In order for nasty mould to rear its ugly head in your home, it requires a particular set of conditions. A dark and damp location with little to no ventilation will generally do the trick. A warm and humid environment always helps as well. This is why mould growth should be a particular concern of yours during the winter months.
Because it’s so cold outside, we all tend to shut the windows and turn up the heat, right? This presents the warmth necessary for mould to grow. Add the strong possibility of condensation on the windows or leaky roofs to the equation and now you have those all-important wet spots to set the perfect situations for mould to develop.
Looking to avoid seeing any mould in your home this winter? Here are three ways to prevent it from growing:
Were you aware that your ceiling fans should be used to circulate the air in your home during both the summer and winter seasons? If so, were you aware that the rotation of the ceiling fan should be different in each season? During the summer, it should turn counter-clockwise, while in the winter, it should turn clockwise.
“If you have all the fans in the house set this way, cold air is pulled up and warm air is drawn downward, which not only keeps your home warmer but keeps the utility bills lower too,” explains ServiceMaster NCR, “Your furnace won’t have to turn on as often, so your budget will thank you. Ceiling fans move air around, which keeps condensation from building up on cold walls and windows, which is another source of mould growth.”
We recently spoke to a colleague who informed us that her roof had some leaks in it. Following a recent snowstorm, the leaks became serious issues. No less than three buckets were necessary to catch the drips on the days following the snowstorm when the white, fluffy stuff was starting to melt. Almost immediately, she noticed brownish stains on the walls and the ceiling. Clearly, the onset of mould doesn’t take very long.
Obviously, it’s pretty important to dry any and all wet areas as soon as you see them. “Many parts of the house—windows, mirrors, plumbing pipes— tend to be chronically damp in winter due to ongoing condensation,” informs Rytech, “Quickly removing moisture with a towel prevents these areas from becoming potential focus points for mould growth.”
We admit that this is a year-round tip. But it deserves to be repeated. Don’t take the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms for granted. They’re in there for a reason. Both rooms are prone to have a lot of moisture. Without turning on the fans, the moisture is more susceptible to pooling, providing greater chances for mould to develop.
“Proper air circulation doesn’t allow moisture to build up and feed mould spores because the fans remove it to the outside,” says ServiceMaster NCR, “Cooking and bathing create more steam in winter because there’s a greater temperature contrast between the indoors and outdoors. Be sure to use exhaust fans every time you cook or bathe and consider keeping dehumidifiers in these rooms to help with mould control.”
Let’s work together on preventing mould growth in your home this winter! For information about our Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
In just over a week, Halloween will be here! On behalf of the entire DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team, we’d like to wish you all a very happy Halloween! Chances are this forthcoming evening of October 31st will be one when you open your doors to many scarily-dressed kids in order to offer them their annual collection of candies. We can’t help but think about how much good that additional fresh air will do for your home.
Then again, we’re always thinking about how to improve indoor air quality. And since we’re on the topic of trick or treating, we figured we’d offer up some ideas about how you can offer yourself some treats of a different nature.
Here are three reminders of how to treat your home to better indoor air quality:
Not only are the little ones going to be donning spooky attire in a little over a week’s time, they’ll also be pretty bundled up. It’s clearly cooler these days than it was in the summer. Having already experienced a snowfall, the Calgary area is one where trick or treaters definitely need to keep warm. We imagine that the need to be warm and cozy is the same when you’re in your home. However, when you turn up the heat, you run the risk of making it too humid. And humidity breeds mould-inducing moisture
“Mould and mites absolutely love a bit of moisture in the home,” Collin Creek Home Air Care warns, “They thrive in it. To prevent them from blooming and lowering your air quality, keep a healthy humidity level within the household to improve your air quality. A dehumidifier can reduce the moisture indoors. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to clean the ducts or use an exhaust fan, too.”
Halloween is certainly the time of year when sweets are plentiful. However, not all sweet smells come in treat form. Those disinfectants, deodorizers, wipes and other cleansers you find in the stores aren’t good for your respiratory system. All of the synthetic scents are indicators that volatile organic compounds are present. Switch them out for natural cleansers to better the air you breathe in your home.
“You may associate that lemony or piney scent with a clean kitchen or clean clothes,” writes Jeanie Lerche Davis on WebMD.com, “But synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air. You won’t find their names on the product labels. Conventional laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and air fresheners in solid, spray, and oil form may all emit such gasses.”
You know what’s scarier than any Halloween costume you could imagine? The diseases caused by cigarette smoke – they’re all deadly! As Collin Creek Home Air Care correctly confirms, smoking is often considered the single largest culprit in low air quality within the home.
“Second-hand cigarette smoke clouds the air, causing illness and lowering the quality of life indoors,” notes their website, “Cigarette smoke has a bad habit of getting into the ducts where it festers and coats everything, causing worsening pollutants and mould.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we would be happy to treat your home to a professional inspection of its air. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know. Fall hasn’t even started yet. But, as all Canadians are aware, winter will be just around the corner in no time. Some Canadians actually believe there are only two seasons in Canada and that they can flip back and forth at any time.
“One day, it’s summer and the next day, it’s winter,” commented one of our colleagues earlier this week, “It all depends on if the day is warm enough to take off your jacket. That’s how I see it!” Needless to say, we all have to prepare for chillier days. And preparation requires a lot more than layering up. The cold and snowy wintertime is time of year when we all need to be concerned about the possibilities of mould growth in our homes.
“If you live in a cold climate, kicking up the heater during winter months doesn’t just keep you warm—it also helps to create a perfect environment for winter mould and mildew,” writes Autumn Yates on Highya.com, “Mould and mildew have a lot of similarities. They’re both likely to grow in moist, warm areas and are adept at surviving on a wide variety of surfaces.”
So what can you do to prevent the growth of mould when the weather gets cold?
With winter comes snow. And with melted snow comes water. If there are any cracks in the walls of your home, it is possible that water can leak through and pool in places that may go unnoticed. Remember that mould and mildew grow in moist and damp areas. So be sure to keep an eye out for any leaks in your home throughout the winter.
“Watch for leaks in common areas such as windows, exterior-to-interior doorways, and the surrounding areas by swamp coolers and skylights,” advises Yates, “Not only should you be on high alert for leaks coming from the outdoors, but don’t forget to check your indoor plumbing as a possible culprit for excess moisture. Check for hidden leaks in areas such as under bathroom and kitchen sinks.”
What happens when you step through the front door of your home all winter long? You bring snow, slush and sleet with you. Sure, you can take off your boots and leave them by the front door. But without regularly cleaning the area, you’re practically inviting pools of water to remain so that mould can find a cozy place to flourish. To help things, Yates suggests the removal of any carpeted areas near your front door way.
“Washable floor surfaces can be especially helpful in entryways (versus carpeting), where constantly tracking in moisture can quickly lead to mould growth,” she writes, “In instances where you do have carpet up to the door and can’t do much about it (such as when renting), take care to vacuum the area regularly, inspecting for signs of any mould near the baseboards or where your carpet meets the wall.”
Let’s work together on eliminating mould growth from your home this winter! 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.
For most people, enjoying the summer means spending as much time out and about in the sun as possible. And, for others, it means taking the opportunity to relax and unwind at home. For those who enjoy the comforts of their own homes, it’s important to note that the quality of the air you breathe should be kept at the highest level possible all summer.
Here are three ways to do that:
Canadians have an interesting problem and an even more interesting way of dealing with it. The winters are too cold. So we shut the windows and turn up the heat. Our summers tend to get pretty hot. So we shut the windows and turn on the air conditioner. No matter the season, to better your indoor air quality, it’s best to crack open those windows and allow the air from outside to circulate with the air from inside.
New Jersey’s Air Group explains just how important it is to ventilate your home. “Most HVAC systems do not automatically bring fresh air in, so remember to crack a window or invest in a filtration systems,” advises their website, “Try to never use any chemical household products in spaces without ventilation. For instance, if you’re cleaning the bathroom, if you can’t open a window, at least turn on the fan.”
When it gets hot and humid, it can certainly make for uncomfortable conditions. However, humidity can also present your home with some mould and mildew issues. Remember that the presence of humidity involves the presence of moisture. When moisture accumulates on the surfaces within your home, it can create breeding grounds for mould and mildew. Be sure to check the humidity levels in your area each day.
“The most humid parts of most homes are the basements, attics, crawlspaces, and closets,” warns Minnesota’s Blue Ox Heating & Air, “Check these parts of your home for signs of humidity like condensation, mould growth, dust accumulation, and wet air. The best way to quickly protect against humidity is by fixing cracks and gaps in your home’s insulation and investing in a dehumidifier.”
This is a tip we’ve provided on numerous occasions throughout the history of our blog. We’re willing to bet this won’t be the last time we offer it, as well. Cleaning products with fresh scents are all the rage. But they shouldn’t be. We know that a pleasant smell usually connotes cleanliness. But it doesn’t. Such products are riddled with volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. They can cause numerous health issues including headaches and nausea.
“Keep in mind; those lemon or pine scented sprays that we use to clean the kitchen and bathroom smell nice but they are spraying chemicals into the air,” informs Lorry on EBlogin.com, “Examples of these products are fabric softeners, laundry detergents, dryer sheets and air fresheners. Chemicals in these products have been known to cause a variety of health concerns in humans when they are inhaled.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re committed to helping you enjoy high indoor air quality in your home all summer. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is some of the simplest advice we’ll ever be able to give you: keep your home clean! If you’re concerned about the air you breathe while you’re inside your home, it’s best to become a neat freak, of sorts. Dust, vacuum, mop, wipe – all of these practices will help you to breathe a little easier.
We admit, however, that being neat and tidy is a lot easier for some than others. Hoarders, of course, are the exact opposite of neat freaks. And to be fair, it’s important to understand that individuals who hoard are generally considered to have mental and emotional hardships. They feel the need to hold on to often-useless items for sentimental value. And, unfortunately, the practice of hoarding can bring about very serious health issues.
No home inhabited by a hoarder is one that is safe for breathing. With a multitude of pollutants in the air, you’re unquestionably doing harm to your respiratory system when inside the home. Obviously, a hoarder is unable to unearth the dirt, grime, dust and mould from their homes’ surfaces as they are all covered up with objects. This makes it near impossible to improve the home’s air quality.
“The large amount of dust in hoarders’ homes and the odours and ammonia from decaying products cause serious indoor air quality issues and can result in various respiratory problems – chronic coughing, shortness of breath, inflammation of the lungs, etc.,” explains Luke Armstrong on RestorationMasterFinder.com, “Clutter can even fall on air vents and/or block other airways, causing lack of oxygen and raising the carbon dioxide levels in the house.”
If you’ve ever seen an episode of the A&E series, “Hoarders”, you’ve undoubtedly caught gruesome glimpses of homes that are infested with bugs and even rodents. Both the messes and the waste these creatures leave behind create an environment that is virtually toxic.
“Cockroaches, rats, flies, and other pests are attracted to rotting food and animal waste products,” explains Rainbow International Restoration, “A severe hoarding situation can become a haven for pests that spread diseases to the people and animals living in these unsanitary conditions.”
Our blog has often discussed the health issues that mould can trigger. Combining the stale air produced from a hoarder’s clutter with the high level of humidity that often results from leaky pipes hidden behind all that clutter, you get the perfect situation for mould growth. Not to mention, the spoiled food that is often present in a hoarder’s home adds to the mould infestation problem.
When kept in the home for months, says Armstrong, rotten food can harbour mildew and fungus growth. “This inevitably results in a severe mould problem that can cause substantial structural damage and serious health issues – mould can trigger allergies, damage the respiratory system, and aggravate existing health conditions,” he writes.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is for the air in your home to be pollutant-free. 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, followed up with an indoor air quality inspection.
Earlier this week, a colleague of ours informed us of a mould problem he had in his master bedroom’s bathroom a year ago. He explained that his shower cartridge had started leaking, unbeknownst to him. What he did notice was that the carpet in his bedroom’s walk-in closet was wet. After removing everything from the closet, he realized that his baseboards were infested with moult.
Unfortunately, our colleague had to endure several weeks of repairs to both his closet’s walls and the bathroom. After the mould was removed and the leak was repaired, he had to have his shower’s tiles completely replaced as they were all mould-ridden. Our team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. would have loved to have helped our colleague detect this mould before it had done that damage it did.
Don’t let this happen to you! Contact us today to learn more about our Mould Assessment Services. And while you’re at it, consider these three key ways to eliminate mould growth in your home:
This will be an important job of yours this summer. With the warmth that is commonplace during the season, your home is bound to get hotter. However, as Moldpedia.com points out, if the humidity in your home rises above 55 percent, certain types of mould can begin to grow.
“The best way to keep humidity low in your home is through ventilation,” informs the website, “Open the windows during the day, especially when it’s hot since this is when humidity is usually the lowest outside. Close your windows when it’s raining outside though. It’s especially important to ventilate the rooms where steam and moisture builds up, like the kitchen and bathroom.”
Basements are well-known havens for mould growth because they are so often dark and damp – those are two main ingredients for a mould infestation. This is especially the case in laundry rooms where there is a lot of moisture. In these rooms, water leaks can occur, leading to the presence of mould in cracks and crevices that you may not be paying attention to.
“Identify any problem areas in your basement,” insists Aer Industries, “These areas are commonly laundry rooms, bathrooms, and windows. Since basements are typically cold and damp to begin with, these may not be the only areas to look out for. Be sure to repair and replace any areas with water damage immediately, and mould can grow in these areas, and then spread to areas surrounding the damage.”
This may not be feasible for everyone. However, one of the main causes for mould-inviting moisture issues is wet clothes. Moldpedia.com highly recommends that you dry your clothes immediately after washing them. A wet pile of clothes is a top breeding ground for mould.
“It’s best to dry your clothes outside on a clothes line if you can,” the site recommends, “Hanging them inside on a clothes horse or indoor clothes line will not dry them as quickly and the moisture from your clothes will evaporate into the air, raising the humidity.”
Let’s work together on eliminating mould growth from your home! 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.
This past Monday, most of the world celebrated Earth Day. As we pointed out in last week’s blog, the annual celebration is a reminder that we can all put more efforts into protecting our environment. Of course, it’s also wise to protect the environments within which we spend most of our time – our homes!
Do you wish to live in a healthy environment? Who wouldn’t? Here are three easy steps to living in a healthier home:
You won’t be surprised to see this piece of advice on today’s list of tips. It’s one we’ve championed several times over. With warmer weather now here, it’s a good idea to keep your windows open more frequently. There’s likely to be a lot of stale air that has been cooped up in your home all winter long. Let it out! And be sure to have the fresh air from outside circulate with the stagnant air from inside a lot more often throughout the spring and summer.
According to BoneStructure.ca, “even if your indoor air is clean and free of irritants, your home requires a steady flow of fresh air in, stale air out. Today’s new houses are tightly sealed for energy efficiency, but while innovations like triple-pane windows are excellent at preventing drafts and lowering utility bills, they can also prevent a healthy exchange of indoor air with new air from outside.”
Radon is a colourless, odourless gas. Because of that, it can’t be detected by sight or smell. Nevertheless, when it is found in high concentrations, it can be incredibly hazardous to our health. It comes from the ground outside and can seep into your home through its various cracks. In the outdoors, radon is relatively harmless. But, as mentioned, when trapped in tight spaces, it can be dangerous.
Testing for radon is vital to protecting the health of everyone in your home. “Radon tests are important when it comes to protecting your home and improving the air,” agrees Rinkesh on the Conserve Energy Future Blog, “Certain parts of the country have more problems with radon than others. Basements are popular spaces where radon is found. Detectors can be purchased to ensure the air is safe.”
Mould is gross. Whether of the green or black variety, it is unsightly as it is bad for your health. When mould spores become airborne, they can significantly impact asthma sufferers as well as those who don’t even have respiratory issues. And as BoneStructure.ca points out, microscopic mould spores can multiply rapidly with the presence of moisture and can grow on certain building materials.
“Too much mould in indoor air can mean upper respiratory symptoms like coughing and wheezing in healthy people, and more severe respiratory symptoms, eye irritation and skin reactions for those who are sensitive or allergic to mould,” the website reveals, “If moisture gets trapped in the walls of your house it creates an inviting home for mould—and once this unwelcome guest takes root, it’s difficult to remove without structural work.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., our many health-promoting services include Radon Services and Mould Assessment Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, Earth Day falls on Monday, April 22nd. The annual celebration of our planet is a reminder that we can all do more to protect our environment. And while it’s vital we all do our part to reduce waste, re-use certain items and recycle others, it’s also important to remember to cut down on pollution. Opting for public transit over driving your own car from time to time is helpful in that regard.
At home, Earth Day should be every day. Consider your home your own little planet and think of the ways you can make it a healthier place to live. For the most part, very simple changes to your daily routines can mean the difference between constantly breathing in air pollutants and living in a healthy environment.
During the colder months of the year, we tend to turn the heat way up. Thankfully, with summer on the way, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, where there is heat, there is often humidity. And where there is humidity, there is moisture. So, with that said, it’s wise to keep tabs on the humidity level in your home. Why? Moisture can create mould and mould can wreak havoc on those with asthma and allergies.
“It is important to have a balance of humidity in living spaces,” insists Rinkesh on the Conserve Energy Future Blog, “This means a healthy humidity level of 30-50%. Mould and dust mites grow in areas where there is too much humidity. It is important to monitor this in both homes and businesses to improve indoor air quality.”
We know. We want our homes to smell as fresh as you do yours. But, trust us, using scented cleaning products and air fresheners is not the way to go. Those fresh scents are often indications that you’re breathing in volatile organic compounds. Also known as VOCs, they are harmful gases that are known to cause headaches and nausea as well as irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.
“Long-term exposure can damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system, and has been linked to cancer,” reports BoneStructure.ca, “These gases, which usually are released in the greatest amounts when a building is new and slowly dissipate over time, are likely the culprit behind ‘new house allergy syndrome’ – the phenomenon in which people experience allergy-like symptoms in a newly constructed home.”
This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve recommended house plants on our blog. And it’s not likely to be the last. In many of our past blogs, we’ve highlighted the fact that NASA studies have found house plants to be excellent pollutant removers. Adding house plants to your home will help to purify the air you breathe.
As Rinkesh puts it, “house plants serve more than one goal in this environment. These plants actually work to improve air quality. You can place plants in various rooms of the home to achieve this goal. Studies have shown that they help produce fresher air, as well.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we like to think of ourselves as year-long Earth Day celebrators! For information about our many health-promoting services which include Air Quality Services and Moisture Monitoring Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Congratulations Canada! We’re almost there. In exactly two weeks, the spring season will officially be upon us. And while it’s true that winter-like weather conditions may persist well into April, there’s no question that we’re a lot closer to experiencing a return to warmer days. When the spring finally arrives, expect there to be a lot more people venturing outdoors. But what will that mean for the air inside our homes?
According to 1Source Safety and Health, Inc., people with allergies quite often have their symptoms triggered when the spring arrives. In their report entitled “Impact of Outdoor Seasonal Changes on Indoor Air Quality”, they note that outdoor contaminants are at their lowest levels during the winter. That’s because the frozen snow-covered ground combined with relatively low humidity levels tend to keep mould spores and other air pollutants at bay.
However, “dust, mould, temperature and humidity begin to increase during the spring months (March, April, and May),” reads the report, “ As pollen, mould and dust concentrations increase, so do the associated symptoms. Interestingly, these symptoms, which also occur outside of the workplace, carry over into an employee’s work shift and are often incorrectly associated with exposure within the workplace.”
Chances are, the windows of your home are bound to be open a lot more often during the spring than they were in the winter. With the warmer weather enabling pollen and dust to better enter our air space, it’s inevitable that some of it will enter our homes. Cincinnati’s Hader Solutions warns that it’s best to keep windows shut or not open too wide when there is a pollen alert. Your local weather station should be able to inform you if one is in effect.
As well, their website details how winter is the season of dust accumulation in the home, while spring enables it all to become airborne. “Because of improper ventilation during the colder months, dust can settle into vents, registers, and eventually ductwork, making it close to impossible to rid your home of these irritating pollutants,” says Hader Solutions.
What’s one of the biggest differences between winter and spring? Snowfall! All of the snow that winter brings ends up melting during the spring. And melted snow on your rooftop can lead to water leaking into your home. As you’re likely aware, water is the main culprit in the development of mould. It’s important to prevent any leak sources in your home.
“Prevent water from entering your home by making sure there are no cracks or gaps on your roof or foundation where water could easily enter,” Hader Solutions advises, “Standing water in your home can cause mould, which can be detrimental to indoor air quality. If you suspect any mould in your home, call an expert immediately to remove it.”
The DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. team would love to help you ensure that your home enjoys the best possible indoor air quality this spring. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mould is gross. For most people, the very sight of mould is an indication of a dirty, unkempt location. However, mould is more than just unsightly. It’s potentially hazardous to your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, moulds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation.”
Mould forms when heat and moisture are present. This is why mould so often rears its ugly head in the bathroom. Although the kitchen can give the bathroom a run for its money, there is no room in the house where heat and moisture appear more often. Every one of your hot showers provides an opportunity for mould to form. So, the first step to doing away with mould is to ventilate the bathroom as best as possible.
Make it a habit to flick on the fan every time you’re in the bathroom. Not only does it do its part in ridding the room of foul odours, it also helps with ventilation. When all of that hot steam emanating from your shower is sucked up into the fan, it reduces the possibility of mould forming in your tiles and on other surfaces. On HouseLogic.com, Stacy Freed explains that, in addition to running your exhaust fan, you should clean your shower walls after taking a shower.
“After a shower, use a towel or squeegee to wipe down shower walls,” she advises, “Open the shower curtain to let it dry. Mop any water spills on the floor and counters. Avoid piling in too many shampoo and body wash bottles. They’re a perfect place for moisture and mould spores to hide.”
If mould does happen to appear in your bathroom, utilizing natural cleaning methods is your best bet. Vinegar, for example, is not only a health-conscious choice, but it is also known for being one of mould’s arch enemies. According to Signature Maids, the non-toxic agent has been found to kill 82 percent of mould species.
“Pour mild white vinegar into a spray bottle, do not dilute with water,” instructs their website, “Vinegar’s acidic qualities make it quite deadly to mould, that’s why you don’t want to water it down. Spray affected surface areas with straight vinegar solution and then wait one hour. If your bathroom has windows, open them up and let it air out during this time. After an hour passes, use hot water and a clean towel to wipe the area.”
Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Alternaria are among them. All types of mould can create health concerns. Mould can also cause structure hazards throughout a home, office or building. Moisture sources including building envelop failures, leakage issues or occupant-based moisture problems may contribute to mould development within a building.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are intent on helping Albertans to live mould-free! We offer professional home inspections courtesy of our Mould Assessment Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.