Thursday, December 28, 2017

How to Keep Warm and Prevent Space Heater Fires

During the winter months and extremely low temperatures, we see many home and business owners turning to alternative sources of heat. 50% of home heating fires occur during the months of December, January, and February. Whether to save on energy costs or to warm up a drafty room, space heaters are best used with caution.

Follow these safety tips to keep your home or business warm during the winter months and prevent fire damage.

Electric Space Heater Safety Tips
  • When purchasing a space heater, look for a safety certification from a well-known source, such as Underwriters Laboratories Canada (UL).
  • Auto shut off features are beneficial to prevent overheating and hazards if the space heater tips over. 
  • Maintain 3 feet of space around the space heater. Take care to remove flammable materials such as curtains, bedding, and clothing. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) estimates that space heaters placed too close to combustible materials are the second leading cause (behind cooking) of house fires. 
  • Space heaters do not typically come with GFCI plugs. To prevent electrocution, keep the heating unit away from water. Bathrooms and kitchens are a bad idea for electric space heaters.

Never use an extension cord with space heaters or electric blankets. The amount of power drawn from these units is too much for a low amp extension cord to handle, causing the cord to overheat and spark a fire. Unless you know the specific amps that the extension cord and the space heater are rated for, it is best to avoid this and plug directly into the wall outlet.

  • Plug only the space heater into the wall outlet so as not to overload the circuit. 
  • Keep the space heater on the floor, preferably wood or tile. Low pile carpet is acceptable but stay away from high pile and shag carpeting. Space heaters are not intended to be used on a table or shelving. These situations pose a fire hazard if the space heater tips over and the unit does not come with an auto shut off tip feature.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Wagging tails and little hands pose a fire hazard as well as the potential for burns.
  • Make sure to turn off the heating unit when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Check for worn or frayed wires before using the space heater. Discontinue use if you discover any damage.
  • And the ever important tip- make sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of the home and outside each bedroom.

Gas Space Heater Safety

If there is a power outage or you chose to use a gas space heater, follow the above tips as well as:

Protect yourself against carbon
monoxide poisoning

Choose a propane or kerosene space heater rated for indoor use. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat when using gas to heat your home. It is colorless 
and odorless as well as deadly.

  • Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in addition to smoke detectors in the home.
  • Be sure to allow proper ventilation.
  • Read all safety directions before use.
  • Do not attempt to move the heater when lit.

We hope you have a warm and safe winter season, but if you do need our services, we are available 24/7/365. CONTACT US or call 1-306-540-6832.

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