We could all breathe a lot easier if we took certain steps to ensure the air in our homes was free of pollutants. However, there are numerous simple actions that many of us neglect to take each day. Take opening the windows, for example. Far too many Canadians keep them shut throughout the summer, opting to blast their air conditioners instead. In the winter, those same windows stay shut in order to keep the cold out. A bit ironic, isn’t it?
“Even in the cold months, open windows from time to time to allow fresh air to move into the house,” advises Harvard Health Publishing, “Also, move potential air contaminants out by using fans in the kitchen to remove cooking fumes.”
Cracking the windows, even for short portions of the day, helps the stale air inside your home to circulate with the fresher air from outside. Opening the windows – yes, even in the winter time – can do a lot to improve your home’s indoor air quality. But it’s not the only easy way to do so!
Simple enough advice, isn’t it? It’s important to remember that regular dusting, mopping and vacuuming won’t just make your home look and smell pleasant, it will also help you breathe better. Harvard Health Publishing highlights the fact that vacuuming carpets and area rugs with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter is needed as least once or twice a week. Removing carpet altogether, however, can significantly reduce the number of allergens in your home.
They also advise that you regularly clean bedding, drapes and other items that tend to attract allergens, especially if you have pets. “The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends washing in water that is at least 130° F,” informs the Harvard Health Publishing website, “Also consider using dust mite–proof covers on pillows, as well as mattresses and box springs, whenever possible.”
Three years ago, we posted a blog entitled “Is Being Canadian Good For Your Indoor Air Quality?” In the blog, we discussed the apparently typical Canadian practice of always removing footwear at the front door of the home. Most of us consider it a no-brainer to not wear your shoes or boots in the house. However, many of our American counterparts tend to consider footwear a part of the in-house wardrobe.
Here’s the bottom line: take off your shoes if you want to breathe clean air! “Who knows what’s on the bottom of your shoes, so be sure everyone removes shoes when coming (in) the home,” insists Rachel Brougham on FamilyHandyman.com, “Use a boot tray or shoe rack to collect dirt, pesticides and other pollutants from making their way into your home.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you improve your home’s indoor air quality. We’d be happy to provide a professional inspection of the air in 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.
We hate to have to remind you, but the summertime will soon be coming to a close. With the start of school just around the corner, we only have a few days left of what we officially refer to as “summer vacation”. And while the fall season doesn’t officially get underway until September 22nd, we all know that the temperatures are about to cool off.
With the approaching of each new season, it’s always a good idea to have somewhat of a fresh start. Spring isn’t the only time of year when a cleaning is necessary! We’d argue that fall cleaning is an equally important annual event.
Here are three important fall cleaning tips:
Most people wash their bed sheets on a weekly basis. This, of course, is a wise idea as it helps to keep dust mites at bay. Making sure to regularly change the sheets and washing them in hot water is a great way to cleanse your bedding of the dead skin, sweat and hair left behind when you sleep. In addition, it rids you of the dust mites that love to eat that dead skin and leave their respiratory system-affecting waste behind.
With that said, it’s important to also wash your comforters and heavy blankets. As Sara Elliot advises on HowStuffWorks.com, washing all of your bedding is an important fall cleaning ritual. “Wash all bedding in preparation for cooler temperatures and use very hot water, 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius) or higher to kill dust mites and bacteria,” she instructs, “Over the winter season, be sure to wash bedding weekly.”
This is a tip that cannot be stressed enough. Cleaning your smoke detectors will help to ensure that they are perfectly operational. Protecting your family from a potential fire is obviously a life-saving action.
“You already know to put fresh batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors,” writes Christina Peterson on GoodHousekeeping.com, “But you also need to clean your units, since dust that accumulates can cause them to underperform. Using your vacuum cleaner’s soft brush attachment, clean in and around the dectectors’ openings. If any are more than 10 years old, replace them.”
The many pet owners across Canada put themselves in somewhat tougher positions to keep their homes clean. Between all of the pet dander, fur, saliva and tracked-in dirt, pets are known for keeping homes messy. Taking your pet to a groomer or giving it a good scrub yourself is an important way of maintaining a clean home and improving its overall air quality.
Pets “can be a handful, particularly if someone in the family has allergies,” says Elliot, “Whenever possible, bathe cats and dogs regularly to keep dander to a minimum. A weekly bath may seem unrealistic, but even a monthly wet or dry bath is better than nothing. If you teach them young, you may be able to train pets to tolerate the vacuum cleaner for a weekly vacuuming.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients always enjoy the best indoor air quality possible. We’d be happy to provide a professional inspection of the air in your home. For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
We’d all love it if our homes smelled fresh 100 percent of the time. But we know that’s not entirely possible. Cleaning, of course, is mandatory. We can’t expect the dirt, dust, pet dander, and hair in our homes to sweep themselves away. And we certainly can’t expect the spills to wipe themselves up.
Unfortunately, many of us tend to create more problems than we are fixing during our cleaning routines. And that’s because of the prevalence of chemical-based cleaners that we so easily find in the stores. Most of them contain volatile organic compounds, which are also known as VOCs, for short. And here is their short story: they’re bad for your health!
As reported by Ian Sample on TheGuardian.com, “Household cleaners, paints and perfumes have become substantial sources of urban air pollution as strict controls on vehicles have reduced road traffic emissions, scientists say. Researchers in the US looked at levels of synthetic ‘volatile organic compounds’, or VOCs, in roadside air in Los Angeles and found that as much came from industrial and household products refined from petroleum as from vehicle exhaust pipes.”
As the Government of Canada explains on Canada.ca, short-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs can cause breathing problems as well as irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Exposure to VOCs is also known to cause headaches.
“Some people may be more sensitive, such as people with asthma,” the site elaborates, “Most people are not affected by short-term exposure to the low levels of VOCs typically found in homes. For long-term exposure to low levels of VOCs, research is ongoing to better understand any health effects from these exposures. Long-term exposure to high levels of some VOCs, however, may result in health effects.”
Firstly, it’s important to point out that ventilation is a top way to rid your household of pollutants. Keeping the windows open will help for the stale and stagnant air from inside to circulate with the fresher air from outside. On NDTV.com, Aashna Ahuja lists ventilation as a top way to purify the air in your home. She also lists a number of natural and safe-to-use air purifiers. They include beeswax candles, salt lamps, activated charcoal, essential oils and, as you may have expected, houseplants.
“It’s the best way to counter the impact of pollution indoors, particularly if you have a family member with some respiratory illness,” Ahuja informs, “It’s suggested that you have at least one plant per 100 square feet of home for efficient air cleaning to be accomplished. The best plants to filter toxins from the air are Peace Lily which prefers moderate sunlight, Lady Palm or Broadleaf Lady Palm which is adaptable but prefers bright, indirect light.”
As you’re likely aware, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team takes the issue of indoor air quality very seriously. We’d be happy to provide a professional inspection of the air in your home. 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.
Although most Canadians don’t want to admit it, the summertime is slowly, but surely winding down. We’re smack dab in the middle of August, giving us approximately three weeks before the start of a brand new school season. It won’t be long after that when the temperatures drop and the leaves on the trees begin to change colour. Sorry to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, but autumn is on the way!
During the much beloved summertime, we tend to keep our windows open. That is, of course, unless you’re the type of person who prefers air conditioning. We’ve said this numerous times before, but it always deserves repeating that windows should be cracked open on a regular basis in order to allow the stagnant air from inside to circulate with the fresher air from outside. That’s just one way to improve your home’s indoor air quality.
When autumn begins, there’s no reason to stop your window opening routine. Yes, the outdoor air will be chillier, but it’s important to allow proper ventilation in your home to maximize the freshness of the air. As Jeffrey C. May points out on AshiReporter.org, most people spend more time indoors and keep their windows shut when the weather is cooler. It’s a recipe for stale and potentially harmful air in the home.
“In the heating season, up to a third or more of the air in a house comes up from a basement or crawl space — even more, if there’s a basement return present,” informs May, “Basements – both finished and unfinished — that have not been adequately dehumidified in the humid season can be full of non-visible mould growth. “
We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. We’d advocate having fall cleaning become just as popular a practice. On GetCold.net, regular cleaning is recommended as one of the top ways to improve a home’s indoor air quality during the fall. The site provides a number of housecleaning tips including the use of a damp cloth to wipe away dust from ceiling fans, air registers and kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
“You should also look inside your ductwork,” the site advises, “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. Ask guests to take their shoes off so they don’t track dust or dirt into your home and vacuum at least twice per week.”
If you plan on turning up the heat this fall – as most Canadians will – it’s important that you’re mindful of the dryness of the air in your home. GetCold.net notes that dry air is known to cause nosebleeds, dry eyes and irritated sinuses, especially for people who have respiratory issues. “Low humidity can also cause dry skin, annoying static shocks, and cracked, shrinking boards in wood floors,” informs the site, “A humidifier adds water vapour to the air inside your home to prevent these problems.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you enjoy high indoor air quality this fall. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
At this point, it would be borderline nonsensical to inform you that cigarette smoking causes disastrous health effects. If you’re a cigarette smoker, you are undoubtedly aware of the many health hazards you present yourself each and every time you light up. However, what you may not totally be conscious of is just how bad your habit is for the health of everyone who enters your home.
Secondhand smoke is really no different than the firsthand smoke you inhale from your cigarettes. As Health24.com makes clear, “exposure to second hand smoke is never safe as it is exactly the same smoke inhaled by smokers, containing the same harmful chemicals. There are as many as 7,000 chemicals in second hand smoke and 70 of these may lead to lung cancer. Apart from cancer second hand smoke is also associated with stroke and heart disease.”
Needless to say, if you smoke inside your home, you are putting all of its inhabitants at risk. And don’t assume that just because they may not be in the same room as you, the effects of your cigarette smoking habit are minimized. Obviously, smoke travels. However, smoke also attaches itself and seeps into the various elements of your home. We’re talking about the furniture, the walls, the carpets – you name it!
“Third hand smoke can be problematic too,” Health24.com explains, “This refers to the harmful chemicals that are absorbed by upholstery and curtains and tend to linger for a long time.” On TheConversation.com, Jacqueline Hamilton reveals that a 2017 study found that mice exposed to household fabrics contaminated with thirdhand tobacco smoke showed health defects within a month.
“After six months, the mice showed evidence of liver damage and insulin resistance, symptoms which usually precede the development of type 2 diabetes,” she details, going on to mention that approximately 600,000 people die from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke on a yearly basis.
It may not be necessary, but allow us to state the obvious. When you quit smoking, it significantly improves your overall health. However, we must also reiterate that you are doing a huge favour for everyone in your family as well. The importance of butting out cannot be understated. This is especially true if you are a new parent. The Government of Alberta highlights just how necessary it is to keep babies away from thirdhand smoke.
“Children are more sensitive to being exposed to third-hand smoke because they breathe near, crawl on, play on, touch, and even taste (because they often put their hands in their mouths) surfaces contaminated with tobacco residue,” they note on MyHealth.Alberta.ca, “Experts on third-hand smoke recommend 100% smoke-free homes and vehicles. They also suggest that replacing furniture, carpets, drapes, etc., can greatly reduce exposure to third-hand smoke residue.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you make the air quality in your home the purest it can be! 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.
Throughout the history of the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog, we have contributed a large number of tips for improving indoor air quality. After all, our Air Quality Services are among our specialties. Inspecting homes and office buildings for airborne health hazards is all part of our commitment to making Canadians healthier.
As mentioned, there are numerous ways to improve the quality of air in your homes and places of work. But there is one, in particular, that is cost-conscious, incredibly effective and entirely effortless to perform on a daily basis: having houseplants. There are many types of plants that are known for cleansing the air of its pollutants and offering us cleaner, breathable oxygen-enriched air in their place.
“One famous NASA experiment, published in 1989, found that indoor plants can scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene,” informs Markham Heid on Time.com, “(Those NASA researchers were looking for ways to effectively detoxify the air of space station environments.) Later research has found that soil microorganisms in potted plants also play a part in cleaning indoor air.”
It should be noted that plants have natural ways of cleaning air that man-made air purifiers cannot duplicate. Plants are known for producing cleaner air within indoor spaces that mimic the fresh air from outside. This isn’t too surprising considering that houseplants effectively bring some of the outdoors inside. MatterOfTrust.org explains further.
“Plants can absorb pollutants while providing oxygen,” confirms the website, “Ventilation systems can imitate this effect by providing a constant supply of fresh air and exhausting indoor air, but strictly speaking the air in the building is not purified. Only plants are capable of restoring the air already inside a building to the state in which it is found in nature.”
The site goes on to reiterate a point we made earlier. After a plant is purchased, it costs next to nothing to maintain. All plants need in order to live are soil, water, sunlight and cleaning. Man-made filters, on the other hand, are not only costly to purchase, but they require regular cleaning, maintenance and repair.
MatterOfTrust.org lists a number of air purifying houseplants but highlights the Chrysanthemum, Dracaena, Peace Lily, Flamingo Lily and Snake Plant. The website also cites a 2008 study published by the Government of India that focused on the Areca Palm, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue and Money Plant as natural air purifying sources.
A total of 1,200 plants of the three species were planted and the findings included 34 percent less respiratory ailments, 52 percent less eye irritations and 24 percent less headaches. Among the particular respiratory ailments that were decreased, MatterOfTrust.org details, lung impairments were reduced by 12 percent and asthma by percent.
As we stated earlier, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. team remains committed to helping you improve your home’s indoor air quality. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Simply give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at email@example.com.
Some people classify themselves as “neat freaks”. It’s important to them that they have all of their personal possessions kept in neat, organized fashions, their homes are constantly dusted and vacuumed and that their kitchens and bathrooms are kept immaculate. There’s a lot that goes into being a neat freak. Those of us who really have it bad can’t stand the sight of a speck of dust!
However, an argument can be made that those of us who “have it bad” actually have it pretty good. Keeping a neat and tidy home isn’t just pleasant on the eyes, but it’s good for your health as well. It probably goes without saying that the more dust and dirt you eliminate from your home, the lesser your chances are of contracting some sort of bacterial infection. But the benefits of cleanliness extend beyond well that.
Dust, mould and pet dander – these are common household irritants for those who have asthma and allergies. Anyone with respiratory issues knows just how dangerous these seemingly harmless examples of a dirty home can be. On ApartmentTherapy.com, Cambria Bold explains that asthma and allergy triggers are one of three categories of indoor pollutants that have the potential to cause serious health problems.
“Common household triggers include mould, dust mites, pollen, secondhand smoke, and pet dander,” she writes, “At any given time a home may have mould growing on a shower curtain, dust mites in soft textiles like pillows, blankets or stuffed animals, and cat and dog hair on the floor and upholstery.”
How exactly can you make a home dirtier by cleaning it? Well, it all depends on what you’re using to clean. Many household cleaning products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Chemical based cleaners only add further irritants to the air, making it difficult for those with asthma and allergies to breathe. A true cleaning of your home involves natural cleansers without all of the harsh chemicals.
As Bold points out, VOCs are widely found in household products, including paints and varnishes, pesticides, craft materials like glues, adhesives and permanent markers, air fresheners and other synthetic fragrances and cleaning and disinfecting supplies. “A few common VOCs are: Acetone, Benzene, Ethylene glycol, Formaldehyde, Methylene chloride, and Perchloroethylene,” she reveals.
Sometimes, a “dirty” home isn’t visibly dirty at all. The elements contained within it may be polluting the air without anyone even knowing about it. As Bold highlights, homes may contain combustion pollutants such as “gases or particles that come from burning materials, including space heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, water heaters, dryers, and fireplaces that are either improperly vented or not vented at all.”
As we always point out, your home’s indoor air quality is extremely important to your overall health. And the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to ensure that you’re breathing the best air possible! 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.
Over the past few years, The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Blog has dedicated many of its posts to the ever-important topic of indoor air quality. In our opinion, it is something that deserves more attention in the mainstream media. Is there anything more important to our health than our ability to breathe clean air? Obviously, we can’t survive without breathing. This is why it’s imperative that we all take measures to improve the quality of the air we breathe.
With that said, it’s still important to acknowledge the fact that not everyone breathes easy. Many of our blogs have been dedicated to asthmatics and sufferers of other allergies that impact the respiratory system. For them, important steps must be taken to ensure that they are giving themselves the best opportunities to enjoy optimum health. Avoiding cigarette smoke at all costs is one of the most obvious pieces of advice.
It may sound like a silly question, but it’s an important one to ask, nonetheless. The majority of us take breathing for granted. For the most part, it’s something we don’t even think about. Our lungs take care of the job for us day in and day out. We breathe whether we’re asleep or awake, so there’s no real thought that needs to go into breathing. Or is there? Robert Ronald of Reader’s Digest highly encourages people to change their breathing habits.
“Breathe from your abdomen for at least 5 minutes every day,” he recommends, “This kind of breathing, called diaphragmatic breathing, involves training and strengthening your diaphragm so that it requires less effort to take in each breath. To do it, inhale deeply through your nose, filling your lungs from the bottom up. If you’re doing it right, your stomach will push out. Exhale and repeat.”
Many health specialists agree that we shouldn’t take breathing for granted. On EverydayHealth.com, Dr. Brian W. Carlin, a pulmonologist in Pittsburgh and chair of the National Lung Health Education Program, recommends a pursed-lip breathing technique. He advises that you practice breathing out with your lips closed. He also suggests a diaphragmatic breathing technique which involves controlling your breaths in by allowing your diaphragm to move downward and your stomach outward.
Ronald agrees, submitting his method of helping your chest to expand and boost your lung capacity. “Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor,” he instructs, “Place your hands behind your head and bring your elbows together so they’re nearly touching. As you inhale, let your elbows drop to the sides slowly so your arms are flat on the floor when your lungs are full. As you exhale, raise your elbows again.”
As mentioned, the quality of the air inside your home should not be underestimated. It’s important to ensure that it is as free of pollutants as possible. Of course, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is here to help you with that! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
The time has finally come! Tomorrow, we get to celebrate the official start of summer! It’s a great time of year for Canadians as most of us spend a good portion of our days complaining about cold weather. During the summertime, however, Canucks enjoy being outside. But that doesn’t mean that an attention to the indoor air quality of our homes should be taken away. In fact, it’s vital to increase our commitment to improving the air in our homes.
High humidity usually creates condensation on the cool surfaces of our home. When this takes place, it’s not uncommon to see pools of water in places where they usually don’t occur. Left alone, these little pools of water can generate the growth of mould which is certainly hazardous to our health.
“How do you know when ozone is high?” asks the Reliance Home Comfort website, “Environment Canada has a real-time map of the ozone levels across Canada on any given day. They also provide a UV Index Forecast for each major Canadian city so you can get an idea of what the levels will be tomorrow or the day after. If it’s raining or it feels very humid outside, those are other times to keep your windows closed.”
Naturally, the summer also produces warmer temperatures. And, as a result, many of us tend to crank up the air conditioning. While this may help to cool things down inside the home, it also stands to spread around the dust particles and other debris that may have been accumulating throughout the year’s colder months. It’s vital that before you start using the A/C you clean its filters.
“Air-conditioning systems are always working to give your home that perfect temperature all year round,” acknowledges Petro.com, “But while they’re cycling through all that air, they’re filtering out some of those common air pollutants. Eventually, their air filters fill up and stop doing their job. Not only does that cause trouble for your indoor air quality, it also wears down your AC system, which can lead to costly repairs down the road.”
This is an important question to answer when considering the quality of the air inside of it. As we’ve pointed out in numerous blogs before, homes that were built prior to the 1990s often contain asbestos materials for the purpose of insulation. Any disturbance of these materials can release asbestos fibres in the air presenting a major health hazard.
Canadian Living also reminds us that homes built before 1960 were often painted with lead paint, which is found in household dust. “Remove a paint chip to have it tested,” insists their website, “If you have lead, keep your home dust-free to protect against lead poisoning and hire an experienced contractor to sand or remove wall and ceiling materials contaminated with lead.”
It’s no secret that at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of indoor air quality very seriously. We’d recommend a professional inspection of the air in your home this summer. 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.
Quit smoking. These are two words that are uttered on a regular basis by people all over Canada. They serve as instructions to friends and family members who are still trying to drop their cigarette smoking habits. These days, it absolutely goes without saying that smoking is bad for you. That’s old news. Heart disease and various cancers are known to be the result of habitual cigarette smoking. And still, it’s hard for many smokers to quit.
Here’s hoping the following information will serve as inspiration to all smokers out there. Did you know that you immediately begin reaping health benefits once you stop smoking? On the Government of Canada website, it is revealed that 20 minutes after smoking your last cigarette, your blood pressure will drop to a level similar to what it was before that last cigarette. Eight hours later, the carbon monoxide in your blood drops to a normal level. And, only 24 hours later, you will have already lowered your risk of having a heart attack.
Canada.ca goes on to list the health benefits that quitters experience over the course of the next 15 years of their lives. Within a year, a former smoker will have cut his/her risk of coronary heart disease to half that of a current cigarette smoker. Within five years, the risk of stroke is the same as a non-smoker and within fifteen years, the risk of coronary heart disease is similar to a non-smoker.
The Canadian Cancer Society acknowledges that those who quit smoking will enjoy benefits that extend beyond health. Smoking is expensive, they point out on their website. With money no longer being spent on cigarettes, a former smoker puts him/herself in a much better financial position. The costs of those packs add up! In addition, the Canadian Cancer Society highlights how much easier life can be when cigarette smoking is no longer an issue.
“Being a smoker is hard work,” they say on their site, “With so many restrictions on smoking in public places, you have to plan ahead and sneak away to have a cigarette. Not being able to have a cigarette when you want one can make you irritable, taking the fun out of everyday events. And sneaking out of social and family activities can put a strain on relationships. You’ll be surprised how freeing it is to be smoke-free!”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we look at the issue of secondhand smoke as a huge deal. Quite obviously, cigarette smokers don’t just bring harm to themselves but they endanger the health of everyone around them. Secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer. Cigarette smoking is unquestionably one of the worst things a person can do for the air quality around him/her.
The Canadian Cancer Society points out that your family and friends will also benefit when you kick the habit. “If your loved ones worry about your health because you smoke, they’ll be happy when you quit,” they write, “You’ll be helping them be healthier too – by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.”
Be sure to make the air quality in your home the best it can be! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.