. Some allow for you to vacuum those crevices that exist between the carpet and the walls. Some allow for you to properly dust soft or cushiony furniture. And some allow for you to reach higher places. “They make above-the-floor cleaning much easier, and pick up dust and allergens from areas you might otherwise overlook, like upholstery, light fixtures, baseboards, and lampshades,” reports Forte.

4. Do away with once-overs. In other words, make sure to make multiple passes over your cleaning areas. Even the best vacuums may not suck everything up on the first pass. “Just as you do with mopping, start vacuuming at the end of the room farthest from the door,” suggests Molly Maid, “Work your way backward from left to right, making multiple passes over each area as you go; once pass rarely picks up all dirt and debris.”

5. Cut tangled hair and strings. One of the best ways to make your vacuum lose its effectiveness is to ignore the brush roll. When thread and hair get tangled up in it, it can cease to roll. When this happens, your vacuum becomes an inefficient cleaner. “To prevent this, unwind or snip away any tangles,” offers Forte, “Most vacuums have a brush roll that you can easily remove for more thorough cleaning.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are known for taking things to the next level. Instead of vacuuming, we offer Air Quality Services that work to ensure that your home is as dust-free as possible. Locating all potential causes for your indoor air quality to be negatively impacted, we help to make your home a safer place to live. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

2 Comments

  1. July 30, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Thanks for this great cleaning tips, I now know how to properly use my vacuum. I’m sure cleaning the carpets and the house would be easier because of your good advise.

  2. August 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Going over the same area more than once is great advice. You don’t want to have to start over after vacuuming the entire room so you need to be sure each area is cleaned before moving on. Thanks for sharing!

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3 Excellent House Dusting Tips

Woman dusting windowDusting. It’s one of those “must-do” chores that the majority of people seem to hate. It’s not that dusting is all that physically taxing, for most people. It’s simply time consuming and not all that fun an activity. And the thing is, the larger your home, the more dusting you have to do! And when does it ever end? Well, as long as you have skin – never! And that’s because the majority of dust in your home is made up of your dead skin.

“Dust is definitely not sugar and spice and everything nice,” describes Alonna Friedman on TheNest.com, “The microscopic particles are made up of all sorts of groovy things, but mostly it’s your dead skin that has fallen off.” And doesn’t it seem like dust just accumulates everywhere? This is what makes dusting so difficult for most of us. The hard-to-reach areas and nooks and crannies where dust gets trapped make it virtually impossible to eliminate!

So how can we properly remove dust from our homes? Well, it’s certainly going to take a bit of effort. Actually, a lot of effort! But it’s certainly not impossible to minimize the presence of dust in our homes. And, as you should be aware, dust removal is important in order to keep dust mites at bay. These microscopic creatures are well known for impacting indoor air quality and making life difficult for those who suffer with asthma and allergies.

Here are three excellent house dusting tips:

1. Be careful with your electronics. As Heloise points out on GoodHousekeeping.com, “computers, TVs, DVD players, stereos, and printers are notorious dust magnets.” But, the thing is, these devices are electrical and can’t be cleaned the way you would your average piece of furniture. Therefore, it’s important to always unplug the equipment before cleaning them. “A gentle swipe with a microfiber cloth usually does the job,” says Heloise.

2. Target your children’s stuffed toys. We often think of easily wiping away dust from the furniture and appliances in our homes. But don’t forget that there is often a lot of dust accumulating in spots that you might not notice. Your children’s soft toys are perfect examples. Heloise insists that you pay special attention to such toys. They can’t be dusted the traditional way either.

Instead, a unique cleaning regimen is recommended to keep toys dust-free. “Put beanbag critters, teddy bears, or fabric dolls into a large plastic bag with a cup of baking soda,” she instructs, “Secure the top, then take outside and shake well. The baking soda and static will draw out the soil and dust. Remove items one at a time, shake off the clumps of baking soda, and vacuum the rest using a brush attachment.”

3. Don’t ignore the vents. Have you ever noticed how much dust accumulates in the vents in your bathrooms and laundry room? There’s a reason for that. While they’re sucking the dust out of the air for you, it’s important for you to suck the dust out of them! “Remove heavy dust from ceiling, floor, or appliance vents with a soft-brush vacuum attachment or electrostatic mop, then dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe the surface,” advises Heloise.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are committed to taking things a step further for our clients. We provide Air Quality Services to ensure that the indoor air quality of their homes is top-notch. You spend a lot of time in your home. Its air should be as pure as you can possibly make it. 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 Interesting Ways To Avoid Secondhand Smoke

non smoking woman askying his partner to stop smokingSmoking kills. Just in case you haven’t paid too close attention to our last two blogs, we figured we’d throw a bit more of the obvious your way. What may still not be so obvious, however, is the following fact: smoking kills non-smokers! And while most of us know the dangers of secondhand smoke, we don’t always know what to do to avoid it. Sure, we can wave it away with our hands, but is that really doing the trick?

By now, you know that cigarette smoke is packed with deadly toxins. So, it should go without saying that it’s horrible for the quality of the air you breathe. But even when the smoke has cleared, it doesn’t necessarily make the air that has been left behind safe for your health. At the end of the day, it’s important to avoid cigarette smoke at all costs. And there are some unique ways to go about doing it.

Here are three interesting ways to avoid secondhand smoke:

1. Create a “smoke-free zone” at your home. Some people may be afraid to ask guests of their homes to “butt out”. But there’s an easy and fun way to go about it. No-Smoke.org suggests that you post a sign on your front door. “Visitors appreciate knowing in advance that your home is a smokefree zone,” says the website, “In the rare case that a visitor lights up, politely request they smoke outside.”

The Canadian Cancer Society certainly supports this idea. “Because Canadians spend most of their time indoors, air quality in the home is important,” reports their website, “Think about how to make your home smoke-free. Talk about it with family and friends, and politely ask them to smoke outside. Let them know you are rejecting their smoking, not them.” This will go a long way in improving your home’s indoor air quality.

2. Support quitters. It is often said that “quitters never prosper”. But, in the world of cigarette smoking, the complete opposite is true. If you know someone who is attempting to smoke his or her last cigarette, do your part in supporting the cause. Remove the ashtrays from his or her home. Offer your friend sticks of gum to cure the cravings. Encourage the smoker each day with words of support. Every little bit will help.

“Support smokers who decide they’re going to quit,” advises No-Smoke.org, “Chances are they feel badly enough about their habit and wish they could quit. If you live with a smoker, be gentle, but firm in your request that they smoke only outside. Keep in mind that even if they only smoke outside, secondhand smoke clings to clothing and skin. Toxins are still off-gassed (released back into the air) when someone who has been exposed, returns indoors.”

3. Install special seals. “Second-hand smoke can get into an apartment or condominium unit through shared vents and openings,” reports the Canadian Cancer Society, “It can also drift under doors and through cracks and air leaks around electrical outlets, plumbing and windows. You can help reduce second-hand smoke in your apartment or condo by installing special seals in electrical outlets. These are available at hardware stores.”

It cannot be stressed enough that staying away from cigarette smoke is an important part of living a healthy life. Keeping it out of your home is an excellent way to improve its indoor air quality. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we provide Air Quality Services to maximize your chances of breathing clean air at home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Casinos: The Definition Of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Depositphotos_31844663_s-2015In our last blog, we revisited the concept of cigarette smoking and its incredibly harmful effects on air quality. We listed a few ways that can help for smokers to quit the habit. Not only is it important to quit smoking in an effort to protect one’s own health, but it makes for a much safer environment for all of those around the smoker. Secondhand smoke, as you’re likely aware, is deadly. This is why so many public places ban smoking.

But is there a place that hasn’t seem to jump on the “no smoking” train yet? Sadly, there sure is. And it’s a place that many people may enjoy visiting this summer. Do you enjoy going to casinos? If so, you are most likely putting yourself in a position to experience the worst type of indoor air quality possible. Many casinos claim to have excellent filtration and ventilation systems. But are they enough?

Are casino ventilation systems doing the job? Not according to a 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report. No-Smoke.org reveals that the report “concluded that 100% smokefree workplace policies are the only effective way to eliminate secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace. Even sophisticated ventilation systems do not eliminate the health hazards of secondhand smoke.” The site goes on to note that casino workers are at great risk of damaging their health as a result.

What are the risks to casino workers? According to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report, “casino workers are exposed to hazardous levels of toxic secondhand smoke at work, including tobacco-specific carcinogens that increased in the body as the shift went on.” In addition, “Casino workers are at greater risk for lung and heart disease because of secondhand smoke exposure.” Who knew it was such a dangerous job to run a game of blackjack?

If you’re not a casino worker, you may think that you don’t have much to worry about. After all, visitors of casinos don’t generally spend all day within their confines. Or do they? Casinos are pretty exhilarating places. They are loud, colourful and vibrant locations that encourage drinking and gambling. In many cases, this can make for a fun time – depending on your luck, of course. However, there are health implications to every visit.

What are the health implications of a casino visit? According to the NIOSH, “the average level of cotinine (metabolized nicotine) among nonsmokers increased by 456% and the average levels of the carcinogen NNAL increased by 112% after four hours of exposure to secondhand smoke in a smoke-filled casino with a ‘sophisticated’ ventilation system.” As if that didn’t sound scary enough, the report connotes that casinos can be argued as the most dangerous places to breathe!

“Smoke-filled casinos have up to 50 times more cancer-causing particles in the air than highways and city streets clogged with diesel trucks in rush hour traffic,” finds the NIOSH, “After going smokefree, indoor air pollution virtually disappears in the same environments.” Perhaps, it really doesn’t pay to visit a casino after all – no matter how much money you may win. The point, of course, is that cigarette smoking is horrible for indoor air quality.

This is why it’s so important to investigate your home for pollutants if cigarette smoking has even been done within its walls. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that work to ensure that the air you breathe in your home contributes to your overall health. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. July 19, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    The harmful effects of smoking is clearly stated here. The casino ventilation cannot eliminate the harmful effects of second hand smoke in the air. The casino workers and vistors are of great risk and the implications of getting a heart and lung disease is very high.

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3 Steps That Will Get You Closer To Quitting Smoking

Human hands breaking up cigaretteIt’s the year 2015. If you don’t know by now that smoking cigarettes is one of the worst possible things that you can do for your health, then you’ve certainly been living under a rock. Or, perhaps to be a bit more fair, if you haven’t yet given up cigarette smoking, it’s likely that your addiction is pretty serious. All jokes aside, you are literally killing yourself. But even worse, you are contributing to killing those around you.

It should be common knowledge that secondhand smoke is a killer. The various toxins that exist in cigarette smoke make for the worst possible breathing conditions. Why do you think that nearly all public places prohibit smoking? It seems like, these days, the only place that a smoker can light up is inside his or her own home. And that presents a huge problem too. Your home is a death trap for its other inhabitants if cigarette smoking occurs within it.

Here are three steps that will get you closer to quitting smoking:

1. Busy yourself within the first few days. People who have quit smoking have admitted that the first few days without cigarettes are the hardest. As a result, it will be important to distract yourself from the cravings. Plan some fun activities with the family or fill your schedule with things that have been on your to-do list for some time. Anything to keep you from your cigarettes is a good idea. And, of course, don’t have a pack on you!

On WebMD.com, Jennifer Nelson writes about the importance of getting through the first few days of your mission to quit cigarette smoking. “Know that the first few days are the toughest,” she writes, “Especially if you’re quitting ‘cold turkey,’ the first few days are the hardest. You’ll probably feel irritable, depressed, slow, and tired. Once you get past those first days, you’ll begin to feel normal (but still have cigarette cravings).”

2. Give your mouth something else to do. It’s true that many people complain of gaining weight once they try to quit smoking. After all, if they’re not using their mouths to inhale smoke, they may as well use it to eat, right? Well, not necessarily. There are many other things you can do to busy your mouth in an effort to keep away from puffing on a cigarette. And even if you do plan on eating, it may be a great opportunity to eat healthfully.

The Mayo Clinic Staff suggests that you “chew on it”. “Give your mouth something to do to fight a tobacco craving,” they advise, “Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch on raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds – something crunchy and satisfying.” As well, there are a number of tobacco craving-reducing products out there in the form of chewing gum. Give one a try and see if it doesn’t help you.

3. Quit as part of a team. When people go to the gym by themselves, they aren’t generally as motivated to work out as they would be with a fitness trainer. The same can be said about your motivation to quit smoking. Chances are that there is someone you know who is also looking to kick the habit. “Try a new hobby with friends who don’t smoke,” suggests Nelson, “This makes success more likely.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are well aware of the damage that cigarette smoke can do to the quality of the air in your home. For the safety and health of both yourself and your family, it is imperative that you have a home that is as pollutant-free as possible. We offer Air Quality Services in an effort to help you to achieve that goal. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

One Comment

  1. July 19, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    This article will show the smokers the steps they need to take to get them closer to quit smoking. We all know it is bad for their health and by letting them know that there are ways on how to quit it will be very helpful.

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How Do Air Conditioners Impact Indoor Air Quality?

Depositphotos_15840471_s-2015With July in full swing, many of us are beginning to feel the heat of the summer. And while many of us love the idea of basking in the sun, many others are more comfortable in cooler temperatures. As a result, the use of air conditioners in our homes and offices are all the rage these days. While being warm can be pleasurable, being in a hot and sticky environment really isn’t fun for anyone. So, for most people, air conditioners are considered summer necessities.

But how do air conditioners affect indoor air quality? Yes, we know that air conditioning is meant to cool down our air. But does it help to keep it clean? Or does the opposite happen? Are pollutants simply swirling around us all day when the A/C is on? You’ll be happy to know that air conditioners are generally known to provide positive effects on the air that we breathe. Now that’s cool!

According to the Pure Living Blog, “air conditioners are beneficial insomuch as they help circulate and filter indoor air. Almost all air conditioners contain a filter that will remove allergens and other pollutants as it pulls air from inside the room. This can actually help reduce indoor air pollution, especially when the air quality outside is poor.” However, we can’t depend on air conditioners to keep our air clean without our help.

What can be done to ensure that air conditioners are purifying our air? It’s all about keeping them clean. Filters, as you are likely aware, require regular cleaning so that dust doesn’t build up too heavily. “Air conditioners that are not correctly maintained can create problems for people with asthma and allergies,” reports the Pure Living Blog, noting that dust, pet dander and pollen can often accumulate within A/C units.

How do you avoid the build up of pollutants in air conditioners? The blog advises that you replace the air filter inside your air conditioner according the manufacturer’s instructions. This is important because it not only helps to eliminate the presence of allergens in the air, it also helps to limit moisture, which is known to provide breeding grounds for mould. The Pure Living Blog points out that air conditioners remove moisture from the air to lower humidity.

On WebMD.com, Denise Mann agrees that well-maintained air conditioners can help to improve indoor air quality. She writes that Dr. Eric Schachter, who is the medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, believes that turning on the A/C in the summer can be good for our health. He points out the air conditioners have the ability to clean the air that we breathe.

How do air conditioners clean the air that we breathe? “Many pollutants are water-soluble, and as air conditioners remove water from the atmosphere, they remove these pollutants,” he is quoted as saying, “Air conditioners also remove pollen and particulate matter.” The Pure Living Blog backs this up by stating that “air conditioners that are maintained and used properly will not only keep you comfortable during the summer but will also help improve the air quality in your home.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are concerned about the air quality in your home. Our Air Quality Services work to ensure that the air that you breathe in your home is as pollutant-free as possible. Perhaps, it’s time we conduct an inspection. For more information on this and other services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Working To Minimize VOCs During Your Next Paint Job

Blue color painting wall with rollerFor the most part, most of us enjoy keeping our homes clean and tidy. And, in many cases, part of keeping a well-kept home is keeping it freshly painted. You don’t necessarily need to go through big renovations to change the look and feel of a room. Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint is all that is necessary. However, we don’t often think about the health risks that are involved with painting.

What harm to our health could painting a room possibly cause? Well, it all depends on the type of paint that you use. If it contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a lot of harm can be caused. As GreenGuard.org explains it, “many VOCs are irritants and can cause headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and dizziness. Long-term exposure to certain VOCs may lead to chronic diseases or cancer. At high concentrations, some VOCs are toxic.”

But how do VOCs get into our air? As long as you can smell a fresh coat of paint, you can bet that VOCs have been emitted. Jennifer from TheSmartMama.com explains that “VOCs are chemicals that contain at least one carbon atom and that easily evaporate at ambient temperature. VOCs are emitted as gases from certain liquids and solids. In other words, VOCs readily volatilize, or evaporate, out of the solid or liquid into the air we breathe.”

So how do we avoid breathing in VOCs? It’s important to locate a paint that has either low or no VOCs contained within it. Jennifer notes that there are generally two kinds of paints on the market: latex (water-based) paints and oil based paints. She writes that latex paints are better choices because they work to reduce toxic chemical exposures. This is because oil based paints use organic solvents that evaporate and pollute the air after application.

Jennifer goes on to point out, however, that you can’t always necessarily trust paints that are labelled as “low VOCs” or “zero VOCs”. She writes that while they “may have fewer toxins present than conventional paints…The assumption that paints labelled as odour-free or containing low or no VOC’s are free of toxicants is false. While these paints are environmentally friendly, and I am all for reducing smog, they may still have some toxic chemicals present.”

So how can we tell if certain paints are safe or not? “Look for the VOC content in grams per litre on the paint label – choose one with the lowest number,” advises Jennifer, “Generally speaking, and keeping in mind that VOC content is regulated for smog formation potential, not health effects, a paint that says ‘Maximum VOC Content: 45 grams/litre’ is preferable to one with a higher number.”

Painting rooms inside of your home is a tough enough job without having to worry about the potential health effects of doing so. However, it is a necessity to protect both yourself and your family from any dangers that may be looming as a result of paint fumes. Be sure to ventilate your home as much as possible during your paint job. And take measures to stay out of the room while the paint is drying.

If you’ve painted a bedroom, avoid sleeping in it until the paint has been completely dried and the smell of paint is no longer apparent. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we provide Air Quality Services to ensure that your home is enjoying the best possible indoor air quality. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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