In some strange coincidence that we cannot explain, we have only posted blogs about hoarding in the month of April. We have no idea why. Before composing today’s blog, we Googled the terms “hoarding” and “indoor air quality” only to find our previous three blogs on the subject appear at the top of the list of articles – all published in previous Aprils.
Interestingly enough, our last blog about hoarding was posted a year ago almost to the day! And in that very blog, we commented on the fact that, during a previous Google search, the DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. website was found to have the top three most relevant pieces on the subject of hoarding’s impact on indoor air quality.
Well, it’s the middle of April, so we obviously must be due for another blog about hoarding! But, we have to admit – it’s an issue that certainly requires more than once-a-year attention. By packing your home with loads of possessions that can only be described as an uncontrollable mess, you put yourself at great risk of health hazards.
Firstly, you’re unable to see more than half of your possessions when you live in a house with a hoarder. As a result, you’re unaware of any mould forming on those possessions. Mould growth is promoted by dark, dank areas – a perfect description of the many regions of a hoarder’s home. When mould is airborne, it triggers allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.
“There are three basic classifications of mould related health concerns: infectious, allergenic, and toxic,” explains Karen Robinson on behalf of Canadians For A Safe Learning Environment, “Allergic reactions are the most common and can include the following symptoms: watery eyes, runny nose, itching, rashes, hives, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulties, headache, dizziness, fatigue and in extreme cases tremors.”
Clearly, a house full of trash – if we’re being quite frank here – doesn’t allow for the circulation of air. Not only is a hoarder not likely to be able to access his/her windows to open them, his/her home is void of much free space for air to even exist. The air in the home is bound to be stale, stagnant and polluted with the dust, dander and debris that hasn’t been cleaned up in ages. Once again, poor conditions for breathing are made present by the act of hoarding.
“Good ventilation removes stale indoor air and reduces the amount of indoor air pollutants,” Canada.ca reminds us, “It also helps to limit the buildup of indoor moisture, which can contribute to mould growth. Ventilation increases the amount of outdoor air that comes indoors. The level of outdoor air pollution should be considered when ventilating your house. If there are strong indoor sources and outdoor air pollution levels are low, you may need to increase the ventilation.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is for the air in your home to be free of contaminants. If you have issues with hoarding or if you’re living with a hoarder, your health is at risk. We would highly recommend a major clean up of your home with the help of professionals. It is then wise to follow up with an indoor air quality inspection.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our Air Quality Services. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Believe it or not, winter is the season when preventing mould growth in your home is most difficult. Consider the fact that it’s a very wet time of year. With all of the snow on the ground, we track wet slush into our homes on a frequent basis. However, we Canadians tend to turn up the heat in our homes during the winter. And can you blame us? The frigid outdoor temperatures are enough to keep us hidden indoors for longer periods of time than usual.
Naturally, we tend to keep our windows closed so as to avoid getting cold. However, this only causes our indoor humidity to rise. You’ll know that it’s too humid in your home when – as Steve Maxwell of the Ottawa Citizen puts it – our windows start to “sweat”.
Of course, he’s referring to the condensation that forms on our windows when the cold air from outside meets surfaces that are warmed from the inside. “Windows ‘sweat’ during winter as indoor air cools against cold window glass and loses its ability to hold moisture,” explains Maxwell, “This excess water has got to come out somewhere, and glass and window frames are excellent places for droplets of condensation to form.”
Crack the windows. This is a tip that we’ve recommended numerous times before and we’re not likely to quit listing it. Yes, it’s cold outside. But cracking the windows helps for the stale air from inside to circulate with the fresh air from outside. It also helps to lower humidity levels so that mould-producing moisture doesn’t accumulate throughout the home. You can also reduce moisture by using your home’s exhaust fans.
“The easiest way to boost indoor air quality and reduce window condensation in a tight home is by opening windows a little and running exhaust fans more often in the bathroom and kitchen,” advises Maxwell, “For every cubic foot of stale air pushed outside by fans, another cubic foot of fresh air is drawn in through windows opened a little here and there.”
Some rooms have no windows or exhaust fans. We’re thinking of basements and attics here – two places where mould is most likely to form. Make sure that these areas are clean and dry. It’s the best way to prevent mould from forming when increased ventilation isn’t possible.
“Look for areas in the home where air can become trapped,” recommends MouldDog.ca, “A common issue could be lack of ventilation in attics and near roofs. Hot air rises and if it gets trapped it can turn into condensation, which can lead to water and mould issues.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to keep your home mould-free, not just during the winter, but all year long. For more information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
We’re only five days away from Christmas! It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year already. From everyone here, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. we’d like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas! We’d also like to wish everyone a very Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa as well! Our great nation of Canada is home to many different people all celebrating various special occasions at this time of year. We hope they are all joyous for everyone.
Our team would also like to thank each and every one of our clients. With your help, we enjoyed a great 2017 and we look forward to an even better 2018. In order to make that happen, we need to work on getting you all healthier! In other words, our business simply isn’t successful if our clients aren’t enjoying better lives thanks to improved indoor air quality in their homes and places of business.
We offer numerous services that work to detect air pollutants in the places where you live and work so that you can breathe cleaner air. Just one of those services is our Mould Assessment Services. They include visual inspections for sources of mould, analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning.
It’s important to be on the lookout for signs that you may have a mould problem. They include the onset of such symptoms as runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash or itching, flu-like symptoms, asthma attacks, memory problems, constant headaches and possible fever. To prevent mould from growing in your home or place of business, it’s important to limit the amount of moisture and humidity contained within.
“Look for damp spots in your house,” advises Canada.ca on its list of prevention tips, “Check basements, closets, window sills, roofs, and around sinks, tubs and pipes. Fix damp spots right away. Repair any water leaks as soon as you notice them. Clean up immediately after any flood. Use fans. Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when cooking or showering. Let the fan run for a few minutes after you are done.”
In 2018, Canada will finally implement its nationwide ban on the toxic material. However, a lot of work will still need to be done to protect Canadians from its harmful effects. Properties built before 1990 used asbestos for insulation purposes in walls, ceilings, floors and attics. It was also used for wrapping materials for ducts, furnaces, pipes and electrical wiring.
Sadly, asbestos is a known killer, causing the most occupational deaths in Canada each year. No province is immune. As Jeff Cottrill informs us on OHSCanada.com, “asbestos-related disease remains the top cause of occupational fatalities in British Columbia, with 584 workers in the province having lost their lives to asbestos-related illness from 2006 to 2015, according to WorkSafeBC, which launched an asbestos awareness campaign last fall.”
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!
We’re going to be completely honest here. We know carpets are comfy. They’re soft, warm and quite cozy to lie down on. We understand those who feel that their homes are much more comfortable places to live if they incorporate wall-to-wall carpeting. But, if we’re going to be completely honest, we have to say – it just isn’t worth it. The health hazards presented by carpeting are too many to keep it installed all over the house.
The first and, perhaps, most obvious reason to remove the carpeting in your home is to help allergy sufferers run much lower risks of experiencing their symptoms. It’s likely no surprise to you that carpets are havens for dust and other allergens. Simply take a look at your vacuum cleaner canister or bag, if you don’t believe us. Columbus, Ohio-based Scott Hall Remodeling explains that removing carpet is a to-do list topper for those with allergies.
“This can be especially true in the basement area,” they note on their website, “Carpets can often collect allergens that you can’t see, along with those you can, such as pet hair. If anyone in your family has allergies, this may be a good reason to remove the carpets in your basement. This is especially true if that person spends a good amount of time in the basement.”
Not surprisingly, the older your carpets are, the more likely they are to contain allergens. Naturally, one of the top reasons to replace or remove your carpeting is because it’s simply too old. “Often, older carpets catch and retain more allergens and particulate matter, which may cause your allergies to act up,” says Lacey Nix on AngiesList.com, “If you notice an increase in allergies, one source may be your older carpet.”
Carpets don’t just impact the health of allergy sufferers because of the dust, crumbs, pet dander and other particles that may fall onto it and get trapped. Carpets are also known for holding in moisture. As a result, mould can form in the floor underneath the carpet without you being able to detect it. Mould spores, of course, are also hazardous to our health. And those with respiratory issues are the first to notice.
This is why Scott Hall Remodeling advocates for the removal of wall-to-wall carpeting in the basement. The basement, they point out, is susceptible to more moisture than the rest of the house. “While this isn’t always the case, it’s something to look into,” reads their site, “Excess moisture can cause water damage and mould buildup in carpets and you may not readily see it on the surface.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are dedicated to helping you avoid the many health hazards that come with having carpet in your home. We offer Air Quality Services, Moisture Monitoring Services and Mould Assessment Services, among many others, to ensure that you enjoy the best possible indoor air quality.
For more information about any and all of our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Just keep your home dry. That way, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of having any mould or mildew growth. It really isn’t all that simple though, is it? When you really think about it, we all require the presence of moisture in our daily lives. We cook, we clean, we drink, we bathe – our daily routines demand the presence of water. So how can we reasonably keep things dry?
As Better Homes & Gardens explains, mould and mildew can quickly grow anywhere there is moisture. “They serve an important purpose in our environment by helping to destroy organic materials such as leaves, thereby enriching the soil,” explains the site, “But that same attribute can cause a serious health issue for people living in a mouldy home: respiratory problems; sinus congestion; eye, nose, or throat irritation; and headaches.”
The site goes on to reveal that infants, children, pregnant women, elderly individuals and people who have existing respiratory conditions are at the highest risk of experiencing the symptoms associated with mould and mildew presence. Heidi Hill of the Mother Nature Network seconds the call for wet areas to be dried up immediately. She points out that without paying attention to the moist areas of the home, mould can appear.
“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,” writes Hill, “If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried. Even everyday occurrences need attention: don’t leave wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower.”
Hills goes on to mention that even the simplest of acts like leaving wet clothes in the washing machine can promote mould growth that can spread quickly. “Hang them to dry — preferably outside or in areas with good air circulation,” she advises.
Naturally, the bathroom is an area of the home where moisture is always present. Keeping things dry in there is especially important if you want to prevent mould from growing. As a result, it’s important to keep your bathroom well ventilated. If you’re home alone, shower with the bathroom door open. If you want to guarantee privacy and keep the door closed, be sure to run the exhaust fan.
Better Homes & Gardens also offers the following tips to keep your bathroom mould-free:
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to keep your home mould-free. It’s imperative for promoting optimum health for everyone who dwells within it. For more information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas. On behalf of the entire team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to express our sorrow and concern while wishing for a speedy return to safety for all residents of the city that has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey in recent days. Now a tropical storm, Harvey is expected to continue to batter Houston and its surrounding areas in the days to come.
“The Category Four storm rolled in on Friday, battering Corpus Christi before plowing towards Houston the following day,” reports Laura Mallonee on Wired.com, “It dumped 12 trillion gallons of rain on south Texas, forcing some 30,000 people to flee their homes and leaving at least nine dead. With Harvey predicted to drop 20 more inches in the next few days, the hurricane could be the biggest rain-producing storm to pummel the US in more than a century.”
While we haven’t exactly experienced a hurricane, here in the Calgary, Alberta area, we can’t help but be reminded of the Alberta floods that took place in June and July of 2013. Much of our city was under water thanks to several days of heavy rainfall. Until the Fort McMurray wildfire of 2016, the Alberta floods were the costliest disaster in Canadian history. Damages totalled about $1.7 million.
But let’s forget about the money for a second. At times like this, we’re strongly reminded that people’s lives matter the most. Even when the recovery process is able to begin, it can take years before victims of natural disasters are able to get their lives back in order. However, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we can’t help but be mindful of the fact that flooding causes major property damage – which leads to major health issues.
It should come as no surprise to you that mould is a more than likely result of experiencing flooding in your home. Mould thrives on warmth and moisture. Flooding, of course, provides plenty of moisture. And, as Moldpedia.com points out, the excess moisture caused by flooding can lead to mould growth very quickly.
“Mould can start to grow after just a day or two so it’s important to act as quickly as possible if your home has been flooded,” warns the site, “Make sure you only enter your home once it’s safe though. If you’re going to perform the flood clean up yourself then you should begin my moving things outside that didn’t get wet. This is to protect them while you clean up the rest of the house.”
We can only imagine just how irreparable much of the property in Houston must be. We suspect that many homes will be beyond repair and have to be rebuilt from scratch. Especially because of the flooding and the mould it causes, this is likely the wisest choice. A mould-infested home is safe for no one. We sincerely hope that relief efforts will make the transition back to normalcy as speedy as possible for the people of Houston.
The Canadian Red Cross is accepting online donations to aid with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Let’s show what Canada is all about and help out as much as we all can!
For information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Icky. Yucky. Gross. Yes, these are words commonly uttered by four year-olds. But, nonetheless, they make for the perfect descriptions of the black mould that impacts the bathtubs and shower stalls of far too many Canadians. Many of us are left with no choice but to endure unsightly black mould in our bathrooms. But it doesn’t mean we have to live with it forever. There is a way to win the battle against black mould. And it can be done in a safe way!
Thankfully, the use of harsh chemicals isn’t necessary to remove black mould from your shower. By mixing household baking soda and water, you’ve concocted a safe and effective black mould remover. As recommended by HowToRemoveBlackMold.com, simply use a quart-sized bottle containing this solution. “This will minimize the number of mould spores from being released into your airspace and spreading throughout your home,” says the site.
Spray the solution everywhere that you see the mould and allow it to sit and work its magic for approximately five to ten minutes. Then grab a brushing utensil – even an old toothbrush should help you to do the trick. Scrub away at the mould with the brush and you should see it begin to disappear. It will be easier to clean some areas more than others. A little elbow grease is all that’s needed for a full and thorough clean.
Once you’ve completed the scrubbing routine, wipe away any excess mould and rinse the area. You may need to repeat the process for especially stubborn stains. Don’t forget to wipe the entire area down once you’ve completed your cleaning. Remember that mould develops in warm and moist areas. The drier you keep your bathroom environment when it is not in use, the less likely mould will develop and grow.
On CleanMySpace.com, Melissa Maker also champions the use of baking soda and water for black mould removal. She points out that, in some cases, you may need to let the solution set on the mould for up to an hour or two. She agrees, however, that a decent scrubbing should eventually do the job. However, Maker notes that black mould doesn’t just stay away because you’ve gone through the motions of one cleaning. Much like tooth health, mould removal requires constant care.
“If your bathroom is not properly maintained between cleanings, it does not take long for mould to come back,” informs Maker, “In fact, think of mould prevention like oral care—we have to maintain our teeth to keep plaque away. Like a dentist, I am going to suggest some preventative maintenance for you to keep mould out of your bathroom. It only takes seconds to do and is much easier than what the dentist tells you!”
It’s important to remember that all of the mould in your home isn’t always visible. It could be hiding underneath tiles and flooring and stuck between cracks. Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. to learn more about how our Mould Assessment Services can help you to prevent the health risks associated with mould. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Humidity represents the amount of water vapour in the air around you. And, as we all know, the summertime is generally when the air around us is the most humid. During the summer, the air holds more moisture. That’s what gives us that “sticky” feeling that the dry and cold winter air never provides. And while we shouldn’t really complain about the heat (winter is long enough, isn’t it?), it’s important for Canadians to find ways to limit the humidity in their homes.
Since humid air is filled with moisture, it is bound to cause some concerns within our households – not the least of which is mould growth. With mould present in the home, it leaves individuals who live within it susceptible to respiratory problems. This is especially true for people with asthma and other allergies. So what can you do to minimize the humidity in your home all summer long?
Just last week, we blogged about the beauty of keeping the windows open in the summertime. Allow us to reiterate the importance of allowing the air from outside to circulate with the air from inside. Now, you may be wondering – “if the air from outside is hot and humid, how does letting it inside reduce humidity?”
When warm air is “trapped” within the home, it ends up attaching itself to colder surfaces creating condensation – perfect breeding grounds for mould. This is why it’s also important to always turn the exhaust fans on in your bathrooms during bathing and kitchens during cooking. Ventilation is the key to reducing moisture. In addition, believe it or not, a closed up home can become more humid simply by virtue of the people inside it breathing.
“Mathematically speaking, it only takes between four and six pints of water to raise the humidity level inside of 1,000 square feet from a mere 15% to 60%,” says CriticalCactus.com, “The amount of people within the home can affect how much humidity is in the air as well. One person breathing produces about ¼ cup of water within an hour’s time.”
In keeping with the concept of bringing the outside inside in order to minimize moisture in the home, it’s a good idea to have houseplants throughout your home. But, it’s important to know which plants add moisture to the air and which ones absorb moisture.
As CriticalCactus.com points out, some houseplants are particularly adept at reducing moisture in the air. “Tropical plants called epiphytes such as English Ivy, Peace Lily, Reed Palm, Boston ferns and Tillandsia are plants that get all their water from the air instead through roots,” says the site.
With all of that extra sweating in your clothes that you’re doing this summer, you’re likely to have more loads of laundry than normal. However, it’s important to only do the laundry when you have full loads to wash. That way, you can limit how often you use the washing machine and dryer. Both machines produce a lot of humidity. In fact, you may want to consider drying your clothes outdoors. This saves you money as well!
Contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc. to learn more about how our Moisture Monitoring Services can help you! Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Most Canadians can admit that they spend far too much time indoors. Then again, it’s hard to blame those of us who choose to stay inside for the majority of the coldest months of the year. Summertime, however, offers us many amazing opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The warmth and sunshine make spending time outside as inviting as it gets!
Of course, there will be plenty of time spent indoors during the summer as well. After all, we do have to hit the hay at some point, right? It wise, then, to invite some of the outdoors inside by keeping the windows open. Yes, we’ve recommended this practice during the wintertime in order to get the air in your homes circulating and renewing itself with the fresh air from outside. But, opening the windows in the winter should only be done for short intervals of time.
During the summer, however, the warm temperatures practically give us no excuse to not keep the windows wide open all day long. As you may have guessed, the health benefits are many. One of the most obvious is the release of air pollutants. On PhantomScreens.com, Esther de Wolde reminds us that much of our indoor activities can produce air pollutants. This includes the acts of dusting, cleaning and painting.
“Some paints contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be harmful to health,” she explains, “And other delightful things like dust mites can cause asthma. So it may be a bit obvious but opening your home to the outside can clear out the nasties.”
On MindBodyGreen.com, James Maskell agrees that keeping the windows open is a healthful practice. He advocates the open window policy, however, for a pretty unique reason. Maskell explains that the human microbiome (the bugs that live inside us that aid in digestion, metabolism and immunity) is important for our overall health. Opening windows, he argues, helps to build the human microbiome.
“For most of human history, the outside was always part of the inside, and at no moment during our day were we ever really separated from nature,” he explains, “Yet modern humans spend a whopping 93% of their lives indoors, inside buildings or vehicles. Opening a window and increasing natural airflow has been shown to improve the diversity and health of the microbes in your home, which in turn benefit everyone inside.”
Another reason to keep the windows open during the summer: the circulation of air in your home also helps to prevent condensation and mould growth. “Damp window frames, condensation on your windows and worst of all: black mould,” says De Wolde, “Without adequate ventilation your home becomes a steamy box of germs. Nasty. Open the windows and get the air flowing through your home to stop the damp.”
The team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. supports the act of keeping windows open during the summer. We also are committed to helping improve the quality of air in your home via our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve all encountered mould. The green or brown or sometimes black guck that accumulates in and around our kitchen and bathrooms tiles is pretty unpleasant to look at. But it’s important to note that its unsightliness should be the least of your worries. Mould presents serious health implications – many of which we may not even realize are a result of the presence of mould in our homes.
Nasal and sinus congestion, coughing, sore throat, difficulty breathing, asthma symptoms, nosebleeds, headaches and eye irritations are all potential ramifications of indoor mould exposure. Obviously, preventing mould growth in the home is an important way to minimize or prevent the abovementioned health problems. But since mould thrives on moisture, how can we stop it from developing?
This can be especially tough in the bathroom – a place where we constantly use water. So, here are three ways to keep your bathrooms mould-free:
Most of us probably just get out of the shower and get ourselves ready for the day each morning. Because we are now clean, we assume that no other cleaning needs to be done. You’re not likely to clean your bathtub right after a shower, however, it’s wise to remember that it does require regular cleaning. On Care2.com, Diane MacEachern suggests that, at the very least, you give your shower and tub a wipe down right after you’ve used them.
“Keep a small squeegee in the shower so it’s convenient; you can get a squeegee very cheaply at a hardware store, home goods retailer, or online,” she recommends, “Or use a hand towel or washcloth to do the job. A cloth is particularly good at getting to the tile grout and in the corners where mould has a tendency to start.”
Those shower curtains of ours endure a lot of moisture on a regular basis. They are practically doused in water on a daily basis. However, unlike our bodies, we don’t dry our shower curtains off after a shower. Water is left to provide mould with the perfect breeding ground. You’ve likely seen your shower curtain become sticky and filmy. Be sure to clean it regularly so that mould doesn’t form. Or, do yourself one better and simply buy a shower curtain that is mould-resistant.
With so much water use in your bathroom, you’re bound to have more than just wet surfaces. With heat comes a lot of steam, as well. Water droplets can form on your ceilings, walls and counters, giving mould ideal spots to grow and develop. By cracking the windows and using the exhaust fans found in your bathrooms, you can promote ventilation to keep excess moisture at bay.
“Crack open a window and start your ceiling fan when you turn on the shower so excess moisture moves out of the room, rather than condenses on the walls and tile,” advises MacEachern, “Keep the fan running and the window cracked open at least 15 minutes after you turn the shower off to let as much moist air escape as possible.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services to help you eliminate the mould problem that may exist in your bathrooms. 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 email@example.com.