February is here. And while there are claims that the recent Groundhog Day forecast an early spring, most Canadians are well aware that we still have a ways to go before we’ll be enjoying hot and sunny weather. As a result, most will keep their doors and windows firmly shut in order to keep the cold from entering their homes. But, as we pointed out in our last blog, ensuring a high quality of air in the home requires the cracking of the windows every now and again.
There are, of course, a number of other ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality throughout the winter months. Here are three:
Keeping your floors clean is an especially important winter task. Especially when your windows are closed for most of the day, there is little to no escape for dust and other air pollutants. By vacuuming your carpets and keeping them as dust-free as possible, you’ll help to alleviate some of the irritants to your lungs that may be in the air. As Florida’s The Alternative Daily reminds us, carpets notoriously trap indoor pollutants of all types.
“To keep them clean, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter once a week, and consider steam cleaning every couple of months,” reads their website, “Investing in your own steam cleaner is wise, as professional carpet cleaning services often use harsh chemicals which can make your air even more toxic. If you steam clean yourself, you can choose to use a mixture of white vinegar and hot water to get the job done.”
To reiterate, most homes are kept shut all winter long. As a result, they depend more on their air filters to purify the air than they do the circulation of fresh air from outside. It’s important to remember that air filters can quickly get clogged up with dust and other air pollutants. Not cleaning them or changing them regularly can result in having those pollutants circulate back into the home.
“Dirty air filters are a major contributor to poor indoor air quality,” informs Wisconsin’s Titan Air, “Check your filters regularly and change them as needed. Make sure that when they are installed, filters are secured tightly to avoid gaps between the filter frame and rack. This reduces bypass air, which can harm indoor air quality by allowing breathable particles to pass through without being filtered.”
Back in December, we blogged about what great holiday gifts houseplants make. Their air-purifying ways make up some of the easiest ways to reduce air pollutants in your home. Houseplants provide such effortless solutions to poor indoor air quality. Just plop them down or hang them up and your job is done! As The Alternative Daily confirms, houseplants are known to filter air pollutants from our living environments.
“Azaleas and English ivy do well in cooler temperatures, and Chinese evergreens and bamboo palms thrive in the shade,” notes the site, “Aloe vera and chrysanthemums are two other great choices, however they require direct sunlight. Spider plants are a resilient and popular choice for first-time plant owners.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we don’t sell houseplants, but we do still offer you ways to ensure the purity of the air inside your home. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a Canadian, you’re most likely quite used to a few annual winter traditions. They include shovelling your driveway, scraping ice from your car windows and cranking up the heat of your home. And while every Canadian expects a fairly chilly winter each and every year, it doesn’t stop most of us from complaining about it when it arrives.
Complaining about the cold is as much part of the Canadian winter tradition as all of the above mentioned activities. That’s why the suggestion to crack open the windows, during the winter, is usually met with raised eyebrows. Maintaining top-of-the-line indoor air quality is a year-round requirement. And with the cold air outside encouraging us to keep our homes sealed shut, we leave ourselves susceptible to breathing stagnant, stale and polluted air more often.
Indoor air pollution is created in a number of ways and without ventilating the air in your home, it can actually lead to a number of health problems. On Glamour.com, Sarah Jio explains that opening your windows during the winter is a great way to both enjoy fresh air and avoid ill health.
“Health experts have longed warned of the dangers of ‘indoor air pollution,’ and for good reason,” she writes, “From mould spores to chemical off-gassing from paint, carpet, new furniture and cleaning products, sometimes the air in our homes and offices is many times more polluted than the air circulating outside.”
Consider some of the actions you may be taking that lead to the pollution of the air in your home. Cleaning products that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) may leave behind fresh scents, but they can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. Cracking the windows during your cleaning routines is one way to promote high indoor air quality during the winter.
Jio reveals that her favourite time to crack open the windows on chilly days is when she is cleaning and tidying up. “I feel warmer anyway, since I’m moving around, and I don’t mind a cool breeze flowing in,” she notes, “Plus, when I’m cleaning my house, I love the feeling of cleaning the air a bit too. Try it!”
As you may have guessed, keeping the windows open for prolonged periods of time will end up being counterproductive. Not only will it make your home cold, but it will waste a lot of the energy (and money) being used to keep your home warm. Crack open different windows in the home during different portions of the day for short periods of time. That way, each room will get its own special dose of freshness.
“You don’t have to leave windows open for hours on end,” WindowsCanada.com assures us, “Just cracking them for 15-20 minutes a day can vastly improve the air quality inside your home. Even though it’s cold outside, your health and the health of your family will be in much better shape with some fresh air.”
The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would love to work with you on keeping the air inside your home as pure as possible this winter. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about such services as our Air Quality Services and Mould Assessment Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
When most people hear the term “carbon monoxide”, they are immediately aware that it’s a deadly gas. Carbon monoxide detectors are growing in popularity considering the colourless, odourless gas has been responsible for the deaths of many individuals who didn’t realize their homes were being poisoned.
Radon is another colourless and odourless gas that doesn’t seem to be as well understood as a threat to our health. Perhaps, this is why the Government of Canada marked November as National Radon Action Month. Explaining on their website that radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the ground and is found in every home, they also noted radon awareness is especially important during the winter months.
“Here in Canada, our homes are well sealed to keep us warm in the winter, which can cause radon concentrations in our homes to build up to dangerous levels,” Canada.ca reveals, “Over time, exposure to elevated levels of radon can cause lung cancer. In fact, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and kills more than 3,200 Canadians each year.”
Again, it’s important to note that radon as no smell, no colour and no taste. There’s no way for anyone to detect radon unless the air is tested for it. There are inexpensive do-it-yourself test kits available on the market. However, hiring a certified radon professional to conduct a test for you is your best bet.
Radon is created by the natural breakdown of uranium in the ground outside of our homes. It escapes by seeping up through the soil and out into the fresh air. The various cracks and openings in our homes give radon passageways to enter our living spaces. In small doses and in ventilated areas, radon doesn’t pose much of a threat. However, in the wintertime, we tend to keep our homes sealed up pretty tight to keep the cold out.
As a result, radon gas is given a greater amount of time to build up to higher, more concentrated levels. As well, because most of us tend to stay indoors for longer durations of time, during the winter, we are more susceptible to being exposed to larger doses of radon for longer lengths of time.
In addition, as Baxter Group Inc. explains, “during the winter, the ground can freeze, and get covered by snow. The snow forms an insulating blanket and creates a blanket effect that traps the radon in the soil. With less radon exiting through the soil around the house, more may be pulled inside.”
As we pointed out earlier, hiring a certified radon professional is a smart choice. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we provide Radon Services that are designed to determine the precise levels of radon in your home and whether or not they are safe. Radon testing can mean the difference between life and death so it is highly recommended that radon tests be conducted at least every two years.
For more information about our Radon Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s a moment that the nation of Canada has been waiting for a long time. Announced back in December of 2016 by the federal government, the country’s comprehensive ban of asbestos is finally in full effect. As of December 30, 2018, asbestos is outlawed in Canada. We were remiss to not mention it in last week’s blog given how much extensive coverage of the subject has appeared in our blogs over the past couple of years.
The Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations now prohibit the import, sale and use of asbestos and the manufacture, import, sale and use of products containing asbestos, in Canada, with a limited number of exclusions. In a recently released fact sheet, which can be downloaded from a link on JobberNation.ca, full details of the new ban are given.
To be clear, the new regulations stipulate that any products that contain processed asbestos fibres at any level as well as consumer products that contain naturally-occurring asbestos in greater than trace amounts are prohibited.
“The Regulations also prohibit the sale, for use in construction or landscaping, of asbestos mining residues that are located at an asbestos mining site or accumulation area, unless authorized by the province in which the activity construction or landscaping is to occur,” reads the fact sheet, “In addition, the Regulations prohibit the use of asbestos mining residues to manufacture a product containing asbestos.”
As the fact sheet details, there is a limited number of exclusions to what is prohibited. They include disposal, roads, importing military equipment, servicing military equipment, servicing equipment of nuclear facilities, museum display, laboratory use and Chlor-Alkali facilities. With the exception of disposal and roads, reporting is required for each of these exclusions.
“Permits are available for limited and specific circumstances when no technically or economically asbestos-free alternative is available,” the fact sheet informs, “Reports for excluded activities must be submitted before March 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the activities occurred. For permit holders, the reports must be submitted within 90 days after the day on which their permit expires.”
As we’ve noted on many occasions, in our blogs, the asbestos ban truly couldn’t have come soon enough. The toxic substance, which was once a staple in the construction of office buildings and homes, is a known killer. Breathing in its fibres is a proven cause of lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma – all deadly diseases.
“Between 2000 and 2016 the number of Canadians dying from mesothelioma increased from 292 deaths in 2000 to 510 in 2016 – an increase of 70 per cent,” reports Kathleen Ruff on RightOnCanada.ca, “In total, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada, almost seven thousand Canadians died from mesothelioma during this period.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are aware that this ban won’t automatically protect Canadians from exposure to the asbestos that already exists in their homes and places of work. So we’d like to help out where we can. For information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Welcome to our first blog of 2019! On behalf of the entire DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team, we’d like to wish you a very happy new year. Of course, we’d also love the opportunity to do our part in helping your new year to be happy by offering you ways to purify the air in your home.
We live by the idea that the healthier you are, the happier you’ll be. So what will you be doing to improve your home’s indoor air quality this year? Here are four fresh ways to breathe cleaner air in 2019:
We all want our homes to smell pleasant. And while air fresheners can generally do the trick, they are actually causing your air more harm than good. Many sweet smelling sprays contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which pose dangers to our respiratory systems. To keep your home smelling fresh, crack the windows now and again and try using natural air fresheners.
“Chemical-laden air fresheners can irritate your skin and lungs,” affirms GetCold.net, “Opt for a natural product instead, such as essential oils in a diffuser, or a potpourri of dried herbs. Simmering orange peels, apple peels, cloves, or cinnamon sticks in a small crock pot will release a lovely natural scent as well.”
No, plants don’t have to sit with you and your family at the dinner table. But it would be a good idea to have them sit around the house. Making plants a regular part of your living environment will help to purify the air you breathe in your home. Last month, we blogged about some of the best plants that work as air purifiers. Be sure to give that blog a read if you haven’t already!
“Plants are amazing for improving indoor air quality,” insists Aprilaire.com, “Adding some green plants to your home can not only help you breathe better, but it adds major style points, too. To purify air, think one large plant for every 100 square feet in your home, or two smaller ones for the same effect.”
Arguably, this is a New Year’s Resolution that should have gone at the top of our list. It cannot be stressed enough that cigarette smoke is the worst thing you can add to the air you breathe. Eliminating the nasty habit of smoking from your life will not only add years to your life, but will vastly improve the health of everyone who enters your home.
We likely don’t have to remind you that cigarettes are cancer-causing. “About 30% of cancers are related to tobacco, with tobacco use also being the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the country,” notes David Boles on 620ckrm.com.
As we mentioned earlier, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would love to help you enjoy the purest possible air quality in your home. We have a vast array of services that include Air Quality Services, Mould Assessment Services, Moisture Monitoring Services and more! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Christmas Day now less than a week away, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that this holiday season will be your most joyous one yet. As well, we hope that the new year will be your healthiest one ever! Of course, if there’s anything we can do to help with that, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
As you’re well aware, the DF Technical &Consulting Services Ltd. is committed to restoring the purity of the air in your home or office space. Through the many different services we provide, we make it our mission to provide our clients with the absolute highest of indoor air quality. The quality of the air you breathe should never be taken for granted. Naturally, we need air to live. And breathing in pollutant filled-air is no way to live.
“In Canada, 3.8 million people over the age of one are living with asthma and 2.0 million are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), both of which can impact a person’s ability to breathe,” reports the Government of Canada, “Individuals living with asthma or COPD may experience impaired participation in daily life, school, work, and social activities.”
Quite obviously, it’s important that we all take steps to ensure the air we’re breathing is as pure as possible. This involves simple steps like cracking the windows open for a bit each day. That way, we circulate the stagnant and stale air from inside with the fresher air from outside. And yes, as we’ve pointed out in many past blogs, this is something that should be done in the wintertime.
“Tobacco smoking, including second hand or passive exposure, is the single largest threat to lung health in Canada,” the Government of Canada reveals, “However, it is one of the most modifiable risk factors…According to the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS), smoking rates are at their lowest ever. The proportion of Canadians who are current smokers is down from 21.7% in 2001 to 14.6% in 2013.”
Unquestionably, you can vastly improve your home’s indoor air quality by completely removing any possibility of cigarette smoke existing within it. As we’ve also addressed in numerous blogs of past, cigarette smoke can have fatal consequences for anyone who is exposed to it –non-smokers included.
As mentioned, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re very proud to offer an array of services that all work to improve the air you breathe. They include Air Quality Services which maximize the inspection process to target areas of concern, Moisture Monitoring Services which evaluate buildings for moisture sources and Radon Services which help to detect traces of the colourless, odourless gas.
For more information about any and all of our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com. Happy Holidays!
We all now have less than two weeks to complete our Christmas shopping! While many of us may have already checked off everything on our shopping lists, there are so many more of us who still have special people in our lives to buy gifts for. It’s a wondrous time of year…but it’s an expensive one as well! It can also be frustrating when getting stumped for what to buy for our loved ones.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we consider the houseplant to be part of a special “can’t go wrong” category of gifts. While not everyone is necessarily a fan of houseplants, they have been proven to provide both elegance to any room and, more importantly, health benefits to anyone in their vicinity.
As Elizabeth Palermo explains on LiveScience.com, studies conducted by a number of institutions including NASA, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Georgia concluded that plants are great at absorbing potentially harmful gases through the pores on the surfaces of their leaves. While this ability is necessary for the photosynthesis process, it also helps to improve the air we breathe.
“Scientists studying the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have found that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide, including a long list of volatile organic compounds (VOCs),”reveals Palermo, “Benzene (found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke) and formaldehyde (found in some cosmetics, dish detergent,fabric softener and carpet cleaner) are examples of common indoor VOCs that plants help eliminate.”
Palermo goes on to note that VOCs and other indoor air pollutants are linked to such conditions as asthma and nausea as well as chronic diseases such as cancer. When adding a houseplant to your living environment,you allow for it to remove harmful compounds from the air.
Among the plants that are the most useful in removing VOCs from the air are Japanese royal ferns, spider plants, Boston ferns, purple waffle plants, English Ivy, areca palms, golden pothos, aloe vera, snake plants and peace lilies, reports Palermo.
BoothbayGreenhouses.com goes into greater detail about several of these air purifying plants and also adds Chrysanthemum, Devil’s Ivy, Red-edged Dracaena, Lady Palm, Flamingo Lily, Barberton Daisy and Weeping Fig to the list of houseplants that improve indoor air quality. The information provided about English Ivy, which is also known as Hedera helix, is especially enlightening.
“According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, English Ivy is effective at cleansing benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene from the air,” explains the website, “Additionally, other studies have indicated that English Ivy also helps reduce mould in your home. This evergreen climbing vine is extremely popular in outdoor landscaping. You may have seen it used as ground-cover in areas where grass doesn’t grow, or perhaps climbing up the side of a wall or tree trunk.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we may not sell houseplants, but we would still like to offer you and your family the gift of clean air inside your home this holiday season. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sitting by the fireplace is a holiday season pastime that most people still enjoy. In fact, some people enjoy it so much that they sit in front of their television sets to watch virtual fireplaces blaze and crackle away. Interestingly enough, the televised fireplace is undoubtedly the smarter choice. This is because a real fireplace causes more harm than is worth the toasty warmth it provides.
On their Canada.ca website, the Government of Canada reveals that wood smoke is bad for our health. “In communities where wood heating is common, wood smoke can be responsible for as much as 25% of the airborne particulate matter, 8% of the VOCs, and 7% of the CO in the air,” informs the site.
It goes on to explain that wood smoke contains such toxic compounds as nitrogen oxides and chlorinated dioxins and can cause eye, nose and throat irritations. It can also cause headaches, nausea and dizziness. Not to mention, the smoke emitted from fireplaces is known to worsen asthma and other respiratory issues.
However, those with heart or lung problems are especially susceptible to the health hazards associated with fireplaces. Canada.ca also reminds us that wood smoke puts children in danger as they are still developing their respiratory systems. As well, because kids are generally more active, they inhale more air.
The importance of removing fireplace use for your holiday festivities this year cannot be understated. As the good people at Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning explain, all fireplaces release harmful emissions. In fact, their website reveals that wood burning releases more pollutants than gas. Among those pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and a long list of particles.
“One of the most deleterious wood smoke health effects, particulates released during the incomplete combustion of any fuel (wood or gas) can work their way into and damage the lungs,” says AireServ.ca, “This can cause difficulty breathing and aggravate existing conditions, particularly asthma, bronchitis, and wood smoke allergies. Long-term damage can be irrevocable, with a number of particulate fireplace pollutants linked to cancer.”
Although it really shouldn’t have to be recommended, make sure your fireplace is well ventilated if you absolutely insist on using it this holiday season. It’s not a bad idea to open up some windows as well. We understand that the opening of windows may defeat the purpose of heating up your home. However, a lack of ventilation will only guarantee the distribution of air pollutants all throughout your home.
Ventilation is important “with ‘ventless’ fireplace models, both gas and wood burning, boosting measurable pollutant levels within the home,” says Aire Serv, “Very tightly sealed homes may also suffer increased pollution buildup, including not only dangerous gases and particles, but water vapour subsequent to burning that can contribute to mould and mildew.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to offer you and your family the gift of clean air inside your home this holiday season. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
There are many Canadian families that already have their Christmas trees up. Of course, there are many others who are still in the process of picking out the right trees to grace their homes this holiday season. For those who choose to put up artificial trees, the decision can be made at any time. A live tree, however, requires watering and other care, so timing is important. Obviously, you don’t want to unwrap presents under a dead, wilted tree on Christmas morning.
There is, however, another concern when it comes to live Christmas trees. For those who suffer with allergies, live trees can create major problems. In most cases, bringing plants inside the home is advisable for the improving of indoor air quality. There are numerous houseplants that have detoxifying effects. However, with certain trees, the opposite is true.
On BabyCenter.com, it is explained that particular holiday trees, such as juniper and cedar can bring pollen into your home and contribute to allergies. In addition, such trees can create a mould problem. “Freshly cut trees can breed mould spores,” informs the site, “The spores grow all over the tree, and when they’re released into the air, inhaling them into the nose and lungs can trigger allergy symptoms.”
The website goes on to report that “researchers at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, found that a room containing a fresh Christmas tree for two weeks had mould levels that were five times the normal level. Other studies have shown that levels this high can cause allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms, says the study’s coauthor, allergist and immunologist Philip Hemmers.”
BabyCenter.com recommends that you use a leaf blower to blow as much potentially harmful debris off of the tree as possible before bringing it into your home. It also suggests rinsing the tree down with a garden hose and letting it dry before setting it up inside. Wiping down the tree trunk with bleach is another cleaning solution, says the site. Now, if each of these cleaning methods sound like too much trouble – or even seem unrealistic – you’re not alone!
We can’t imagine that all of the pre-set up maintenance is worth it. Chances are that you will not have guaranteed yourself or your family members an allergy-free holiday season even if you do employ the above mentioned cleaning methods. On VeryWellHealth.com, Jeanette Bradley proposes an alternative solution.
“If pine pollen is a major allergy trigger for you, a fir, spruce, or cypress Christmas tree may be a better bet,” she advises, “The Leyland Cypress is a sterile hybrid tree, which means it does not produce any pollen. To find a Leyland Cypress Christmas tree, you may need to bypass the Christmas tree lots and big box stores and instead go direct to the source: a local Christmas tree farm.”
No matter which tree you decide to display in your home this holiday season, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to offer you the gift of cleaner air inside your home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about our Air Quality Services and Mould Assessment Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 30th, 2018. That’s the date asbestos officially becomes outlawed in the country of Canada. Announced by the federal government in December of 2016, the nationwide ban of asbestos will have taken a total of two years to come into full effect. We’re not going to lie. We can’t understand the long delay. Asbestos, quite frankly, should have been banned a long time ago.
It’s no secret. Asbestos is a killer. Mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer are just three of the known deadly diseases brought on by asbestos exposure. The toxic substance, once a staple in the construction of homes and buildings, is known to be the number one cause of workplace deaths in Canada. “Good riddance” is all that comes to mind for the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team when thinking of asbestos.
As Kelly Franklin of ChemicalWatch.com, reports, “The Prohibition of Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos Regulations will ban the import, sale and use of the material, as well as the manufacture, import, sale and use of products containing it, with some exceptions.” Those exceptions, notes Franklin include legacy uses where asbestos was already integrated in structures that already contain the products.
In other words, old buildings that contain asbestos aren’t about to be torn down and replaced with asbestos-free constructions. Franklin also notes that mining residues are not covered by the new asbestos ban. She also points out that there are some time-limited exceptions as well as several ongoing exclusions to the ban.
“The substance’s use in the chlor-alkali industry – where it is used as part of cell diaphragms to act as a filter in the manufacture of chlorine and caustic soda – has been protected until the end of 2029,” Franklin reports, “The proposal had called for the use to be discontinued from 2025, but was extended to ‘provide sufficient lead time to safely adopt asbestos-free technology’.”
In addition, there are exemptions for particular products that are used to service military equipment as well as service equipment in nuclear facilities. These exemptions expire in 2023 unless a permit is issued by the government to allow for them to continue.
The reuse of road asphalt containing asbestos for the purpose of restoring asbestos mining sites or to create new road infrastructure will still be permissible. As well, if there is no feasible alternative, Canada can still import, sell and use military equipment serviced outside of Canada with an asbestos-containing product. Finally, the import, sale or use of products containing asbestos for display in a museum or use in a laboratory will still be allowed.
“In most of these cases, reporting and record-keeping is required, in addition to the preparation and implementation of an asbestos management plan,” notes Franklin.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we suppose later is better than never. However, for the health and safety of all Canadians, December 30th can’t come soon enough. If you would like information about our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.