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Moisture

Taking Steps To Prevent Mould Growth In The Home

Condensation cause mold and moisture in the house -Towel absorbs water from the windowMould is often associated with food that has gone bad. That mossy green stuff is a clear indicator that whatever you had leftover is now inedible. However, mould can actually be found all throughout our homes. It comes in different forms and colours. So, it’s important to know where and why it exists. Because mould spores can be hazardous to our health, it’s wise to take the necessary steps to prevent mould growth in our homes.

Where can mould be found in our homes? Mould most often grows in areas of the home that are damp and poorly ventilated. It often appears black, brown or dark green in colour. It can show up on our walls, ceilings and around windows where moisture can seep through cracks. It also commonly rears its ugly head in our showers and bathtubs, especially between the tiles – also places where there is a lot of moisture.

Mould can also be found in our carpets and in our closets. Especially when we keep our homes untidy or cluttered, mould has the ability to find dark, dank spaces to grow. Be on the lookout for stains that may have been caused by leaks or other water damage. This will especially be important during the upcoming fall season when there may be a lot of rainfall and during the winter when the snow on top of our homes melts.

How can you discover what caused the mould growth? In order to determine the source of the mould, it’s a good idea to inspect the outside of your house. That way, you’ll be able to locate openings where moisture may be able to seep into the home. Be sure to check out your roof, the siding, your attic, the gutters and the drains. Of course, you’ll also want to inspect areas inside of the home – especially behind your furniture, in closets and storage spaces and in the basement.

What can you do to prevent mould growth? Keeping a clean and tidy home is an excellent start. The quicker you’re able to locate leaks or wipe up spills, the better. You don’t want pools of water to accumulate anywhere as mould simply thrives on moisture. Be sure to clean and dry all water spillage within a day or two. And if any of your home’s elements experience water damage, it’s best to replace them right away.

You also want to avoid having it be too humid inside the home. Among other issues, humidity creates condensation on the windows and the walls. To decrease the humidity in your home, you’ll want to limit the length of your showers, especially if you’re using particularly warm water that generates a lot of steam. You know all of that mist that is left on your mirror after a shower? That’s a sure fire sign that it is way too humid.

Be sure to use the exhaust fan in the bathroom during your showers. Do the same in the kitchen when you’re cooking. You’ll also want to ensure that your home is properly ventilated. Open the windows as often as possible to allow the air from inside to circulate with the air from outside. If you have a ventilation system, make sure that you are regularly maintaining it. This will all help to prevent humidity levels from getting too high.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services that assess, analyze and report on the findings of mould in your home, office or building. Our comprehensive assessments 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 info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Ways To Prevent Mould And Mildew Growth In Your Home

worker with helmet, gloves and mask spraying ceiling with spray bottle on wooden vintage ladder, bottom viewCanada doesn’t get enough credit for its hot and sunny summers, does it? Our country is most often associated with wintery imagery and the stereotypes that we all live in igloos! The truth, however, is that our summers can be quite warm and humid. And humidity, as we all should know, is the cause of excess moisture. And when excess moisture seeps into our homes, it can be the cause of mould and mildew growth.

How can you prevent mould and mildew growth in your home? Here are three ways:

1. Repair all of the moisture problems that you can find. Mould and mildew spores have the ability to travel through the outdoor air and into your home. They gravitate towards moist surfaces, so it’s important to prevent leaks and spills. That means that you’ll need to repair any holes in your roof, leaky pipes and cracks in the walls. It’s also wise to replace old air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems.

According to HorizonServicesInc.com, it’s important to not neglect your basement when searching for moisture problems. “If water and moisture accumulates in concrete slabs and basement walls, you may need to install a sump pump or dehumidifier,” the site recommends, “Don’t procrastinate…delays may have devastating consequences.”

2. Increase the air circulation throughout the home. Take advantage of the summertime by opening up your windows each and every day. Feel free to use fans as well. That way, you’ll be able to move the warm air around to all the areas of your home. Be sure to use the fans that your home is already equipped with too. That means that your exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchens should be active, especially during bathing and cooking.

On MoldBlogger.com, Jonathan reminds us of the importance of exhaust fans. “Your foggy mirror isn’t the worst problem you’ll have if you don’t use the fan during your shower,” he writes, “The moisture in the air is getting into every nook and cranny, the kind of places that are very hard to clean, even if you do notice the mould growing there. Exhaust fans help minimize the moisture level in the bathroom as well as the possibility of growing mould.”

3. Become a mopping and wiping master. Don’t allow for spills, drips and leaks to form into puddles that linger around your home. It’s imperative that you clean up all areas of wetness that may develop. This is especially important for wet carpets. The moisture can seep into the floor beneath the carpet and present mould and mildew issues that you can’t see. In fact, it’s best to remove carpets and replace them with hardwood floors.

HorizonServicesInc.com explains how bleach can be used as an effective killer of mould and mildew. “Floors, counters, window sills, appliances and kitchens and bathroom fixtures should be cleaned regularly with not just soap or detergent but an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent,” says the site, “One containing ammonia bleach is your best bet for overall effectiveness. But be careful — bleach can damage surfaces, clothing and skin, especially if you use it straight and don’t dilute. Be sure to wear gloves and protect yourself and surfaces from splatters.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we proudly offer Mould Assessment Services that thoroughly inspect your home or office for moisture sources that could produce mould and mildew. By inspecting building envelop failures, looking for leakage issues and detecting occupant-based moisture problems, we help our clients to avoid the major health risks associated with mould and mildew growth.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Getting A Mould Inspection Before Summer

Mold on the window in the houseWhen the summer approaches, most of us conjure up ideas of walking around in shorts and t-shirts to take in the warmth and sunshine. And while summer is the season of bright and sunny days, it is not without its rainy and dreary ones either. When you combine the heat associated with summer and the dampness associated with precipitation, what do you get? The potential for mould growth – and that insists upon protecting ourselves from its harmful effects.

How do summer storms impact our health? On MoldInspections.ca, Toronto-based mould inspection expert, Tara Valley reveals that rain doesn’t necessarily wash away the pollen that generally causes allergy symptoms to flare up. Instead, allergy sufferers often feel the effects of toxic mould after a rain storm. She notes that winds during storms can send pollen airborne, allowing it to travel great distances.

And pollen has an accomplice, “a hazardous material that produces many allergy-like symptoms when inhaled,” Valley describes, “The partner in crime is toxic mould…Unfortunately, there’s a dangerous overlap between hay fever symptoms and mould, including coughing and wheezing. If you’re a regular hay fever sufferer being exposed to mould, you’ll feel like you never get a break from your symptoms, even during a rainstorm.”

How does potential flooding worsen allergy symptoms? As you’re aware, water provides the perfect breeding ground for mould growth. During the warm summers, rain storms that lead to flooding, leave basements highly susceptible to mould infestations. “Mould spores will begin to grow and infest any area that moisture lingers,” Valley explains. Hot temperatures and humidity only exacerbate the situation.

What can be done to limit or avoid mould growth post-flooding? Valley insists that you act quickly, by trying to clean and dry dampness within 24-48 hours of the flooding. She recommends the use of dehumidifiers, fans and heaters to help dry out any rooms that are susceptible to mould infestation. As well, she advises that you remove drywall and any other porous materials that have been dampened.

“Don’t use the area and if possible, stay somewhere else until mould remediation has been completed,” Valley continues, “Try to avoid any contact with any mould – contact with your skin can be harmful and disturbing the spores means you can inhale them.” Hopefully, you won’t have to endure any flooding this summer. In fact, if you prepare for such a worst-case scenario, you can avoid the problems associated with summer flooding altogether.

What can be done to prevent flooding in the event of a summer rain storm? Valley offers up a number of suggestions. They include installing a backwater valve in your basement, extending your downspouts so that they route water away from your home instead of close to basement windows, regularly cleaning debris from your eavestroughs and raising or building up the ground around your house so that water drains away from it instead of toward it.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services that thoroughly inspect your home or office for moisture sources that could produce mould. Inspecting building envelop failures, leakage issues and even occupant-based moisture problems, our services help our clients to avoid the health risks associated with mould growth. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

We would also like to take this opportunity to express our deepest concerns for all of our neighbours in Fort McMurray who are enduring this incredibly troubling time due to the wildfires. We encourage you to donate to the Alberta Fires Appeal through the Canadian Red Cross HERE. All donations will be matched by the Government of Canada.

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4 Ways To Eliminate A Condensation Problem In Your Home

Drops of rain on the window (glass). Shallow DOF.With the end of February coming up, we’re getting closer to the end of winter. But as Canadians are well aware, there’s no reason to pull out the swim trunks just yet. We have a number of cold weeks still ahead. With that said, it’s important to note that the frigid outdoor temperatures stand to create an indoor air quality hazard in the form of condensation. Condensation occurs when the warm air in your home comes into contact with a cold surface, such as your windows.

What indoor air quality problems can condensation cause? As British Columbia’s Homeowner Protection Office explains it, “condensation can cause serious damage to the interior and structural elements of your home or building…Drywall and wood finishes around windows are two examples of materials in your home that can readily absorb moisture and become damaged if they remain wet for a sustained period of time.”

They go on to point out that when left unchecked, condensation can create crumbling or soft spots in drywall, decay in wood framing or corrosion of steel framing, peeling paint, damage to the insulation inside the walls and mould and mildew problems in your home. With respect to the mould and mildew issue, this is where your indoor air quality is significantly impacted. Mould spores are well known for causing respiratory problems.

So what can you do to eliminate a condensation problem in your home? Here are four ways:

1. Open the windows for ventilation. This tip may appear odd given that we are still enduring a chilly Canadian winter. But it’s still worth allowing some of the humid air in your home to circulate with the fresh air from outside. On CanadianWorkshop.com, Steve Maxwell points out that “this approach is about as easy as they come. Yes, opening windows will cost you a bit more in heating, but it still may be the cheapest way to solve your moisture problem.”

2. Minimize humidity in the home by regulating temperatures. The more humid it is inside your home, the more likely you are to promote condensation on your cold windows. The Homeowner Protection Office suggests that you follow a “rule of thumb” as it relates to your home’s temperature. “Interior air temperatures should generally be maintained between 18°C and 24°C with relative humidity falling between 35% and 60%,” they report.

3. Use the exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchen. The majority of moisture in the home is generally present in the bathrooms and kitchen. Whenever you take a hot shower or fire up the stove, you add to the humidity that promotes condensation. “Bathroom exhaust fans, in particular, should be used during every shower or bath and for at least 15 minutes afterwards,” advises Maxwell.

4. Install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). HRV’s are known for eliminating the condensation problem. However, Maxwell admits that having one installed is a bit pricey. Nevertheless, “it will also retain most of the heat that you’d normally lose through open windows and out of exhaust fans. In fact, HRVs are so effective and energy efficient that they’re now required by code for new houses in some jurisdictions.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend that you have your home evaluated for moisture sources. We offer Moisture Monitoring Services that locate envelop failures, leaking issues and occupant-based moisture sources that could be causing an indoor air quality problem in your home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Winning The Battle Against Mould

woman scrubbing soap scum from a dirty shower floor with scour padAs Canadians, we arguably do battle with winters better than anyone else in the world. But, sometimes, the measures we take to stay warm can cause other problems we didn’t expect to have to take on. Take, for example, the need for us to keep our homes airtight throughout the winter months. Sure, this makes sense when you consider the fact that we don’t want to freeze when we’re inside. But there’s a ramification to keeping ourselves all cooped up.

With little no ventilation, we can create warm and humid spots in our homes which make the perfect breeding grounds for mould. As Michelle Roberts makes clear on BobVila.com, “mould typically grows where there’s excessive moisture, like in a damp cabinet under the sink or around a leaky window, so it’s important to ventilate these areas and prevent moisture from accumulating.”

So what are the health risks associated with mould? The Government of Canada lists them as eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and mucous (phlegm) build-up, wheezing and shortness of breath, worsening of asthma symptoms and other allergic reactions. “Some airborne moulds can cause severe lung infections in people with very weakened immune systems (like those with leukemia or AIDS, or transplant recipients),” they reveal on the Healthy Canadians website.

Are some people more vulnerable to the effects of mould than others? Yes, certainly. As we alluded to earlier, those who suffer from asthma and severe allergies are more likely to experience breathing difficulties when coming into contact with mould spores. The Healthy Canadians site also acknowledges that children and seniors are more likely to be more sensitive to the effect of mould than others. There is no “safe” limit of exposure, the site warns us.

Where does mould grow? According to Roberts, mould can form on literally any surface. “Even flat and smooth surfaces like glass, fibreglass, and steel are mould-susceptible,” she informs, “As long as mould spores (which are always in the air), moisture, and particulate matter (like dust) are prevalent, mould can grow. The only effective strategy to control mould is to control moisture, like installing dehumidifiers and fans in basements and kitchens.”

What can be done to prevent mould? Limiting moisture is definitely important. Now, of course, there is moisture in all homes. And it is most prevalent in kitchens and bathrooms. This is why both rooms are equipped with exhaust fans. It is highly recommended that they be used any time either room is in use for their intended purposes. In other words, when you are cooking and bathing, turn your fans on.

You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t let water pool or accumulate anywhere. “Homeowners can easily prevent water intrusion by staying vigilant of any leaks around the house, especially in bathroom faucets, showers and toilets,” adds Roberts, “Building experts urge homeowners to stay alert for signs of mould, including dampness, odours, discolouration, peeling paint, condensation, compacted insulation and actual mould outbreaks.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services that analyze, assess and report on your home, office or building. Our comprehensive assessments 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 info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Wintertime Humidity Control In The Home

A view out a cabin window with condensation overlooking a snowy mountain landscapeNow that we are experiencing the colder temperatures that are associated with winter, it’s important to be mindful of the ways in which we maintain our homes. Naturally, we’ll want to keep our indoors heated. But you don’t want to have an excess of humidity in the home. If you’re noticing condensation on the windows, this could be a sign that the inside of your home is too humid.

So how can you reduce indoor humidity during the winter? Be vehement about ventilating. On ArrowGroup.ca, it is explained that moisture can enter the air of our homes in many different ways. They include humidifiers, heating systems and even our house plants. In addition, our regular daily practices add moisture to the air. “Cooking three meals a day adds four or five pints of water to the air,” informs the site, “Each shower contributes 1/2 pint.”

As a result, it’s important to ventilate your home as best as you can. Use the exhaust fans above your stove when cooking and use the ones in your bathrooms while bathing. You may also want to crack the windows every so often. Now, considering the frigid outdoor temperatures, you’re not going to want to keep them open for very long. Instead, use the technique provided by ArrowGroup.ca.

“As a temporary solution to an acute problem, open a window in each room for just a few minutes,” recommends the site, “Opening windows allows the stale, humid air to escape, and fresh dry air to enter. After a shower, for example, open the bathroom window, or turn on the exhaust fan, so steam can go outside instead of remaining in the home.” You may also want to close the doors of the rooms where the windows are open so as to not make it too cold throughout the home.

Again, you don’t want to keep the windows open for very long. “Opening the windows slightly throughout the house for a brief time each day will go far toward allowing humid air to escape and drier air to enter,” ArrowGroup.ca further describes, “The heat loss will be minimal. Installation of storm windows will often relieve condensation on the prime house windows by keeping the interior glass warmer.”

On MadisonVinyl.com, Associated Press Building editor, David Bareuther reports that there are only three ways to reduce humidity. They are controlling sources of humidity, such as gas burners and clothes dryers, using dry heat to counterbalance all of the moisture produced by modern living and ventilating. Bareuther explains a bit further just how important winter ventilation is.

“Because outside air usually contains less water vapour, it will ‘dilute’ the humidity of inside air,” he notes, “This takes place automatically in older houses through constant infiltration of outside air.” If you’re still wondering about the ways in which you can prevent your home from being too humid this winter, it’s wide to consult a professional. That way, you’ll enjoy the very best indoor air quality.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we make it our mission to ensure that all of our clients are enjoying top-notch indoor air quality all year long. Knowing that this can be a bit more difficult during the winter, when the house is usually sealed off to the outside world, we offer our clients services that speak to the need for humidity control. Our Moisture Monitoring Services evaluate buildings for moisture sources in order to help prevent the development of mould.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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4 Ways To Remove Mould From Your Bathroom

Black mold growing on shower tiles in bathroomMost of us clean our homes on a regular basis. But, sometimes, it seems that no matter how hard you clean, there are still areas that can’t exactly be categorized as spotless. This is especially true for our bathrooms, isn’t it? That ugly green and black mould is often found in our shower tiles and even though we attempt to spray it with cleaner and wipe it away, it often will stubbornly remain. Sound like a problem, you have? If so, you’re not alone.

Mould requires dark, warm and moist environments in order to thrive. Ironically, the cleaner we get, the dirtier our bathrooms become. Quite obviously, showering introduces a lot of moisture to your bathroom. Especially when the shower is hot – and most are – both the water itself and the steam that arises from it is bound to keep the tiles warm and wet for quite some time after the shower is completed.

Not only is mould unsightly, but it is also known to present health hazards. Similar to dust, mould spores – when airborne – can enter our lungs. People who suffer from asthma and allergies are especially susceptible to the health risks associated with mould. So cleaning your bathroom is actually a much more important task than you may think. But how can it be cleaned in such a way that the mould actually disappears?

Here are four ways:

1. Create a baking soda and water solution. HowToRemoveBlackMold.com suggests that you place the baking soda solution in a spray bottle and use it to target all the areas where mould is present in your bathroom. Let the mixture sit for five to ten minutes, recommends the website. Then use an old toothbrush to scrub away the mould. After scouring the mould away, wipe away any excess solution and then rinse and repeat the process if necessary.

2. Use a white vinegar spray. If baking soda is unavailable, white vinegar may be a great alternative. On his website, David Suzuki writes that undiluted white vinegar can help to remove mould. He warns, however, that vinegar is a “strong acid” that can potentially etch your tiles or grout. “Use it only on the caulking and rinse off well,” he advises, “it’s always best to do a test patch.”

3. Try liquid oxygen bleach. Suzuki offers liquid oxygen bleach as another mould-removing suggestion. “It’s basically diluted hydrogen peroxide, found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store,” he informs, “Apply it with a spray bottle or follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Worst case scenario is if the mould has worked its way behind the caulking. In this case, you may have to re-caulk, and if you do, choose non-toxic, 100 per cent silicone.”

4. Be mindful of your humidity levels. One of the best ways to remove mould from your bathroom is to not let it develop to begin with. Suzuki reminds us that mould prevention is the best way to keep a safe and clean home. “Get a handle on the humidity of your bathroom,” he warns, “Make sure the fan is rated to fit the size of your bathroom and that it’s working properly.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly advocate for mould-free environments. As part of our mandate to have our clients live in homes that promote good health, we offer Mould Assessment Services that seek to locate all areas of the home where mould exists. You may be surprised to discover some of the places where mould may be hiding. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

5 Comments

  1. March 31, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Wow what great advice! You can also use HOT steam to remove mold. That’s what we do here at The Steamers!

  2. Anna Levis-Reply
    September 25, 2016 at 11:04 am

    This is an informative article. I really appreciate your efforts for writing such an amazing post. Showering cause lot of moisture to a bathroom especially when the shower is hot because the steam which arises from it’s bound to keep the tiles warm and wet for sometime after the shower is completed. http://www.floodaz.com/how-to-remove-black-mold-without-killing-the-environment/

    • November 17, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you for the information but I do have one question. Can the mold spread in to your air conditioning duct system ? If so you should have your air ducts cleaned often.

      • Dennis French-Reply
        November 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm

        Hello Anna
        Within your air conditioning duct many things can happen. They can be simply a pathway to move contaminants from one are to another or if the ducts are dirty they can be a food source for biological growth such as mould growing on debris inside ductwork. Ductwork should be cleaned to remove this source. Also Standing moisture in ductwork can also source for other contaminants such as Legionella.

        • December 27, 2016 at 3:04 pm

          Your answer about the air duct cleaning is correct. It is recommended to clean the air ducts every two years to prevents mold growth.

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The Importance Of Monitoring Your Home’s Humidity

illustration of a metal framed Hygrometer, eps 10When colder weather arrives, it’s natural for us all to turn up the heat in our homes. No matter how much you may love the wintertime, no one wants to live in a house that feels like a refrigerator. When warming the home, however, it’s important to be mindful about the level of humidity that exists within it. Believe it or not, the humidity level in your home can have a significant impact on your health.

How can humidity affect our health? Well, let’s suppose the level of humidity in the home is too high. It can lead to the presence of sickness-inducing viruses. According to CriticalCactus.com, “not only viruses but also fungi, mites, moulds, mildew and other sick makers thrive on high humidity. Mite populations, for example, flourish at 80% relative humidity but are minimized when the relative humidity is below 50%.”

All of the above mentioned ramifications of high humidity are known to trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. This winter, it will be very important to maintain safe levels of humidity in the home while keeping it heated. CriticalCactus.com writes that “ medical studies indicate that maintaining your home’s humidity between 30% and 55% restrains the survival of various viruses, including ¬influenza, polio, measles, and herpes.”

So how can we measure the humidity in our homes? The use of a hygrometer will do the trick. They can be used to monitor both outdoor and indoor humidity and they come in a number of variations. The two most popular are the analog and digital hygrometers. As Acurite.com explains, “analog hygrometers use a moisture-sensitive material that is attached to a coil spring. The spring controls a needle on an easy-to-read circular dial.”

Analog hygrometers are described as both inexpensive and easy to use. And while they are generally considered reliable, their digital counterparts are known for their sensors which monitor electric currents that are affected by moisture levels. “Digital hygrometers can keep track of high and low humidity measurements, historical data, and trends,” explains Acurite.com, “They are more precise than analog hygrometers, with a typical accuracy range of ± 5%.”

How else can we determine if there is too much humidity in the home? There are some things you can look for. Telltale signs include condensation. The presence of moisture in areas of the home where it shouldn’t be may be an indication that it is too humid inside. On SFGate.com, Laurie Reeves recommends that you should “check windows, mirrors and vertical glass surfaces for condensation. Condensation on the inside of windows or glass surfaces indicates a buildup of moisture and water vapour in your home’s air.”

She also advises that you look for wet stains on the ceilings and walls of your home. They too can indicate an increase of moisture or water vapour in the home that comes as a result of high humidity. In addition, the smell of your home can help to determine if the humidity is too high. “Check for musty or wet mildew smells in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room,” says Reeves. And finally, be sure to note any allergic reactions your family may be experiencing when the house is closed up.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to maintain safe humidity levels in the home. Our Moisture Monitoring Services work to ensure that any and all moisture sources in the home are located in order to prevent negative health reactions from your family. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Removing Mould From Your Home

Mildewed walls with different sorts of mold (close-up shot)Mould is a problem. It’s not just something that appears on old food that can be removed from your home simply by throwing the food out. Mould has a tendency to grow in areas where it can’t be seen. It thrives on moisture and our homes provide plenty of it. Especially in rooms such as the kitchen and the bathroom, the constant presence of moisture allows for mould to find a home. But it’s important to keep it out of your home.

What’s so dangerous about mould? As Joe Cuhaj explains on TodaysHomeowner.com, the presence of mould in the home can lead to a number of negative health effects. He writes that although it often results in minor allergic reactions such as sniffling, watery eyes and sneezing, “some people are more sensitive than others and may experience a stronger reaction that can include difficulty breathing and asthma attacks.”

What is it about mould that causes breathing difficulty? “Several types of mould release toxic substances called mycotoxins,” explains Cuhaj, “Exposure to high concentrations of mycotoxins from Stachybotrys (a greenish-black green mould that grows on cellulose material such as wallpaper, cardboard, and wallboard) or Chaetomium (a white to gray colored mold found on decaying wood and water damaged drywall) may lead to more severe health issues including chronic bronchitis, heart problems, and bleeding lungs.”

So what can be done about preventing mould growth? The first step would be to control the amount of moisture that is present in your home. As we alluded to earlier, it’s practically impossible to avoid moisture altogether as cooking and bathing – two very common daily routines – require the use of water. Controlling moisture, however, includes looking for damage in your home that may be leading to leaks.

The absence of leak sources will be very helpful in keeping mould at bay. But to control moisture, it’s important to monitor your home’s humidity levels as well. According to Gerri Willis on CNN.com, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommend keeping the humidity level in your house below 50 percent.” She goes on to suggest that you “use an air conditioner during humid months.”

What else can be done to control humidity in the home? “Make sure to check the ventilation in the kitchen and the bathroom,” advises Willis, “Open a window or turn on a fan when showering. Do not carpet bathrooms and consider using mould inhibitors that can be added to paints. If you see moisture building up, act quickly and dry the area. If you have any water leaks, whether it is coming in through the roof, or from a pipe or the ground, patch it up immediately.”

How can mould be cleaned up? It all depends on the amount of mould and the size of the area that needs to be cleaned. “If the mould is limited to an area of less than 10 square feet, then you might be able to clean it up yourself,” informs Cuhaj, “Areas larger than that should be handled by a professional. If you decide to enlist a professional, make sure they are trained and experienced in mould cleanup.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we couldn’t agree more. Our Mould Assessment Services provide very thorough examinations of your living space to detect any presence of mould. It’s our job to help you to minimize the risk of any negative health effects that may arise due to mould in your home. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Limiting Household Moisture In The Wintertime

A view out a cabin window with condensation overlooking a snowy mountain landscapeHumidity and moisture go hand in hand. When we think of humidity, we often think of the sweaty and sticky state that it generally leaves us in. With summer now behind us, most of us are likely thinking that we don’t have worry about humidity until next year. But that doesn’t mean that the presence of moisture has disappeared. In fact, with winter coming in a couple of months, we’ll soon be experiencing more moisture than we’ll know what to do with!

The first reason is because, we Canadians tend to turn up the heat in our homes when it’s cold outside. Can you blame us? Canadian winters don’t exactly provide the warmest temperatures. As well, we also generally keep all of our doors and windows shut so as to not let out any heat. The warmer we are, the better, right? Well, as Tiffany Wild of Paragon Certified Restoration points out, closing up our homes and turning up the heat during the winter can cause some problems.

“You may think this would be a good thing since this would limit the amount of heat that escapes, but this can also lead to the buildup of moisture which can cause mould and mildew inside of the home,” she informs us. Wild goes on to note that mould-inducing moisture problems, during the winter, are generally the direct result of one of two problems: moisture in the air and moisture from actual liquid.

What problems are caused by moisture in the air? Keeping in mind that we much prefer warmer air in our homes during the winter, it presents a vast difference between it and the air outside. With much colder air hitting the outsides of our windows, condensation builds up. Wild writes that “the relative humidity on the surface of the window is 100%.” And, as you may have guessed, this humidity provides the breeding ground for mould and mildew.

“You may also notice some moisture on the window sill or on the window casing (the frame that goes around the window.),” Wild writes, “When this happens, mould and mildew can start developing in these areas. You may also notice mould or mildew forming on the insides of exterior walls, or on clothes or shoes that are located in closets where the temperature is lower than the adjoining room.”

What problems are caused by moisture from actual liquid? Quite obviously, the falling of snow is a telltale sign that winter has arrived. Here, in Calgary, we sometimes don’t even need for the official start of winter to begin seeing the fluffy white stuff fall from the sky. And as Wild points out, the accumulation of snow on our homes can lead to plumbing and roofing issues – the worst being “ice dams”.

“Ice dams usually form on your roof and in your gutters and can cause serious problems and damage if they are not dealt with properly,” she reveals, “Once an ice dam has froze on your roof, water will continue to build up behind it and will eventually run backwards underneath your shingles and into your home. Once you have water leaking into your home from the outside, you have an entirely new and expensive problem that will need to be dealt with.”

DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is prepared to assist you with your winter preparations. Our Moisture Monitoring Services can locate issues on your property such as sources of leaks and other contributors to the development of mould within the home. Let’s work together in keeping your home mould and mildew free this winter! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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