1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

November 24, 2008

:329 Candle Soot

Filed under: :329 Candle Soot — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:30 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:329 EcoTip: With the holidays coming more households will be burning candles. Many types of scented candles or candles with other types of additives have been shown to create up to 100 times more soot than unscented candles. These fine soot particles are tiny enough to be inhaled deeply into the lungs and have been shown to exacerbate respiratory problems and asthma.


 Additional Information:

Research published by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC) has identified candles as a major source of soot deposits staining homes. These soot deposits are often referred to as ghosting because of the faint shadows they leave on surfaces. In their study they also list a number of other causes and make recommendations for homeowners and builders.

Homeowners should:

  • avoid or restrict the use of candles in houses;
  • use candles with properly trimmed wicks, in properly ventilated conditions as per manufacturer’s instructions (The National Candle Association website gives specific information on how to choose and burn candles so as to avoid soot problems);
  • avoid or limit scented candles;
  • have combustion appliances in the home checked regularly for proper operation and venting effectiveness;
  • keep a clean house generally and vacuum carpets regularly with an effective vacuum—central vacuums vented outside or HEPA grade filters are the best options. Use perimeter tool for wall edges;
  • never idle vehicles in an attached garage and ensure the garage is properly air sealed from the house;
  • eliminate or control other dust sources—properly clean up renovation projects, reduce storage of wood, paper and fabric products, control access of pets to certain areas of the house;
  • purchase and maintain better filters for the forced air system.

Builders should:

  • build tighter houses and specifically ensure air leakage pathways at floor header assemblies are well sealed;
  • use insulation techniques and wall details that minimize thermal bridging and cold spots;
  • ensure garages are air sealed from the home and any ductwork running through the garage is tightly sealed;
  • ensure all combustion appliances are properly installed and vented. Avoid standing pilot appliances and encourage direct vent, sealed combustion appliances;
  • clean houses thoroughly after the drywall and taping stage to eliminate drywall and other construction dust;
  • ensure forced air ducts are sealed during construction and/or cleaned thoroughly before carpets and other flooring are installed;
  • offer upgraded filters for forced air systems; and
  • offer darker carpet colours or inform homeowners that streaking problems are more visible with light carpets.

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September 12, 2008

:256 Mold and Water Damage

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:256 EcoTip: With the United States being pummeled by more hurricanes this year than since 2005 – the year of Katrina – it is time to look at some of the lessons learned. A January 20, 2006 CDC report examined the knowledge recovery workers had regarding personal protective equipment and mold. The paper cites evidence that exposure to mold and damp buildings can have adverse health complications.

Over the next several days my tips will focus on this and other lessons learned from Katrina that can be used during any construction activities whether it be due to catastrophic damage such as from tornadoes or hurricanes or a routine home upgrade or repair.


 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

This is the first in a series of EcoTips about protecting oneself when remodeling and working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.

According to CDC:

In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed the literature regarding health outcomes related to damp indoor spaces (4). In addition to the risk for opportunistic fungal infections in immunocompromised persons, IOM found sufficient evidence for an association between both damp indoor spaces and mold and upper respiratory symptoms (nasal congestion and throat irritation) and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, wheeze, and exacerbation of asthma).

Basic mold awareness training and training regarding cleaning small areas of mold is available on-line at http://www.restcon.com/training.restcon.com/MAT/index.php

For more information about how to protect your home – check out my book – Extreme Weather Hits Home

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September 3, 2008

:247 Remodeling Dust

Filed under: :247 Remodeling Dust — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 7:27 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:247 EcoTip: During remodeling and construction activities dust and debris can travel throughout the rest of a home making quite a mess. These dusts can also have adverse health impacts – especially for people with allergies, asthma and other respiratory difficulties. Regardless of health – its still a mess and takes a lot of time to clean up. Over the next several days my 1:5:10:365 EcoTips will show you ways to help reduce and control this dust.


 Additional Information:

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