Thursday, November 2, 2017

Easy Tips for Improving Indoor Air Quality in Winter

Winter often means a decline in indoor air quality (IAQ), largely because as business owners and homeowners we are often doing our best to keep cold winter air OUT and warm indoor air IN. This can help keep our heating bills down, but it can also lead to poor indoor air quality inside your residential or commercial property.

Indoor air quality can deteriorate due to many factors, including an inadequate outdoor air supply, poor indoor environment (excessive humidity and poorly controlled temperatures), and indoor air contaminants (everything from common household dust to food odours to perfumes and chemical cleaners to off-gases from new building materials).

All of these factors have the unintended effect of decreasing indoor air quality and contributing to health conditions that include asthma, allergies, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), Building-Related Illness (BRI), Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), “sick home syndrome” and many others.

If poor indoor air is a concern where you live or work, consider these easy tips for improving indoor air quality during this winter season.

First, just add plants.

Many common tropical and indoor plants help purify and clean the air by trading oxygen for carbon dioxide, removing toxic chemicals from the air, and rendering them harmless or absorbing them into their leaves and/or soil.

How many plants do you need?

Well, NASA researchers recommend at least one plant per 100 square feet of space in their Clean Air Study.

Some of the plants studied in NASA’s Clean Air Study include English Ivy (Hedera helix), dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), Aloe vera (Aloe vera), peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’), Rubber plant (Ficus elastica), Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’), and Kimberly queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterate).

If you have pets, make sure that your chosen plants are safe for your furry felines or canines. This page has a helpful list of some of the plants that are appropriate for pet-friendly households.

You can review the full list of plants studied in NASA’s Clean Air Study, the chemicals that these plants have been shown to remove from the air, and whether each plant is toxic or not to cats and dogs.

Next, attend to any mold.

If you have any mold in your residential or commercial building property, it’s important to attend to it before it gets worse and before it begins to impact your overall health. Attics with inadequate ventilation, basements, or mold-prone rooms like bathrooms, kitchens and indoor hot tubs/saunas, are a few good places to start.

Third, vacuum regularly.

Vacuuming regularly (more than once a week) can help keep pet dander, dust mites, fleas, pollen and other potential outdoor allergens from affecting and decreasing indoor air quality.

And lastly, get some air.

Sometimes easy tips are also simple and free: open your windows! Weather permitting of course, but this is really an effective way to replace some of the stale air inside with fresh air from outside.

If you live in a newer building and/or one that is tightly sealed, this is particularly useful so open your windows on a regular basis and your indoor air quality should begin to improve.

Looking for a Saskatchewan-based inspector to perform  residential or commercial indoor air quality testing? We can do an inspection, testing and give you a report for solutions to improve your indoor air quality (IAQ), in spring, summer, fall and winter. Call us today at 306-540-6832 to book your appointment.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tips for Insulating Your Home During Cold Weather

If you’ve questioned whether your house was insulated well enough before now, you’ll probably get the answer this winter! Time to batten down, cinch up, and insulate to your heart’s content (for the sake of your personal comfort, and to ward off a scary heating bill).

Getting your home comfortable for the winter months is DIY at its finest; from weatherstripping your entryways to curing drafty windows, the tips below are need-to-know for homeowners of every skill level. In no particular order:

Maintain your furnace and HVAC system

Change your HVAC filters monthly, especially when the system is active during the winter. Not only will it help air quality, but you’ll also keep your system running more efficiently than it would if the filters were congested. Clear obstructions like tables and furniture away from vents too, to maximize the flow of air throughout the room. Learn more about maintaining your furnace, and winterizing your water heater too.

Assess your heating zones

Which rooms are you spending your time in? If you have a second or third heating and cooling zone in your home, remember that they don’t all have to be set equally. Lower it in the rooms you don’t frequent, and shut doors to help keep the warmth where you need it most instead of allowing it disperse through unused space.

Swap out sheers for heavier curtains

It contradicts the previous tip a little bit, but when you have very drafty windows, won’t regret sacrificing light with an investment in cellular shades to keep the heat in and cold out. (DIY these heavy roman shades if you’d like – felt never looked so fine!)

Seal your doorways

Put foam weatherstripping around the inside of your door to create a seal and prevent air exchange. Double Draft Stoppers are a great short-term solution for preventing a draft at the bottom of the door. 

Re-glaze, or add a layer of insulation over your windows and doors

Improve the R-value of non-insulated doors with plastic sheeting, which is installed using double-sided tape and a hair dryer. Don’t forget to re-glaze any panes that are loose and need maintenance.

Change out the insert in your storm door

Don’t forget to change out the screen in your storm doors to a solid glass pane (goodbye summertime cross-breeze). Very easy to forget to do this on doors that you don’t use daily!

Insulate your attic

This is a pricier effort, but an easy DIY. Roll sheets of unbacked insulation between all of the floor joists in your attic; if it’s already between the joists, apply a second layer with the lengths running perpendicular to the joists. Maximum protection to keep the heat in your house, and out of your attic space. (Insulate exposed pipes in your basement too, so that the warmth from the pipes isn’t heating the basement before it reaches your living space.)

If you need any advice, want a maintenance inspection or home inspection done then Call Us! We're here to help you! INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES 1-306-540-6832

Friday, October 13, 2017

What to Do About Frozen or Burst Pipes

One of the most stressful problems for any homeowner to deal with is a burst pipe and the resulting water damage that goes along with it. Even less than a few millimeters of water can cause great damage to your home and your belongings. Frozen pipes, a common plumbing issue in the wintertime, can easily burst if not properly thawed out.

The water damage restoration experts at INSPECT IT  ALL SERVICES want everyone to be familiar with how to prevent and how to deal with water damage resulting from burst pipes.

The most easily recognized sign of a frozen pipe is if only a small trickle of water comes out when you turn on a faucet. You should be able to locate the frozen pipe by inspecting the pipes along your exterior walls. It'll be the one covered in ice!

Frozen pipes can be thawed in numerous ways in order to prevent water damage in your home. Using a hair dryer or a heating pad are probably your two best options for melting the ice. Wrapping hot towels around the pipe can also help, as can placing a space heater nearby. You'll want to keep the faucet open while trying any of these strategies, as the running water can further help thaw out the pipe.

If you find the frozen pipe only to see that it has already burst or has a crack in it, then you need to turn off the water and call a plumber right away. You should also get in touch with a plumber if you're unable to access the frozen pipe, or if none of your efforts at thawing it out seem to be working.

Furthermore, if the bust pipe had already resulted in water damage, then your next step is to remove the water. Using towels, mops, buckets, or whatever you have available, try to soak up as much of the water as you can. The flooded area must be dried and disinfected, or it can become a hotbed of mold and bacteria growth. You'll also need to go through your belongings and figure out which items unfortunately need to be thrown out.

Complete water damage restoration is best left up to the professionals who have the tools and expertise for the job. If you try to take care of everything yourself, you'll likely miss spots of moisture and won't be able to tell which belongings you should no longer keep in your home.

INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES can help you get everything back in good shape after a burst pipe causes water damage in your home. We'll make sure that all excess moisture is removed and that everything is properly cleaned, disinfected, and dried. We can also help identify any damaged belongings that you should catalog for insurance purposes.

You can call INSPECT IT ALL SERVICES immediately at 1-306-540-6832 (24/7) if you have a water damage emergency.