Congratulations Canada! We’re almost there. In exactly two weeks, the spring season will officially be upon us. And while it’s true that winter-like weather conditions may persist well into April, there’s no question that we’re a lot closer to experiencing a return to warmer days. When the spring finally arrives, expect there to be a lot more people venturing outdoors. But what will that mean for the air inside our homes?
According to 1Source Safety and Health, Inc., people with allergies quite often have their symptoms triggered when the spring arrives. In their report entitled “Impact of Outdoor Seasonal Changes on Indoor Air Quality”, they note that outdoor contaminants are at their lowest levels during the winter. That’s because the frozen snow-covered ground combined with relatively low humidity levels tend to keep mould spores and other air pollutants at bay.
However, “dust, mould, temperature and humidity begin to increase during the spring months (March, April, and May),” reads the report, “ As pollen, mould and dust concentrations increase, so do the associated symptoms. Interestingly, these symptoms, which also occur outside of the workplace, carry over into an employee’s work shift and are often incorrectly associated with exposure within the workplace.”
Chances are, the windows of your home are bound to be open a lot more often during the spring than they were in the winter. With the warmer weather enabling pollen and dust to better enter our air space, it’s inevitable that some of it will enter our homes. Cincinnati’s Hader Solutions warns that it’s best to keep windows shut or not open too wide when there is a pollen alert. Your local weather station should be able to inform you if one is in effect.
As well, their website details how winter is the season of dust accumulation in the home, while spring enables it all to become airborne. “Because of improper ventilation during the colder months, dust can settle into vents, registers, and eventually ductwork, making it close to impossible to rid your home of these irritating pollutants,” says Hader Solutions.
What’s one of the biggest differences between winter and spring? Snowfall! All of the snow that winter brings ends up melting during the spring. And melted snow on your rooftop can lead to water leaking into your home. As you’re likely aware, water is the main culprit in the development of mould. It’s important to prevent any leak sources in your home.
“Prevent water from entering your home by making sure there are no cracks or gaps on your roof or foundation where water could easily enter,” Hader Solutions advises, “Standing water in your home can cause mould, which can be detrimental to indoor air quality. If you suspect any mould in your home, call an expert immediately to remove it.”
The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would love to help you ensure that your home enjoys the best possible indoor air quality this spring. 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.
Mould is gross. For most people, the very sight of mould is an indication of a dirty, unkempt location. However, mould is more than just unsightly. It’s potentially hazardous to your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, moulds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation.”
Mould forms when heat and moisture are present. This is why mould so often rears its ugly head in the bathroom. Although the kitchen can give the bathroom a run for its money, there is no room in the house where heat and moisture appear more often. Every one of your hot showers provides an opportunity for mould to form. So, the first step to doing away with mould is to ventilate the bathroom as best as possible.
Make it a habit to flick on the fan every time you’re in the bathroom. Not only does it do its part in ridding the room of foul odours, it also helps with ventilation. When all of that hot steam emanating from your shower is sucked up into the fan, it reduces the possibility of mould forming in your tiles and on other surfaces. On HouseLogic.com, Stacy Freed explains that, in addition to running your exhaust fan, you should clean your shower walls after taking a shower.
“After a shower, use a towel or squeegee to wipe down shower walls,” she advises, “Open the shower curtain to let it dry. Mop any water spills on the floor and counters. Avoid piling in too many shampoo and body wash bottles. They’re a perfect place for moisture and mould spores to hide.”
If mould does happen to appear in your bathroom, utilizing natural cleaning methods is your best bet. Vinegar, for example, is not only a health-conscious choice, but it is also known for being one of mould’s arch enemies. According to Signature Maids, the non-toxic agent has been found to kill 82 percent of mould species.
“Pour mild white vinegar into a spray bottle, do not dilute with water,” instructs their website, “Vinegar’s acidic qualities make it quite deadly to mould, that’s why you don’t want to water it down. Spray affected surface areas with straight vinegar solution and then wait one hour. If your bathroom has windows, open them up and let it air out during this time. After an hour passes, use hot water and a clean towel to wipe the area.”
Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Alternaria are among them. All types of mould can create health concerns. Mould can also cause structure hazards throughout a home, office or building. Moisture sources including building envelop failures, leakage issues or occupant-based moisture problems may contribute to mould development within a building.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are intent on helping Albertans to live mould-free! We offer professional home inspections courtesy of our Mould Assessment Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Holidays!
Here we are, now two weeks away from Halloween! We must admit that while we are fans of the annual celebration of all things spooky, the occasion reminds us of how important it is to improve the indoor air quality of our homes. That may sound strange, but just consider how many times the average home is opened up to trick or treaters each Halloween night. This can actually be a good thing considering the benefits of letting fresh air in the home.
The team at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. wishes to remind you that there are some important ways to treat your home all year round. Just ahead of Halloween, we thought we’d revisit the concept of improving the indoor air quality of your home.
Here are four ways to treat your home to better indoor air quality:
As much as we have heralded the act of cracking open the windows to let fresh air in and stagnant air out, we realize that they can’t stay open all the time – nor should they. On especially cold days, it’s important to stay warm. That’s why it’s vital that you clean your air ducts. Pollutants can get trapped in your air ducts, causing the air you breathe to remain contaminated.
“Without good ventilation, the air inside your home becomes stale and contaminated with airborne particles,” explains Roger Grochmal on AtlasCare.ca, “Homeowners should schedule a professional air duct cleaning at least once every three years to keep the ventilation system clear and healthy.”
It probably goes without saying that the bathroom is a room that requires a good deal of your cleaning attention. Naturally, it’s a room where there is a lot of moisture. This makes it especially susceptible to mould development. And as Sarah D. Young explains on ConsumerAffairs.com, mould and moisture can wreak havoc on indoor air quality.
“To get rid of mildew buildup, give your showers and toilets a good scrub,” she instructs, “Additionally, be sure to fix leaky sinks and faucets and keep bathrooms properly ventilated.”
Think of houseplants as Halloween candy for your home. The more plants you place in your home, the happier it will be. Unlike Halloween candy, however, plants are healthy choices. Many of them are well-known for removing contaminants from the air. As Grochmal explains, studies have confirmed this.
“While plants alone cannot clean your air, some species are surprisingly good at absorbing and neutralizing certain volatile organic compounds,” he writes, “NASA made this discovery back in 1989 while looking for ways to clean the air inside space stations — and it works here on Earth, too!”
If only there were such thing as a “neat freak” costume that people could wear for Halloween. We suppose it would include gloves, an apron, mops and a bucket. Nevertheless, you certainly don’t have to wait for Halloween to put on such attire and give your home a good cleaning! This is a routine you should participate in no less than once a week.
“Keep dust mites in-check by vacuuming carpets and washing hard floors on a weekly basis,” advises Grochmal, “Using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter will throw fewer dust mites back into the room as you clean.”
Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. to learn more about how we can better your home’s indoor air quality. 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 fall season is well underway. But, here in Calgary, winter weather conditions are already upon us. With heavy snowfall and below freezing temperatures already here, the month of October is already presenting conditions that will force us all to bundle up when we’re outside and turn up the heat when we’re inside.
The turning up of the heat may be great for undoing the chill in our bones that the weather provides us. But it also makes our homes susceptible to increased moisture. Increased moisture, as you’re likely aware, can be a problem as it leads to the development of mould.
The heat in our homes can often be humid. This is especially true in homes that include various portable heaters without any particular modes of ventilation. As Allison Bailes explains on EnergyVanguard.com, condensation appears when surfaces with low temperatures (your windows, for example) are met with warm, humid air (which is found in your home when the heat is turned up).
“In fall, a house in a humid climate is coming off a summer full of humidity,” Bailes elaborates, “Even with air conditioning, moisture gets into the house and many of the sorptive materials in the house will suck up a lot of water. In fall, as cooler, drier air surrounds the outside of the house and gets inside, those materials start giving up their moisture load.”
Bailes suggests two methods in particular: Raise the window temperature and reduce the humidity of the air inside the house. She explains that humid air has moisture in it and has a “dew point”. This is the point at which the air meets a surface that is cool enough for it to release liquid. This is what causes condensation on a cold window during the fall.
“Installing more efficient windows or storm windows helps by keeping the temperature of your windows closer to the indoor temperature, making it more likely that they’re above the dew point,” she informs, “Keeping your humidity lower through the summer and fall will help also by lowering the dew point of the air. Making sure you don’t have an oversized air conditioner will help with that.”
Houseplants provide a natural and healthy resource. As DoItYourself.com explains, different plants offer year-round humidity control for homes. Among the most noteworthy of plants is the small cactus. The site notes that it is great at finding moisture in the ground or through the air to help keep humidity levels comfortable.
DoItYourself.com also heralds the act of cracking open your windows. “In the spring and in the fall, you can regulate your home humidity level by simply opening the windows a few inches,” says the site, “If you open windows that are adjacent to each other, you will have a cross breeze. This breeze not only cools off your home and brings in fresh air, but it also keeps the humidity at an acceptable level.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we proudly offer Moisture Monitoring Services that efficiently evaluate your property’s moisture sources. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s some advice we’ve provided before: Crack open your windows when it’s cold outside! Even though we’ve offered this piece of advice in the past, it’s worth repeating considering that much colder days are ahead. At first glance, the tip may seem like a strange one. Isn’t the whole point of keeping the windows shut when it’s cold outside to prevent it from being cold inside the home? Yes, of course. But keeping the windows shut also prevents pollutants from escaping your living space.
As Mike Holmes explains in a special to National Post, there are numerous toxins inside your home. They build up over time and require open windows in order to escape. He lists volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mould spores, dust, smoke, radon, viruses and bacteria as some of the most prevalent pollutants in the home.
“Breathing these in over an extended period of time isn’t good for your health,” asserts Holmes, “It can make you feel sick, tired and drowsy, it can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea, and can irritate your eyes, nose and throat. It can even lead to building-related illness, or BRI. Symptoms of BRI include fevers, coughing, muscle aches and tightness in your chest.”
Don’t assume that you need to freeze yourself in order to freshen up the air in your home. Naturally, you’ll be inclined to keep your home as warm as possible during the coldest days of the year. No one is recommending that you slide your windows open during a blizzard. However, it needs to be reiterated that keeping windows shut 24/7 isn’t a healthy practice.
“15 to 20 minutes is enough to make a difference,” informs Holmes, “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.”
MindBodyGreen.com agrees that throwing open a window is the simplest way to better indoor air quality during the colder months of the year. “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,” the site advises, “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 also points out that keeping windows shut causes condensation inside the house. Condensation occurs when warm air hits cool surfaces. The problem with condensation in the home is that it appears as small droplets of water and this moisture is known for causing mould development. Mould spores in the air create major irritants for our respiratory systems.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of indoor air quality very seriously. To ensure the healthy status of your home, we’d be happy to provide a professional inspection of its air. For more information about our Air Quality Services, Moisture Monitoring Services or Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
There are only a couple of days left in summer. But, here in Alberta, it appears as if the summer is already long gone. Unfortunately, the colder temperatures always seem to arrive early in our neck of the woods. And, as a result, we are forced to don winter clothing before the fall season even begins. In addition, Albertans have to take early precautions to prevent moisture build-up and the potential for mould growth in our homes.
If you’re like most Albertans, you likely have already cranked up the heat in your home. And who can blame you? Saying that “it’s been a little chilly as of late” is an understatement! The problem with heating our homes is that condensation can occur when the warm air inside your home makes contact with cold surfaces such as your windows.
“If you live in a climate where you need to heat your home frequently, mould can start growing in the winter on your home’s inside walls, especially on the surfaces closest to the outside of your home,” explains RestorationMasterFinder.com, “Moisture that travels through the air from your basement, bathrooms, or kitchen may condense when it comes in contact with a cold wall. One thing you can do to prevent mould growth is make sure your walls are well-insulated.”
In addition to having well-insulated walls, it’s important to manage the humidity levels inside your home. The website recommends that you keep your indoor humidity level below 40 percent. You’ll also want to limit the amount of humidity caused by any of your humidifiers.
Humidity is most commonly found in our kitchens and bathrooms. There is a reason that both rooms are equipped with exhaust fans. The heat produced by cooking and the steam produced by hot showers often create easily visible condensation. Always turning the exhaust fans on when either room is in use is an important mould prevention technique.
“In the bathroom and kitchen, use exhaust fans or open windows when producing moisture, such as taking a hot shower,” advises RestorationMasterFinder.com, “Exhaust fans should be vented to the outdoors and not to an attic or crawl space.”
Letting the fresh air from outside circulate with the stale air from inside is an important way to purify your home’s indoor air quality. But the ventilation technique will also help to lower humidity levels in the home, lowering your chances of having mould develop throughout.
“Ventilation is key for proper mould prevention,” writes John Ward on BustMold.com, “Each morning when you get up, open all the windows in your bedroom and leave them open for at least five minutes. Not only will that decrease the level of humidity, but it will ensure that fresh air replaces the stale ‘night air’.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re pretty keen on helping Albertans to improve the indoor air quality of their homes. And we’d be happy to provide a professional inspection of the air in your home! For information about our Moisture Monitoring Services or our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a funny little stereotype that seems to be unavoidable for bathroom exhaust fans. “Make sure you turn on the fan!” is a comment often hurled at an individual who plans on using a bathroom. The idea, most often, is that the exhaust fan will help to rid the bathroom of the unpleasant odours left behind by its last user.
“One of the largest reasons for having an exhaust fan is for odour control,” confirms Stewart Unsdorfer of Ohio-based Central Heating & Air Conditioning, “If an unpleasant odour occurs in the bathroom, it can easily be drawn out with the help of an exhaust fan. As a result, the ventilation system will enable you to keep your bathroom well maintained, while offering a clean atmosphere for the next person who enters.”
It is true that exhaust fans do help for odours, air pollutants and smoke to be removed from bathroom environments. But it’s important to note that they have an arguably more importance purpose. And that is to minimize moisture as best as possible. Believe it or not, it’s wise to turn on your bathroom’s exhaust fan anytime you’re using the bathroom.
In fact, we’d argue that the main purpose for having an exhaust fan is to remove moisture and lower the humidity in a bathroom. Quite obviously, moisture and humidity levels significantly increase during hot showers. And, let’s be honest, which one of us doesn’t enjoy taking a hot shower? A hot shower without the use of an exhaust fan, however, can create health hazards in your bathroom.
“Reducing the humidity in a bathroom is vital for its upkeep,” writes Unsdorfer, “Excessive moisture can wreak havoc on bathroom walls by causing paint and wallpaper to peel. In extreme cases it can even cause doors to warp! Most importantly, the humidity can cause mould to accumulate. These spores can grow rapidly and can be difficult to get rid of. Therefore, t is crucial to have bathroom exhaust fans to prevent this from happening.”
Mould spores are major culprits for triggering asthma and allergy symptoms. Anyone with respiratory issues should stay clear of mould. In fact, mould isn’t good for anyone’s health. It’s imperative that it be cleaned away immediately if detected in your bathroom or any other room of the house, for that matter. On TheConversation.com, Jeroen Douwes explains further.
“Mould accumulates in damp and poorly ventilated buildings,” he informs, “Inhaling mould fragments or spores can inflame the airways, causing nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems such as asthma. Those who already suffer from asthma and allergies are more likely to have more severe symptoms when exposed.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we provide Mould Assessment Services that include visual inspections for sources of mould, analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
We’ve often discussed the problems associated with mould and mildew on the DF Technical & Consulting Ltd. Blog. And each time we address the issue, we highlight some of the obvious steps towards eliminating mould and mildew in the home. They include maintaining adequate ventilation, wiping up spills and keeping an overall neat and tidy home. Mould loves to grow in dark and dank places. The cleaner and the less cluttered your home is, the less likely it will be to have a mould problem.
It goes without saying, however, that bathrooms are places where a lot of moisture exists. This is especially true for those used by lovers of hot showers. All of that condensation on the mirror after a long hot shower is the equivalent of the perfect breeding ground for mould. Not only is it wise to lower the heat of your water during showering, it’s important to run those exhaust fans while you’re in there!
“Few rooms in the home see as much moisture and humidity as the bathroom,” Better Homes & Gardens reminds us, “Be sure your bathroom stays well-ventilated. An exhaust fan will help circulate the air and remove moisture more quickly. These additional actions will help keep your bathroom fresh and mould-free.”
Their website goes on to offer some tips for keeping your bathroom as mould-free as possible. They include spreading out towels after use so that they can dry more quickly, minimizing containers left in the shower for cleaning ease and better circulations, wiping down the shower with a clean towel or squeegee after its last daily use and choosing shower curtains that dry and clean easily to help avoid residue which fosters mould.
While the bathroom is a place where wet areas are the norm, it’s important to remember that spills can happen anywhere in the home. As well, because of the warm weather during the summer, the cooler temperatures of the surfaces in your home are especially susceptible to condensation. So, here’s the bottom line: Wipe up wherever you see moisture!
“Mould can’t grow without moisture, so tackle wet areas right away,” advises Heidi Hill of the Mother Nature Network, “Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried.”
Hill goes on to highlight the importance of drying the floors and walls after your shower but also to be mindful of your clothes during laundry time. “Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine, where mould can spread quickly,” she instructs, “Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re dedicated to helping our clients to keep their homes as mould-free as possible. Our Mould Assessment Services includes visual inspections for sources of mould, analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re now less than a couple of days away from the beginning of June. And for people all throughout Canada, it’s a very exciting time of year. Just 21 days into June, summer will officially get underway. Most Canadians long for summer. Having to endear seemingly endless months of cold, blistery weather conditions, the summer season is one that most of us really enjoy! We stress the words “most of us”.
Especially on days when the humidity is high, the usually-simple act of breathing becomes difficult. Asthmatics know of this all too well. Not to mention, high humidity levels are often a culprit from mould growth in the home. The presence of mould, it needs to be highlighted, is a major health hazard.
As Canada.ca points out, “damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mould-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.” The Government of Canada’s site goes on to list a number of symptoms associated with mould growth in the home.
Among them are eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and phlegm build-up, wheezing and shortness of breath and the worsening of asthma symptoms. “The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents,” says the site, “Some people are more susceptible than others.”
Because mould thrives in dark and damp locations, it’s best to keep a close eye on areas of the home where the build up of moisture is most likely. The kitchen and the bathroom are two places that quickly come to mind. That’s why they are both usually equipped with exhaust fans. One of the first steps to preventing mould growth in the home is to use those exhaust fans any time you are in either of those rooms.
In a special to The Toronto Star, Steve Maxwell writes that mould is mostly likely to be found in three locations: “frames on windows that get wet each winter from condensation; drywall and wooden wall frames that get wet periodically in basements and bathrooms; underneath basement carpets; and any area that stays wet because of flooding or leaks.”
In a separate article for The Ottawa Citizen, Maxwell reveals that his favourite mould killer is a Canadian product called Concrobium Mold Control. “It’s an odourless liquid that’s non-toxic,” he informs, “So how can something non-toxic kill anything? It works by mechanically crushing mould and mould spores as it dries, and that’s why it offers residual killing action that goes beyond the old standby, bleach.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend an inspection of your home to ensure that it is mould-free. Our Mould Assessment Services includes visual inspections for sources of mould, analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.