Now that we are at the official midway point of November, we think it’s safe to say the following: Happy Holidays everyone! Okay, perhaps we jumped the gun a bit. The official holiday season doesn’t kick off until the end of December. However, we all know that holiday parties are already getting underway. It’s really never too early to enjoy all of the wonders that come along with the holiday season.
This is certainly the time of year when you’re a lot more likely to entertain. Having guests over at your home for holiday festivities is always a joyous way to welcome the season. What’s more fun than the gift-giving, song-singing, meal-eating activities that come with celebrating this time of year? Of course, you know we have to mention that with the significant increase in visitors to your home comes the increased risk of polluting its air.
“With the holidays now upon us, it is important you know the dangers posed by indoor air pollution so you can combat the risks,” writes Tara on BioFriendlyPlanet.com, “Although indoor air pollution is not a topic most people are likely to bring up while preparing for holiday visitors and guests, it is a subject worthy of discussion.”
Let’s lay down a few ground rules so you can enjoy a healthy holiday season!
Firstly, don’t assume that because it’s cold outside, the windows need to stay closed 24/7. At some point each day, it’s a good idea to crack the windows and allow some of the cool, fresh air from outside to circulate with the warm, stale air from inside. This will be especially important when you have a large number of guests come over. A lot of people together in one environment can make for an indoor air quality nightmare.
This should actually be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to holiday parties. Chances are you’re bound to have some smokers come over to celebrate the holidays with you. Let them know that they are welcome, but their cigarettes are not. Insist that all smoking be done outside. It should go without saying that the many toxic chemicals found in secondhand smoke are detrimental to your health, the health of your family members and all of your home’s visitors.
This very-Canadian tradition is an excellent way to keep the pollutants from outside from coming into your home. Naturally, we all walk on outdoor grounds that are dirty. Why track that dirt into the house?
“You and your family will benefit from improving indoor air quality as well…Leave your shoes at the door, and ask guests to do the same,” insists Tara, “Shoes can track in quite a bit of dust, pollen, chemicals and pesticides.”
Of course, there is so much more you can do to ensure a healthy holiday season for your family. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc., we’d love to help you have your healthiest holiday season yet! Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at email@example.com.
Readers of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. Blog are well aware of our insistence on maintaining high indoor air quality. Our penchant for doling out tips and advice that will help for your home to be a safer place to live exists with good reason. The air we breathe, quite obviously, has a huge impact on our health. The cleaner it is, the better our lives will be. It’s really that simple. However, keeping the air in our homes is a lot less simple than most of us believe.
Take, for example, the cleaning products most of us use. We assume that because we are dusting, polishing and mopping, we are keeping our homes free of respiratory irritants and health hazards. Many of those cleaning products, however, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are themselves contributing to the health hazards we are trying to avoid.
This is especially important given the news that recently came out via Lancet. As Jen St. Denis reports on MetroNews.ca, the medical journal commissioned a study that concluded that pollution causes 16 percent of all deaths around the world. The study, she notes, is the first to analyze together the impact of air, water and soil pollution.
“Examples of pollution include air pollution from vehicle exhaust and exposure to solvents, pesticides and lead,” informs St. Denis, “The social costs include the long-term effects of exposure, such as the long-term cognitive problems associated with lead poisoning.” She goes on to note, however, that the study provides hope. At least, this is the impression received by one of the study’s authors, Bruce Lanphear – a health sciences professor with Simon Fraser University.
“What’s so exciting about studying things like pollution is that it’s entirely preventable,” he is quoted as saying, “Pollution is man-made, we know how to control it. That contrasts with other potential causes that haven’t been fully fleshed out.” A perfect example of a preventable disease, lists St. Denis, is childhood leukemia. It’s known to be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants. Naturally, taking steps to significantly decrease or eliminate exposure would help to save lives.
In fact, 92 percent of all deaths caused by pollution take place in poorer nations. Canada, argues Lanphear, should not have its citizens at risk of dying due to pollution-related causes. As well, our nation should be doing its part to help other nations by not exporting toxic substances such as asbestos or lead-based paint.
“Because exposure to pollution is such a serious health risk, it’s important that all levels of government adopt policies to reduce pollution,” says St. Denis, “Lanphear pointed to Vancouver’s commitment to have 75 per cent of city trips completed by biking, walking or public transit by 2040 as an important goal.”
It’s no secret that DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. is on board with keeping Canada as pollution free as possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how our Air Quality Services can make your home a safer environment! Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadians are prone to cracking the windows in the summertime. Obviously, right? With the warmth and sunshine so prevalent during the summer, it only makes sense to let some of the fresh, warm air from outside circulate with the otherwise stagnant, stale air from inside. But now that the fall is in full swing, Canadians are prone to keeping their windows shut. Considering the much cooler temperatures, that would make sense right?
It’s what can happen when we keep our windows closed all the time. Known as SBS for short, sick building syndrome refers to the health issues that may arise when we keep ourselves locked in tightly sealed spaces with little ventilation. In a special to the National Post, Mike Holmes of “Holmes On Homes” fame explains that there are a number of symptoms that people experience when they keep themselves cooped up.
Headaches, dizziness and nausea are among them. “Not only can keeping openings closed cause condensation issues inside your house (i.e. weeping windows), which we know can lead to mould, it also allows toxins already inside the home to build up,” writes Holmes, “That includes volatile organic compounds, mould spores, dust, smoke, radon, viruses and bacteria. Breathing these in over an extended period of time isn’t good for your health.”
When we keep our windows closed, we trap air pollutants in our home. By opening the windows, we let them out. It’s really that simple. And yes, even during the colder months of the year, it’s wise to crack the windows to allow for that healthy circulation of air to take place. Of course, you don’t have to keep the windows open all day long. On MindBodyGreen.com, it’s explained that only a few minutes a day are necessary.
“Even when it’s chilly outside, you should open a window for at least five minutes a day to significantly decrease the concentrations of indoor air pollutants in your home,” says the website, “Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Manual is the way to go.”
Holmes believes that cracking the windows is an activity that shouldn’t be limited to the summer or fall. He advocates for the opening of windows during the ever-frigid wintertime too. “You don’t need to do this for hours; 15 to 20 minutes is enough to make a difference,” he points out, “It’s also a good solution for homes that don’t have forced air. Yes, you will be losing some energy, but the health benefits you get from bringing fresh air into your home can offset this energy loss.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we regularly champion any act that will help to improve indoor air quality. And while we agree that opening your windows each day, throughout the year, is a good idea, we know that there is more that can be done. And we’d like to do it for you!
Contact us to today to learn about our Air Quality Services. Call 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Dust is in all of our homes. No matter how often we clean, it always seems to return. Dust is primarily made up of our skin flakes and microscopic fibres, so there’s no real way to eliminate it from our homes for good. However, proper upkeep is integral removing dust and improving indoor air quality in order to live in a healthy environment. This is especially true for allergy and asthma sufferers.
So how can you minimize all of that pesky dust in your home? Here are three ideas:
You may not assume that your bed is among the dustiest areas of your home…but it is. What you may not realize is that while you’re dozing each and every night, your skin flakes. In addition to the fibres that your bedding regularly sheds, your nightly place of rest actually becomes a haven for dust – and therefore, dust mites. These microscopic creatures eat your skin flakes and leave behind microscopic droppings that only add to the list of asthma irritants already in your home.
Your best bet? Change and wash your sheets every single week. “To minimize the fallout (of dust), wash sheets and pillowcases weekly,” advises Gary Wentz of Reader’s Digest, “Items that aren’t machine washable don’t need weekly trips to the dry cleaners—just take blankets and bedspreads outside and shake them. You can smack some of the dust out of pillows, but for a thorough cleaning, wash or dry-clean them.”
Branching off of that last point, Wentz also suggests that you take things a step further with your carpeting. Firstly, the less carpet you have in your home the better. Naturally, dust gets trapped in carpet and no matter how much you vacuum, it’s hard to remove it completely. As a result, Wentz advises that you take your removable carpets and rugs outside and give them some good beatings!
“Drape them over a fence or clothesline and beat them with a broom or tennis racket,” he recommends, “Give your cushions the same treatment. Upholstery fabric not only sheds its own fibers but also absorbs dust that settles on it, so you raise puffs of dust every time you sit down. Beat cushions in the backyard or use slipcovers and give them a good shake. If you want to eliminate upholstery dust, buy leather- or vinyl-covered furniture.”
Do away with dusters. Those feathery little trinkets only spread the dust around. A standard rag also won’t do the trick, even when using them with store-bought furniture polish. As FamilyHandyman.com, explains, “microfiber products attract and hold dust with an electrostatic charge, unlike dry rags and feather dusters, which just spread dust around. Machine washable microfiber products can save you money over disposable brands because you can use them over and over.”
As you can imagine, there are many other ways to minimize dust accumulation in your home. However, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend having the indoor air quality of your home tested. For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Friday marks the official start of the fall season. And, for most Canadians, that means the official start of the “stay at home more often” season. It’s not at all surprising that we tend to enjoy the great outdoors on a more regular basis when it’s warm and sunny outside. It’s also pretty commonplace to keep the windows open, when at home, to enjoy the warm fresh air from outside.
Come fall, these practices change. We tend to stay indoors to avoid chilly temperatures and we usually keep the windows shut to keep all of that chilliness outside.
As you may have guessed, it means that the air inside your home is more prone to having its quality lowered. By virtue of the fact that we’re inside the home more often and we’re generally keeping the air inside trapped, it stands to reason that it’s going to be of a lesser quality. In other words, we’re more likely to make ourselves sick during the colder months of the year, in part, by keeping ourselves cooped up.
One thing is for sure – it’s important to keep your home clean. This is important all year round, but during the time of year when you’re less likely to let fresh air inside the home, it’s best to become a neat freak. This will minimize the accumulation of dust and other respiratory system enemies. GetCold.net reminds us not to forget those often-overlooked areas where dust collects in abundance.
“Use a damp cloth to wipe any dust away from ceiling fans, air registers, and kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans,” the site instructs, “You should also look inside your ductwork. You will only be able to see so far, but if there is noticeable debris within the area you can see, it is likely that the rest of the ductwork is also dirty. If you see dirt, dust, cobwebs, or debris, call a professional to have the ductwork inspected and cleaned.”
Remember that they help to rid your home’s air of particles – and those particles build up. Without cleaning or changing them regularly, they aren’t of much use to you.
“When air filters are dirty, they aren’t as effective, which means that more particles will be in the air that you and your loved ones breathe,” says SeaCoastAir.com, “Make sure to change the air filter each month before it becomes saturated with dust and other particles.”
As you may have guessed, we’re only scratching the surface here. There are numerous other ways to ensure the high quality of the air inside your home during the fall. However, we would argue that there are none better than securing the services of DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Our Air Quality Services are made up of inspections that target areas of concern to ensure the best possible living environment for your family all year round.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Most Canadians can admit that they spend far too much time indoors. Then again, it’s hard to blame those of us who choose to stay inside for the majority of the coldest months of the year. Summertime, however, offers us many amazing opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The warmth and sunshine make spending time outside as inviting as it gets!
Of course, there will be plenty of time spent indoors during the summer as well. After all, we do have to hit the hay at some point, right? It wise, then, to invite some of the outdoors inside by keeping the windows open. Yes, we’ve recommended this practice during the wintertime in order to get the air in your homes circulating and renewing itself with the fresh air from outside. But, opening the windows in the winter should only be done for short intervals of time.
During the summer, however, the warm temperatures practically give us no excuse to not keep the windows wide open all day long. As you may have guessed, the health benefits are many. One of the most obvious is the release of air pollutants. On PhantomScreens.com, Esther de Wolde reminds us that much of our indoor activities can produce air pollutants. This includes the acts of dusting, cleaning and painting.
“Some paints contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be harmful to health,” she explains, “And other delightful things like dust mites can cause asthma. So it may be a bit obvious but opening your home to the outside can clear out the nasties.”
On MindBodyGreen.com, James Maskell agrees that keeping the windows open is a healthful practice. He advocates the open window policy, however, for a pretty unique reason. Maskell explains that the human microbiome (the bugs that live inside us that aid in digestion, metabolism and immunity) is important for our overall health. Opening windows, he argues, helps to build the human microbiome.
“For most of human history, the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature,” he explains, “Yet modern humans spend a whopping 93% of their lives indoors, inside buildings or vehicles. Opening a window and increasing natural airflow has been shown to improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit everyone inside.”
Another reason to keep the windows open during the summer: the circulation of air in your home also helps to prevent condensation and mould growth. “Damp window frames, condensation on your windows and worst of all: black mould,” says De Wolde, “Without adequate ventilation your home becomes a steamy box of germs. Nasty. Open the windows and get the air flowing through your home to stop the damp.”
The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. supports the act of keeping windows open during the summer. We also are committed to helping improve the quality of air in your home via our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dusting – it’s one of those household chores that many of us are guilty of putting off for weeks at a time. After all, it’s just dust, right? Harmless little specks that accumulate on our furniture and other belongings that do nothing more than make the place look a little bit more drab than usual.
We’ll just go ahead and stop with the misnomer there. Dust is so much more than harmless little particles!
“Dust is the collective term used to describe the wide variety of organic and inorganic particles that collect in our homes,” explains SixWise.com, “Here’s an unpleasant thought: The majority of dust is made up from shed skin cells. That’s why the areas of your home that are used most often also tend to have the most dust. (Dust mites like to eat these skin cells.) Dust on mattresses, bedding and sofas will contain a particularly large amount of skin cells.”
Although dust mites are so miniscule that they are invisible to the naked eye, these little critters live in our bed linens and mattresses along with other places in your home where you shed your skin. Your skin flakes make up their favourite meals. And when they leave behind waste, you are forced to endure a major allergen. People with allergies and respiratory illnesses such as asthma face a much greater risk of suffering from symptoms the dustier their homes are.
“When dust mite waste is inhaled, people can develop a number of nasty symptoms,” explains Jill Buchner on CanadianLiving.com, “Those with allergies might develop itchy eyes, a runny nose or sneezing, particularly when they first wake up, since the bed is a major site of exposure… Asthma sufferers might also experience wheezing or shortness of breath. About 50 percent of asthma sufferers will find they react to mites.”
One way to minimize dust, and more specifically the presence of dust mites, is to regularly wash your bed sheets in hot water. It’s advisable to keep the same sheets on your bed for no more than a week. Secondly, it’s a good idea to remove the carpeting from your home, especially if you’re an asthma sufferer. The easier you make it to remove dust that accumulates in your home, the better your health will be.
And then there’s the obvious solution. Let’s put it this way: becoming a neat freak is good for your health! Make dusting and vacuuming a regular activity in your home and try not to forget all of its nooks and crannies. “Microfiber materials collect dust much better than other dusting cloths or materials,” informs The Cleaning Blog, “Go over hard surfaces, light fixtures, shelves, books, desks, knick-knacks, everything from top to bottom until the dust is gone.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd, we strongly believe in giving people the opportunity to enjoy the best indoor air quality possible. Contact us today to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Most Canadians are counting down the days until the official start of summer. With under a month left, most of us are looking forward to the time of year when we can enjoy regular warmth and sunshine. We also anticipate the ability to keep our windows open more often to allow for the fresh air from outside to circulate with the stagnant air from inside – a practice much harder to do during the winter, for obvious reasons.
However, keeping the windows open isn’t the only thing we should do to improve indoor air quality this summer. In fact, keeping the windows open isn’t even recommended on particularly hot days when it is humid. This is especially true for allergy sufferers. So if keeping an open window isn’t the only answer to cleaner indoor air, what else can we do to improve indoor air quality this summer?
Here are three simple ideas:
Yes, there will be days when the heat may just be too unbearable to keep your windows open. And while air conditioners can work wonders in helping us to beat the heat, it’s important to remember that a lot of debris can get trapped within them. Checking your air filters and ridding it of build up will help to ensure that the cool air circulating in your home isn’t polluted.
“Air conditioner filters (whether in a central-air system or a window unit) trap a lot of the junk that comes in from the outside—pollen, smoke, smog, and dirt—but they also filter out dust, dust mites, and pet dander that builds up in recirculated indoor air,” explains Emily Main of Rodale’s Organic Life, “Check your system’s filter once a month and either change it or clean it, depending on the type.”
If this rule hasn’t been fully implemented already, allow us to firmly reiterate that cigarette smoking should be outlawed in your home – all year round. Just a couple of weeks ago, we blogged about the fact that the harmful effects of cigarettes can remain in your home long after the smoker is done with his/her nasty habit. If you have smokers in your home, remind them that the summertime is the perfect time of year to smoke outdoors!
When we think of summer, we often think of bugs. And yes, they’re bound to creep into our homes. Generally speaking, bug sprays are considered the answers to pest control. But, it should come as no surprise to you that such products contain harmful chemicals that can negatively impact our health. Main highly recommends that you control bugs with boric acid.
“Rather than reach for that smelly ant spray, which likely contains pyrethrins that have been found to trigger headaches, nausea, and asthma attacks, use a less-toxic product like boric acid, which isn’t harmful unless eaten or directly inhaled,” she advises, “Better still, use ‘integrated pest management’ techniques, such as caulking cracks where bugs enter, keeping trash bins tightly covered, and storing food in the pantry in airtight containers rather than the box or bag in which it was sold.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly recommend our Air Quality Services to help you enjoy the highest indoor air quality possible this summer. They focus on problem areas in your home that may be presenting health hazards to your family and its visitors. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the past couple of years, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has made it no secret that one of the easiest ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home is to keep it clean. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Dust, vacuum, mop and sweep – these simple tasks can do a lot to ward off allergens that significantly impact our respiratory systems. However, not everyone is a neat freak.
In fact, there are those who are the polar opposite of neat freaks. Hoarders are individuals who pack their homes with so many items that there is barely enough space to move around. And, as you can imagine, these items can get piled up in ways that create near-impossible-to-clean messes. Naturally, this only promotes poor indoor air quality in a variety of ways. And, interestingly, we’ve found that not enough is being said about it.
We were surprised to find that when typing in “hoarding” and “indoor air quality” into a Google search, the first three articles to appear belonged to our website! Admittedly, we’re pretty proud of that. But even we must admit that it’s been couple of years since we’ve revisited this topic. Naturally, we felt it was the right time to shed some light on how dangerous hoarding can be. It negatively impacts indoor air quality in a number of ways.
Hoarders tend to toss their belongings into random piles that never seem to stop growing. Everything from clothing to food to electronics can be found in various stacks throughout the home, creating nearly no space for walking, eating or sleeping. What this does is give mould countless opportunities to develop and grow. Mould, you see, requires warmth and moisture.
In addition to the various hidden pockets throughout a hoarder’s home that provide warmth and moisture, mould is also never cleaned when hidden from plain sight. With the presence of mould in the home, it enables mould spores to be released into the air. “Mould is associated with some untoward health effects in humans, including allergies and infections,” says clinical toxicologist, Rose Ann Gould Soloway on Poison.org, “Some health effects attributed to mould may in fact be caused by bacteria, dust mites, etc., found in mould-colonized environments.”
It probably goes without saying that when you hoard, you limit or eliminate the ability to get any ventilation going in your home. Many hoarders have so many items piled on top of each other that they cover windows disallowing any air from the outside to enter. Without allowing air to circulate throughout the home, it enables pollutants to accumulate. Simply put, a hoarder’s home is full of stale and contaminated air.
As outlined by Manitoba Hydro’s handbook on indoor air quality and ventilation: “Ventilation of a home and the exchange of ‘stale’ indoor air with ‘fresh’ outdoor air are essential to keep pollutants from accumulating to levels that pose health and comfort problems.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are committed to helping hoarders reverse the effects of their habits on the air they breathe in their homes. We know that the compulsion to hoard is a complicated one. But it’s important that the quality of air in one’s home isn’t causing any further complications. If you have an issue with hoarding or know a loved one who hoards, you’ll want to contact a professional for help.
You’ll also want to learn more about our Air Quality Services so that we can accurately assess the indoor air quality of your home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
With the spring now in full swing, many Canadians are undergoing their annual spring cleaning routines. And while the act of cleaning our homes is clearly something we all should do on a regular basis, there is a special feeling of “out with the old” that comes with the cleaning that is done at this time of year.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we recommend you take extra measures to clean your home in ways that will eliminate air pollutants. Readers of our blog are well aware of the major culprits of poor indoor air quality.
Allow us to offer you a few important reminders of how to keep air pollutants out of your home. Here are four:
There are a variety of allergens that exist in our carpets and on our furniture. For those of you with pets, pet dander is certainly a concern. Regular vacuuming will help to you eliminate the fur, dead skin cells and dander left by your pets. Of course, dust is also a problem you’ll want to regularly eliminate. What may appear harmless is actually an indication of the presence of dust mites – microscopic insects that thrive in warm, humid environments and are known for triggering asthma attacks.
How do you minimize dust mites? “First, try to keep the humidity inside your home to less than 50 percent,” advises Reynard Loki on Alternet.org, “Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can help. Protect your bed by covering it with allergen-resistant covers. Make sure you wash your sheets and blankets regularly in hot water…And don’t give mites a place to hide and breed: keep your home as dust-, dander- and clutter-free as possible. Regular vacuuming is a must.”
Air fresheners, laundry detergent, hand soap, perfumes – they all smell really nice, don’t they? The sad fact is that those smells are actually harmful to our health. Synthetic fragrances represent the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are known for causing skin irritation and respiratory problems. If you’re looking to keep your home smelling sweet without imposing health risks on its inhabitants, try a few natural methods.
On Withings.com, Angela Chieh lists a number of great ideas. “Arrange slices of lemon on a plate to delicately perfume the air in a room,” she suggests, “Use baking soda in a small bowl to eliminate odours (it works particularly well in fridges). Choose fragrance-free products, or products with scents of natural origin for your laundry and cleaning needs. Stop using aerosol spray products that create a mist of liquid particles (hair sprays, air fresheners…).”
When you have visitors to your home who are prone to lighting up, insist that they do so outside. In fact, you’d be doing yourself a big favour if you asked them not to smoke at all during their visits. Both secondhand smoke (exhaled from smokers) and thirdhand smoke (embedded in the clothes and hair of smokers) can be deadly. If one of the inhabitants of your home is a smoker, enforce the same strict rule.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds of toxins, about 70 of which can cause cancer,” Loki reminds us, “Secondhand smoke is very harmful to children, who can experience ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia and a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome.”
Want to guarantee that the indoor air quality of your home is excellent? Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. to learn more about our Air Quality Services! We offer solutions to the health hazards that may be present in your living environment. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.