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Mould

The Importance Of Monitoring Temperature And Humidity In The Home

Mold and moisture buildup on wall of a modern houseIt’s official. Summer is over. We’re now approximately one week into the autumn season. And that means that Canadians can be guaranteed one thing: much colder days are ahead! And while most of us enjoyed the warmth and sunshine that traditionally came along with the summer season, the time has finally come to admit that those warm and sunny days won’t be back for a while. The sun may shine over the next few months…but it will be chilly out there!

So what do Canadians do when it’s cold outside? Well, they stay inside more often, of course. And, naturally, they turn up the thermostats. And while it’s generally quite enjoyable to stay warm and toasty during our lengthy winters, the heat that we’re inviting into our homes has the potential to bring about legitimate health concerns. With heat often comes humidity which involves added moisture in the air. Moisture, as you’re likely aware, invites mould into your home.

It’s important, therefore, for us all to be mindful of just how much moisture is in the air when we are heating our homes. Preventing mould growth begins with being able to adequately measure air moisture. You see, the warmer the air, the more moisture the air can hold. And the more moisture in the air, the more likely your home will be to develop mould. Mould spores, once airborne, can significantly impact our breathing.

How does mould impact our breathing? When a person is exposed to indoor mould, his/her allergies really begin acting up. This is especially true for sufferers of asthma or other respiratory issues. Mould can irritate our eyes, our skin and our lungs even if we don’t have any allergies. And that’s because mould spores can very easily find themselves living throughout our indoor environments making us all susceptible to coming into contact with them.

How does the heating of our homes promote mould growth? When warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces – say, for example, windows, furniture or walls – it can create condensation. This is because the cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warmer air. So it forms as liquid on those surfaces. Because liquid is present, it provides the perfect conditions for mould to grow. This is why it’s so important to monitor the humidity in your home.

How is humidity measured? Humidity can be measured with a device called a hygrometer. There is a wide variety of hygrometers which ranges from simplistic instruments to multi-functional devices that can measure both temperature and humidity levels. Temperature readings are available in either Fahrenheit or Celsius and humidity scales range from 1% to 100% relative humidity.

What is an ideal indoor relative humidity level in the winter? “Experts have developed rules of thumb to help homeowners make decisions regarding humidity levels in their houses,” informs Mark Salerno in The Toronto Sun, “For example, during the winter, relative humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%, or even lower to avoid condensation on windows. High relative humidity promotes the growth of mould and dust mites.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Moisture Monitoring Services that evaluate your home for moisture sources. They may include building envelop failures, leakage issues or occupant-based sources. Our assessments may involve moisture meters, thermal scanning and hygrometer readings. 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 Benefits Of Vinegar And Baking Soda For Mould Removal

baking soda and vinegar on the white backgroundFor most of us, mould is pretty hard to avoid. Although we may all take measures to prevent it from rearing its ugly head in our homes, it appears inevitable that some mould will show up. This is especially true in the warmest and dampest areas of our home. The bathroom, of course, is the location that usually first comes to mind. And that’s because, for obvious reasons, it often gets wet in there.

Do you have a problem with black mould appearing in your shower stall or bathtub tiles? If so, you’re not alone. Because so many of us have seen such mould forming in our bathrooms, it tends to be considered normal. But there’s nothing normal about allowing mould to live in our homes. It should go without saying that measures should be taken to remove it as quickly as possible.

The thing is, when we begin attacking mould, we often do so with store-bought products that contain a lot of toxic chemicals. The stronger the smell of these products, the harsher the chemicals usually are. It’s important, therefore, to come up with mould-removing solutions that won’t present any health hazards. And there are two household products that actually form quite the tag team in the world of mould removal – vinegar and baking soda.

How does vinegar combat mould growth? As explained by Maids.com, “Vinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mould species.” And because we often use vinegar in our food, you may have guessed that it isn’t hazardous to our health. Perhaps, its potent smell is the only downside to using it in our bathrooms to remove mould. But it generally subsides shortly after its use anyways.

“Use white distilled vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle without watering it down,” instructs Maids.com, “Spray the vinegar onto the mouldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours, but if it lingers, you can freshen up the space with bowls of lemon water around the area.”

How does baking soda combat mould growth? “Baking soda is a mild, white mineral powder, that can be used to kill mould in your home, plus it is safe for your family and pets,” assures Maids.com, “In addition to killing mould, it will absorb moisture to help keep mould away.” As you may already be aware, baking soda is used for a wide variety of purposes and is incredibly inexpensive – so it comes in quite handy as a multi-purpose household product.

“To properly care for your bathroom and remove the mould from tile grout, you will need a good scrub brush and baking soda,” asserts Melissa Maker on NaturallySavvy.com, “To effectively scrub the mould away, treat the grout between tiles and the caulking with a paste made of water and baking soda. Leave on for as long as you need to…Spray the tiles with water and use a scrub brush to clean the grout with a brisk back and forth motion. Rinse well and buff dry.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we understand that mould removal isn’t always that easy. That’s why we offer our 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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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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The Impact Of A Dirty Home On Indoor Air Quality

Depositphotos_48440033_s-2015Have you ever been to dinner with a friend and noticed a bit of food stuck in his/her teeth? We all have. The question is, do you say something about it? It’s not all that big a deal, right? But it tends to bother you nonetheless. Most people, we would venture to guess, would kindly point out the trapped food to allow their friends to remove the potentially embarrassing remnants of their meals. But this kind gesture isn’t so easy to offer in other situations.

Take, for example, the state of a person’s home. We all have our own particular tendencies for the ways in which we maintain the states of our places of living. Have you ever been to someone’s home and couldn’t help but notice how messy it is? Do you see dust on all of the furniture and pet hair strewn all over the floor? Do you notice grime in the tiles and stains in the carpets? What do you say in such situations?

Although most would likely keep their opinions about their friends’ messy homes to themselves, they’d actually be providing big favours by making mention of them. This is because cleaner homes foster healthier lifestyles. The messier a home is, the worse it is for its indoor air quality. And this can present long-term negative health effects. Dust is an especially big problem for those with asthma and allergies.

How does dust become a major health problem? On ImmaculateClean.com, it is explained that bedrooms and living rooms that aren’t regularly cleaned become major problem areas. “If your living room has not been vacuumed or its curtains are not clean, then you risk exposing you and your family to allergy-inducing dust mites, pet dander, mold, and other free-floating debris,” explains the site, “These problems can also trigger asthma attacks in people who are prone to them.”

On BranchBasics.com, Marilee Nelson suggests that, thanks to dust, the dirtiest part of your home may very well be the air that you’re breathing. After all, air is invisible and generally odourless, so you’re not prone to consider the ways in which you can clean it. People tend to only clean surface areas of the home that they can see. And, in many cases, the cleaning products they’re using are only serving to worsen the quality of the air in the home.

How do some cleaning products worsen indoor air quality? “Conventional cleaning methods often fail to address the indoor air pollutants that could be making you sick,” reports Nelson, “In fact, cleaning with products containing synthetic fragrance and other harmful chemicals or with an unsealed vacuum cleaner can actually leave the indoor air quality in your home worse than when you started cleaning.”

How does mould become a major health problem? Bathrooms are often places where household cleaning products are used. Of course, it only makes sense to keep bathrooms clean. But, once again, not everyone practices the same home cleaning routines. As a result, some bathrooms become havens for mould growth which can exacerbate asthma symptoms as well as cause eye, nose and throat irritation.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we have always taken the issue of indoor air quality very seriously. If your home (or the home of a friend) isn’t regularly cleaned, you could be leaving its inhabitants open to unnecessary health hazards. Our Air Quality Services pinpoint a home’s areas of concern to enable its residents to live in a cleaner environment. 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 Safe And Effective Ways To Rid Bathrooms Of Black Mould

Preparation for the removal of mold and yellow gloves against the mold on wall.It’s so annoying, isn’t it? Even the neatest of neat freaks notice that irritating black mould that always seems to find its way to grow in the tiles of our shower stalls. Even with regular weekly cleanings, they won’t disappear. Some of us get used to it and seem content to just leave it as it is. After all, it’s been there for so long, it’s practically part of the decor! But then, there are those of us who simply need to eliminate black mould from our lives.

There are many solutions to the black mould problem, but not all of them appear to be worthwhile. Bleach, for example, is highly heralded as a mould killer. However, while it is effective in killing mould in non-porous materials such as tiles, bathtubs, glass and countertops, it cannot penetrate into porous materials. This means that mould growing beneath the surface of such materials as wood and drywall cannot be removed.

So what are the safest and most effective ways to rid our bathrooms of black mould? Here are three suggestions:

1. Borax. This white, powdered product easily dissolves in water to become and effective black mould remover. According to Cleanipedia.com, your best bet is to mix a cup of borax with a gallon of water and transfer the solution to a clean spray bottle. Spray the black mould, leave it for a few minutes and then wipe it away. The end result should be a clean, shiny, mould-free surface.

As Blackmold.Awardspace.com informs us, “there are many advantages to using borax to kill mould. For starters, borax is a natural cleaning product and although it is toxic if you swallow it, borax does not emit chemicals or dangerous fumes like some other mould killers…Borax is commonly used as a deodorizer as well as for cleaning toilets and drains…You can buy borax in supermarkets for a few dollars from the laundry section.”

2. Vinegar. Household vinegar is often championed as an effective cleanser. And it just so happens that it is also a reliable remover of black mould. Cleanipedia.com also advises that you spray white distilled vinegar on to the affected area of your bathroom. A few hours later, says the website, both the noticeable smell of the vinegar and the black mould you wish to remove should disappear.

Blackmold.Awardspace.com agrees that vinegar is both a safe and effective mould killer. “Vinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mould species,” reports the website, “However it also has the advantages of being natural and safe. Vinegar is non-toxic and doesn’t give off dangerous fumes like bleach does.” The site also recommends that vinegar be regularly used to clean surfaces in order to keep surfaces mould-free.

3. Baking soda. Baking soda is also often used as a natural and safe household cleaner. Many people use it as a deodorizer as well. Baking soda, however, is a known mould killer. Without any harsh chemicals, it can be trusted to clean your home without causing any health hazards. Blackmold.Awardspace.com informs that, in conjunction with vinegar, baking soda make a very effective mould remover.

“You’ll need one teaspoon of washing up liquid, one cup of baking soda, and a few drops of something fragrant (we recommend lavender or citrus oil),” advises Cleanipedia.com, “Then add water and mix until the solution becomes a viscous paste and you’re done – a natural black mould remover.” The one problem, however, that these cleansers can’t solve is removing mould that you can’t see!

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. we offer Mould Assessment Services which include techniques that allow us to assess, analyze and report on any mould found in your home or other property. 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 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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How Do Live Christmas Trees Impact Indoor Air Quality?

Family decorating beautiful live Christmas tree.It’s that time of year again! The holidays are well on the way. And you know what that means for people all over the world – it’s time to put up the decorations! Canadians seem to especially love this time of year. With winter imagery so directly associated with Christmas, it’s quite enjoyable to “deck the halls” with as many seasonal decorations as possible. After all, Canada is certainly known for its winters. And most Canadians see the end-of-year holiday season as the best part of winter.

Of course, it’s important to be take precautions when bringing the winter indoors. Most people choose to decorate their homes with store-bought materials that are safe, for the most part. But there are still some traditionalists who like to include live evergreen trees as part of their Christmas decor. Is bringing the outside in all that dangerous? Can it present a problem for our health?

Do live Christmas trees negatively impact indoor air quality? As far as Brian Bussey of Bussey Environmental Inc. is concerned, the answer is yes. “Live Christmas trees can carry pathogenic mould spores that proliferate rapidly in the cozy warmth of your living room,” he writes, “One study showed that indoor mould counts went from 800 to 5,000 spores per cubic meter by the fourteenth day a Christmas tree had been kept indoors.”

Just how bad is the increase of indoor mould due to live Christmas trees? Honestly, it’s pretty bad. In fact, Bussey refers to it as “an explosion of mould growth”. This is because the average healthy home tests at about 600 mould spores per cubic metre. This information was discovered at the conclusion of a study by researchers, John Santilli, M.D. of St. Vincent Medical Center in Connecticut and Rebecca Gruchalla, M.D. of University of Texas.

What symptoms can live Christmas trees trigger? If you’re an asthmatic, you know the symptoms all too well. Wheezing and a shortness of breath have been known to be caused by having live trees inside the home. Of course, these symptoms are common among allergy sufferers who are exposed to mould spores. So, it should go without saying that such individuals should stick to the plastic variety of Christmas trees each holiday season.

But what makes live Christmas trees so prone to the development of mould? It has a lot to do with how they are stored prior to sale, says Patricia Kirk on WebMD.com. She too, writes of the study conducted by Santilli and Gruchalla and comments upon the relationship between live Christmas trees and a rise in indoor mould spores.

According to Kirk, Gruchalla says that “the relationship between live Christmas trees and a rise in indoor mould spores comes as no surprise, particularly since most Christmas trees are cut well in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment before being placed on a lot for sale. Then they’re then taken home and placed in water too.” She goes on to note that such trees collect dust while in storage and should be shaken out prior to being brought inside, if you insist on them.

So how do you plan on decorating your home for the upcoming holidays? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we certainly recommend that you do in the safest way possible. Promoting good indoor air quality while beautifying your home for Christmas should be your priority. For more information on our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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