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Mould

Battling The Problem-Causing Presence Of Moisture

Damp moistureThe word “moisture” doesn’t generally carry with it much of an ominous aura. In fact, we usually use the word “moist” in a pleasant way – when describing the texture of a cake, for example. But in the world of indoor air quality, moisture is definitely a villain. The cause for many a problem with our breathing air, moisture needs to be kept to a minimum. The main reason is because of its allowance of mould growth.

It’s nearly impossible for us to avoid the presence of moisture in our homes. After all, we cook, shower, bathe, do the laundry, wash dishes and clean numerous times throughout each week. But when moisture accumulates, it can not only present a danger to your home’s structure and foundation, but it can also lead to the growth of mould. This can severely impact our breathing air, creating significant health problems.

How exactly can mould affect us? “For people sensitive to mould, inhaling or touching mould spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash,” explains WebMD.com, “People with serious mould allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath. In people with asthma who are allergic to mould, breathing in spores can also cause asthma attacks.”

So what can we do to reduce the moisture in our homes and keep mould at bay? According to Health Canada, there are a number of measures that should be taken. And they begin with addressing some of the daily activities that we all partake in. Firstly, it’s important to use our exhaust fans whenever we are showering, bathing, washing clothes or cooking. This will help for moisture to not accumulate on surfaces giving mould ideal breeding grounds.

Secondly, it’s important to look for leaks and cracks in our windows, floors and ceilings. Obviously, leaks can lead to the pooling of water which won’t help in your mould-prevention practices. It’s especially important to look for leaks during this time of year as the advent of spring often entails the melting of a lot of snow. Beware of flooding due to weather conditions, Health Canada warns us. You will also want to be mindful of the presence of condensation on cold surfaces in the home.

What else can be done to prevent moisture problems? “Ensure rain, irrigation water and snowmelt drain away from the house by sloping the grade away from the building,” advises Health Canada, “Keep eavestroughs and downspouts clean of debris and ensure that the outflow runs away from the house and not into neighbouring foundations.” They also recommend using “moisture tolerant materials” in areas that are likely to get wet, such as the kitchen and bathroom.

Can moisture be completely eliminated from the home? Certainly not. But as WebMD.com reminds us, “because mould spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mould growth. If there is already mould growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mould and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mould but don’t fix the problem, the mould will most likely return.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Moisture Monitoring Services that include the use of moisture meters, thermal scanning, hygrometer or related humidity monitoring as well as Mould Assessment Services. We look for leakage issues, construction failures and other occupant-based moisture sources to determine exact causes of mould growth in the 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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5 Ways To Prevent Mould Growth In Your Home

Interior decayUnfortunately, our respiratory systems have many enemies. And among all of the various pollutants of our breathing air that exist, mould is arguably the most prevalent. It’s probably safe to say that the fact that mould is dangerous to our health falls in the category of “common knowledge”. However, what is not so common is the direct attention that we all need to pay to keeping the growth of mould at bay in our homes.

This is because mould can occur just about anywhere in our homes. Obviously, we all spend a great deal of time within our respective living spaces. So if there is any location that needs to be free of mould, it’s our homes. But where exactly can mould be found? What are the most common areas for mould to begin to grow? According to Health Canada, basements, closets, window sills, roofs, and around sinks, tubs and pipes definitely require our attention.

Poor ventilation is listed as a major cause of poor indoor air quality thanks to mould. Not to mention, dampness and humidity are major factors in the growth of mould. Clearly, there are particular approaches to maintaining our homes that should be practiced in order to limit or completely eliminate mould growth. Here are five ways to prevent the growth of mould in your home.

1. Look for and repair any leaks. As mentioned, mould needs moisture to grow. Leaky pipes and leaks in your roof are major culprits in the development of mould. Many of these leaks can be occurring inside your walls, so they can be difficult to detect. Keep an eye on your walls and ceilings to detect any signs of water damage. “Repair any water leaks as soon as you notice them. Clean up immediately after any flood,” insists Health Canada.

2. Reduce humidity. When the weather is humid or it has been raining for a while, mould tends to form on surfaces in the home. Health Canada recommends that you “keep humidity low, about 50% in summer and 30% in colder weather. If needed, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity levels. You can use a hygrometer (an inexpensive tool available at most hardware stores) to measure humidity.”

3. Clean up around the house. Consider mould an uninvited house guest that enjoys playing “hide and seek”. And consider yourself someone who doesn’t enjoy playing such a game. The more clutter you have in your home, the more opportunities you give mould to hide from you. Health Canada insists that you throw out your basement clutter since “cardboard boxes and old clothes are great places for mould to grow.”

4. Keep your home well ventilated. In other words, you have to allow your home to breathe. Opening up the windows allows for a circulation of air that prevents pockets of stale or moist air that mould uses to thrive in. Remember that while cooking or taking a shower, there is often steam that arises from the heat. This creates humidity that will keep surfaces wet for longer periods of time than necessary.

5. Use exhaust fans. During the colder days of the year, you’re not going to be able to open those windows, or keep them open for very long if you do. On such days, be sure to make use of your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when cooking or showering, recommends Health Canada. You should also allow the fans to keep running for, at least, a few minutes after you are done. Following each of these steps will help to stave off the growth of mould in your home.

As we pointed out, however, you won’t always be able to see the mould that exists in your living space. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services so that you can know for sure. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Examining Air Quality Problems Due To Moisture

Blue Tiles in Swimming PoolWhen looking for a new home or office space, there are a number of obvious things that we often consider. Ample space, good lighting and a sense of overall comfort generally come to mind as necessities. But it’s also incredibly important to be mindful of the air quality of your new property. Is there anything truly more important than the quality of the air we breathe? Perhaps, we sometimes forget about this, considering we don’t generally see air.

It’s the whole “out of sight, out of mind” thing when it comes to our breathing air, isn’t it? And that’s why it’s so important to get professionals to test your property’s breathing air before settling on it. This is especially true considering that there are factors that are often difficult to detect with the naked eye. Take moisture, for example. You may be surprised to know just how damaging the presence of moisture can be on air quality.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, “moisture is continually being released inside your home: 10 to 50 litres (2 to 10 gallons) every day…A cord of wood stored in your home, for example, can release more than 270 litres of moisture. Excess moisture can result in moisture problems, which can lead to air quality problems.” So what are some of the biggest air quality problems caused by moisture?

The development of mould. The growth of mould in your home or office is often a direct result of there being too much moisture. Mould simply thrives in environments where humidity is high. This is often a result of there being little to no exchange of air between the outdoors and the indoors. As the CMHC points out, “mould growing in your home can release mould spores, toxins from mould, and mouldy odours.” And this can lead to severe health problems.

According to Health Canada, there are number of health issues that can result from breathing in mould spores. Among them are eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and phlegm build-up and wheezing and shortness of breath. They also reveal that those with asthma, severe allergies and sensitive immune systems are most deeply affected by the presence of mould in their breathing air.

Structural damage due to condensation. “Condensation” is a term most often associated with the wetness found on the outside of a glass when cold liquid is poured into it. This is because “when warm, moist air comes into contact with a surface that is too cold, moisture condenses,” explains the CMHC. But when condensation occurs in your property, it can lead to a fair bit of damage. The structure of the building itself can become weaker.

In addition, the possessions contained within the property can experience damage. The CMHC reveals that excess condensation can be formed due to inappropriate use of humidifiers as well as evaporation from showers, washing dishes and clothes, cooking, aquariums, standing water, people, pets and plants. One solution is to “discontinue use of humidifiers and use a dehumidifier in the basement during fall, spring and summer.”

To reduce the amount of condensation in your home or place of business, it is recommended that you keep the surfaces inside your property warm. To do this, the CMHC suggests that you upgrade your windows so that they are more energy-efficient, install adequate insulation so as to keep your walls and ceilings warm and provide sufficient heat to all of the indoor areas of your property.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the air quality of your home or office very seriously. Our Moisture Monitoring Services evaluate your building for moisture sources including building envelop failures, leakage issues or occupant-based moisture sources. Locating and eliminating such sources will help to prevent mould and other air quality problems. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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  1. John M.-Reply
    March 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    These articles are great! Keep up the good work. It’s nice to know that the Mould fighters are on our side!

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3 Major Reasons Air Quality Tests Fail

Clean AirAt DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., it is our mission to ensure that the air you’re breathing is clean and pure. Our indoor air quality experts provide top-of-the-line Air Quality, Moisture Monitoring and Mould Assessment Services as just a few of the many ways that we seek to keep your breathing air as pollutant-free as possible. Testing your breathing air is obviously an important step in ensuring the health and safety of your loved ones and co-workers.

Whether it is your home or office, any property that you spend a significant amount of time in should be tested for its air quality. As you’re probably aware, air quality isn’t exactly something you can test with the naked eye – or naked nose for that matter! While odour is often a telltale sign of an unclean airspace, there a number of other factors that contribute to failed air quality tests. Here are three major ones.

1. High humidity. Moisture is one of the top factors in the development of mould and other irritants to our respiratory system. The more humidity found in an area, the greater the chances of there being negative health effects. On CubeSensors.com, Alja Isakovic explains that high humidity can create a feeling of stale air that can make your hair frizzy. “That’s because more humidity in the air means your sweat is not evaporating as fast as it usually does,” she writes.

She goes on to note, however, that a high degree of humidity can have serious side effects. Among them are sleeping problems and the aforementioned development of moulds, as well as harmful bacteria and dust mites. “And moulds are not just an eye sore,” Isakovic reminds us, “They release mould spores into the air you breathe throughout the day. Some of these spores can trigger allergies, asthma attacks, irritate your eyes, nose or throat, and bring on a whole bunch of other respiratory problems.”

2. High carbon dioxide. We all know that we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. And there’s a reason for that. We’re expelling air that the body does not require. If there are high traces of carbon dioxide in your breathing air, it could be a sign that the area is not well ventilated. However, the small concentration that results from our breathing isn’t considered dangerous. Of course, carbon dioxide isn’t only created by the air that we expel into the atmosphere.

“There are both natural and human sources of carbon dioxide emissions,” explains the What’s Your Impact? blog, “Natural sources include decomposition, ocean release and respiration. Human sources come from activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.” If you work in these fields, it is important to monitor the air quality of your working environments as carbon dioxide can be dangerous in high concentrations.

3. High carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide doesn’t need high concentrations to be dangerous. This gas can be deadly within minutes. Because it is odourless, colourless and tasteless, it is practically impossible to detect without a professional inspection. As SilentShadow.org explains it, “once carbon monoxide has been breathed in, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, thus killing off cells and starving vital organs of oxygen.”

Carbon monoxide is arguably the most alarming reason for an air quality test to fail. The presence of this gas in your home or office requires immediate attention. “The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream,” informs SilentShadow.org, “When breathed in, carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen which cells need to function.” As a result, flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells and confusion can occur.

Let’s ensure the safety of your breathing air. For more information about the Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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5 Important Reasons To Eliminate Mould

green dustMould is a problem. We may not always realize how damaging the effects of mould can be to our health when we see it growing on some food that has been left out for too long. But we should realize that if mould is growing in certain areas of our homes and offices, it should certainly be removed. Sometimes, mould is hard to detect. After all, if it’s hiding behind the walls or underneath heaping piles of your belongings, you may not even know it’s there.

Do you smell something musty in the air? This might be the first sign that you have a mould issue. As Dr. Edward F. Group III of GlobalHealingCenter.com points out, “most of the toxic mould floating around in our air is actually invisible to the naked eye, but still may be seriously affecting your health.” So you can’t just rely on what you see to determine whether or not you have a mould problem. You should consider how you’re feeling as well.

Are you experiencing any allergic reactions? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).” Enduring any of these symptoms may also be a sign that you have some mould to eliminate from your property. Here are five other important reasons to eliminate mould.

1. The body requires clean air to function. According to Dr. Group, an environment free of mould helps for us all to function normally. “Ancient oriental medicine tells us that clean, fresh air, is one of the most important components of not only physical, but also mental health,” he writes, “Simply put, without clean air, the body cannot function properly. When the body is not functioning properly, the mind cannot function with ease and clarity.”

2. It can cause depression. Who would have thought that there was a correlation between the air we breathe and the way we think? Dr. Group writes that “a groundbreaking report from 2007 stated that scientists found a direct correlation between a high presence of mould in households and depression.” He also reveals that other studies have found links between airborne mould spores and depression.

3. Mould can be anywhere. Mould isn’t exactly all that easy to avoid considering that it can attach itself to our daily-used items and belongings. Dr. Group explains that mould enjoys growing in warm and humid environments and can live off of any organic matter. This includes our clothing and food. It can also grow on bathroom walls, shower walls, carpets, doors, window sills, ceilings and wallpaper.

4. It can be hard to detect. To reiterate a point made earlier, we can’t assume that there is no mould growing in our homes and offices simply because we don’t see it. Mould needs only moisture to find a home. As the EPA explains, “moulds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mould may begin growing indoors when mould spores land on surfaces that are wet.”

5. The more mould there is, the more dangerous it gets. “Although a small amount of mould and mildew won’t hurt most of us, it begins to become a big problem when the mould spores get out of hand,” writes Dr. Group, “When quantity does get out of hand, or when individuals who are highly sensitive to toxic mould, breathe it in, it can present a serious health hazard.” Therefore, to avoid health issues caused by mould, it’s important to professionally inspect your property.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer top-quality Mould Assessment Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Making Mould Removal A Top Priority

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen most people think of mould, they conjure up images of a sandwich that has been left out for too long and has begun to grow that “green stuff”. Recognizing mould as a sign that food has gone bad, generally causes us to do no more than throw out the expired eats. There are, however, several types of moulds. And, as you may have guessed, they’re not exactly good for your health. So preventing exposure is an important practice.

So how many types of moulds are there? Well, there are several. But as MedicineNet.com explains it, the one to most watch out for are those that are commonly found in our households. The common types of household moulds, says the site, are known as Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Aspergillus. There not exactly all that easy to pronounce, are they? And often, they’re not all that easy to detect.

MedicineNet.com explains, however, that “Stachybotrys chartarum” is the greenish-black mould that often grows on household surfaces that have a high cellulose content. This includes materials such as wood, fibreboard, gypsum board, paper, dust and lint. And while you may not realize that you are being affected by mould, any bouts of wheezing, sneezing, sniffling, coughing, watery eyes, itchy eyes, runny nose or rash could be signs that you have a mould problem.

And while everyone is at risk, there are some of us who are more susceptible to these symptoms of mould exposure than others. Infants and children are more at risk than most adults. However, pregnant women and those who suffer from respiratory problems, allergies and asthma will also have quite difficult times if they are exposed to mould. In addition to potential asthma attacks, such individuals may also encounter flu-like symptoms, headaches and even memory loss.

Unfortunately, mould exposure can cause us all a lot more harm than that. The previously-mentioned Stachybotrys has been known to create compounds with toxic properties known as mycotoxins. On his website, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains that “Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mould spore, which you then unwittingly inhale, ingest, or touch. These mould toxins are extremely potent and often affect nearly every organ system in your body.”

Needless to say, this is some pretty scary stuff. In fact, these facts suggest that many of our common health problems could potentially be a result of mould exposure. But Dr. Mercola reveals that mycotoxins can actually cause damage to our brains. “Some are neurotoxic and produce central nervous system effects, including cognitive and behavioral changes, ataxia, and convulsions,” he explains, “Approximately 70 percent of the people with confirmed exposure to toxigenic moulds exhibit significant neurotoxicity.”

So what can be done about mould? Clearly, it’s a big enough problem that a solid solution is necessary. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we confidently provide that solution through our Mould Assessment Services. As part of our commitment to you, our expert staff will assess, analyze and report on your home, office or building. During our comprehensive assessments, we perform a number of important duties.

They include visual inspections for sources of mould, an analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning. We guarantee top-of-the-line service to ensure upon the safety of your home or place of business. We make ridding your property of mould a top priority. For more information on our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Getting to the Bottom of Mould in your Building

Moulds, from the Kingdom Fungi, are microscopic organisms that can be found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors.  They are a natural part of the decay and decomposition cycle of all organic materials.  Organic materials refer to those materials that are or were once living, such as leaves, grass, wood, papers and foods.  There are reportedly more than 100,000 species of mould and some estimates of 1,000,000 species of mould present on the earth today.  Also contained within the Fungi Kingdom are Mildews and Yeasts.

Some of these moulds or fungi are favorable to us as we eat them with our salads and steaks, however other varieties are not quite so enjoyable.  Most moulds are regarded as allergen reaction producing or asthma triggers given the right conditions to most if not all humans.  In fact some mould species produce toxins in an effort to protect themselves and the areas in which they live. Unfortunately, some times these areas are in our homes making for an unwanted tenant in your home.

So what does mould look like to the average person! Mould as it grows will take on a wide variety of different colors depending on when you look at it during its life cycle, the material that it is growing on and finally the type or species of mould.  In fact during the early growth phases of many moulds there is no visible color and it is not until later on in the life cycle that the colors become present in the spore production phase.  Many resources talk about black mould and to be aware of this type of mould.  Not all black mould is the toxin producing mould, typically thought to be Stachybotrys.

Discoloration on a surface may be an indication of a mould problem within your home along with a musty or earthy odour.  If an odour exists with no visible indication the mould may be hidden from view, for example below a raised sub-floor, within a wall cavity or some other concealed area.  Just because you cannot see the growth does not mean that there is not a problem.

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