There are many Canadian families that already have their Christmas trees up. Of course, there are many others who are still in the process of picking out the right trees to grace their homes this holiday season. For those who choose to put up artificial trees, the decision can be made at any time. A live tree, however, requires watering and other care, so timing is important. Obviously, you don’t want to unwrap presents under a dead, wilted tree on Christmas morning.
There is, however, another concern when it comes to live Christmas trees. For those who suffer with allergies, live trees can create major problems. In most cases, bringing plants inside the home is advisable for the improving of indoor air quality. There are numerous houseplants that have detoxifying effects. However, with certain trees, the opposite is true.
On BabyCenter.com, it is explained that particular holiday trees, such as juniper and cedar can bring pollen into your home and contribute to allergies. In addition, such trees can create a mould problem. “Freshly cut trees can breed mould spores,” informs the site, “The spores grow all over the tree, and when they’re released into the air, inhaling them into the nose and lungs can trigger allergy symptoms.”
The website goes on to report that “researchers at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, found that a room containing a fresh Christmas tree for two weeks had mould levels that were five times the normal level. Other studies have shown that levels this high can cause allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms, says the study’s coauthor, allergist and immunologist Philip Hemmers.”
BabyCenter.com recommends that you use a leaf blower to blow as much potentially harmful debris off of the tree as possible before bringing it into your home. It also suggests rinsing the tree down with a garden hose and letting it dry before setting it up inside. Wiping down the tree trunk with bleach is another cleaning solution, says the site. Now, if each of these cleaning methods sound like too much trouble – or even seem unrealistic – you’re not alone!
We can’t imagine that all of the pre-set up maintenance is worth it. Chances are that you will not have guaranteed yourself or your family members an allergy-free holiday season even if you do employ the above mentioned cleaning methods. On VeryWellHealth.com, Jeanette Bradley proposes an alternative solution.
“If pine pollen is a major allergy trigger for you, a fir, spruce, or cypress Christmas tree may be a better bet,” she advises, “The Leyland Cypress is a sterile hybrid tree, which means it does not produce any pollen. To find a Leyland Cypress Christmas tree, you may need to bypass the Christmas tree lots and big box stores and instead go direct to the source: a local Christmas tree farm.”
No matter which tree you decide to display in your home this holiday season, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would like to offer you the gift of cleaner air inside your home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about our Air Quality Services and Mould Assessment Services. Call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Now that we’re a week into November, it’s pretty safe to say that the holiday shopping season is here. Many Canadians have already filled out their holiday shopping lists and are making plans to hit the malls in order to locate specially selected items. Of course, the official start of the holidays is still many weeks away. But you can never start your holiday shopping too early.
Be sure to include a special someone on your list. To be more accurate, it’s a special “something”. Your home deserves all the love you can give it! The more you take care of your home, the happier and healthier your family will be. This forthcoming holiday season, be sure to pick up some gifts that will make your home healthier.
Who doesn’t love a pleasant smelling home? The problem, for most of us, is that keeping our homes smelling sweet often involves the spraying of air fresheners. These products commonly contain volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) which are detrimental to our health. To prevent wreaking havoc on our respiratory systems, opt for natural products that emit sweet smells. On Bustle.com, Carina Wolff recommends soy candles.
“Scented candles can make your home smell nice, but they come at a risk,” she explains, “Petroleum-based paraffin wax candles emit potentially hazardous chemicals that can lead to health risks such as cancer, common allergies, and asthma, according to a study from South Carolina State University. Vegetable-based options such as 100 percent soy candles don’t produce those harmful chemicals, so opt for those instead.”
Keeping your home’s humidity at a safe level is also imperative to its overall health. High levels of humidity promote breeding grounds for mould. And when mould spores become airborne, they turn into major irritants to our respiratory systems, especially for those of us with asthma and allergies. Best Health Magazine highly recommends that you buy a moisture meter for your home.
“Nothing helps mould to flourish like high humidity, so do all you can to get household moisture under control,” notes their website, “Obviously, that means keeping an eye out for roof leaks and drip-drip-dripping faucets…You might want to pick up a moisture meter (hygrometer) at a hardware store. If the indoor humidity in your home regularly exceeds 50 percent, a dehumidifier should solve your problem.”
Do you find you’re using the same sheets and pillowcases over and over again? Do you get lazy and just leave the same ones on your bed for weeks on end? To prevent an onslaught of dust mites, which provide major triggers of our asthma symptoms and other allergies, it’s important to remove your bed sheets and wash them in hot water at least once a week. To help with the bedding rotation, you may want to pick up a new bed set.
“Chronic exposure of dust mites can cause allergies and asthma, according to the American Lung Association, so be sure to vacuum frequently, change your bedding and pillowcases often, and reduce the humidity in your house,” advises Wolff.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d argue that an inspection of your home’s indoor air quality is the best holiday gift you could give it! For information about our Air Quality Services and/or our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.