Know the Four Airborne Allergens in Your Home

Indoor allergens like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and mold can aggravate your allergy symptoms.

When we think about air pollution, most of us are concerned with the air outside. We picture smoke stacks, car exhaust, and other sources of poor air quality in our towns and cities. Our homes are supposed to be an escape from all that – but the indoor air isn’t spotless, either.

You may not see them, but there are millions of indoor allergens living on your furniture, floors, and air ducts. These unwelcome guests can make you cough, sneeze, or worse. Indoor allergens are annoying for allergy sufferers, but they’re especially problematic for people with asthma or weakened immune systems.

You can’t completely get rid of indoor allergens, but you can manage them using a top-performance air conditioner with a good filter. HEPA filters can eliminate 99% of allergens and particles that pass through them. A few changes to your daily habits can also help keep indoors allergens out.


Studies show one in six Canadians have a seasonal allergy to one or more kinds of pollen. Pollen usually enters the home through open doors or windows, or by sticking to shoes, clothing, or pets. Since we tend to keep our windows open through the hot summer months, it’s easy for pollen to find a way into our homes.

If you’re spending time in an area with lots of pollen (at a park, for example), it helps to change into clean clothes when you get home. Leave your shoes on the porch or in the foyer. You should give your pets a good clean if they spend time outside, since pollen readily sticks to their fur.

Speaking of pets…

Pet Dander

Bad news: there’s no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog or cat. That’s because most people with pet allergies are actually allergic to dander, not hair. Even short-haired (or hairless) animals shed dander.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a pet. A HEPA filter can do wonders for people with pet allergies. You can also designate a pet-free zone in your home so you can find refuge on those days where your allergies are really acting up.


If you’ve got moisture, you’re probably got mold. It thrives in dark, damp places, like bathrooms and kitchens with poor ventilation. It’s easier to spot than other allergens, but what you can’t see are the tiny, airborne spores that spread and grow new clusters.

The best way to deal with mold is to prevent it from growing in the first place. Make sure your bathroom and kitchen is well-ventilated, and deal with leaky pipes as soon as possible. Watch for damp spots around windows that could indicate leaks. You can clean mold from hard surfaces using water, detergent, and bleach, but moldy furniture and clothing should be thrown away.

Dust Mites

Don’t be surprised if this makes your skin crawl. Dust mites are tiny insects that live in the fibres of carpet, furniture, bedding, and window dressings. They don’t bite, but they do trigger asthma and sinus issues.

Keep your floors and furniture clean to get rid of dust mites before they become a problem. If you’re particularly sensitive to dust mites, it may be best to switch to hardwood floors and non-fibrous furniture like wood or leather.

Replace Your HVAC Filters to Keep Your Home Healthy

Replacing or cleaning the HVAC air filter will keep your home healthy throughout the year.

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) helps make your home healthy and comfortable. But it can’t do its job efficiency without a clean air filter.

On average, indoor air has two to five times more pollutants than the air outside. The filter removes dust, allergens, and other airborne contaminants from the air before the system circulates it throughout the house. As the filter becomes clogged with debris, it blocks the free flow of air to the system, which reduces the efficiency of your furnace or air conditioning system. Not only does this drive up heating and cooling costs, it makes the air inside your home less clean and healthy.

HVAC experts recommend cleaning or replacing the filter at least once per season, or three times a year. Here’s how you can do this simple maintenance routine yourself.

Step 1: Find the Filter

Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, you can find the filter in one of three places:

  • Window air conditioners have the filter directly behind the place where cool air comes out.
  • Central air systems usually have the filter behind the main vent that releases cool air. It’s often located near the thermostat.
  • Furnace or air handler filters are found in a slot behind a metal or plastic housing in the unit itself.

Step 2: Turn it Off

Before you remove the panel or grille covering the filter, turn off power to the system for your safety. You should never touch the filter while there is air flowing through it.

Step 3: Identify the Filter

Once you’ve found it, examine the filter to determine what kind of product you’re dealing with. Different systems use different sizes and types of filter, so you need to identify it before you can replace it. Write down the brand of filter, along with other identifying information on the frame, and measure it for size.

  • Fiberglass filters are common in older systems. They have a large frame that looks like a window screen. Depending on the season and the size of your home, you may need to replace it as often as every month.
  • Pleated filters are one-inch wide, rectangular units. Replace it every three months.
  • Media filters look like pleated filters, but are three to four inches wide. They don’t need to be replaced as often as pleated filters, but be sure to check it out every three to six months.

Step 4: Remove and Replace

Slide out the old filter along its tracks and immediately dispose of it in an outdoor garbage bag. Don’t leave it sitting in your regular garbage, as the dust can fall out and re-enter the air. Next, you can slide the new filter into place, paying attention to the arrows that indicate which side to put in first.

Step 5: Close it Up

Re-attach the protective grille or casing that keeps the filter safe inside the unit. At this point, you can turn the system back on.


Tips for Sleeping in Hot Weather

It’s all about the air flow.

Summer heat keeping you up at night? Here are a few tricks for making your room feel cool and comfortable on those muggy summer evenings.

Ensure Good Air Flow

If you’re having trouble falling asleep in the heat, lack of air flow is likely a factor. Fans and air conditioning won’t do much good if the room (or your bed) restricts the flow of cool air. Try placing a fan across from an open window to create a cross-breeze in the room. You can boost the amount of cool air in the room by hanging a cool, damp towel in front of the window, and placing a pan of ice in front of the fan.

Choose Breathable Materials

Choose sheets and clothing made from a light, breathable material like cotton. This helps promote ventilation and ensure the cool air can reach your body while you sleep. You may be tempted to sleep nude, but wearing loose, soft pajamas will actually help to wick moisture from your body.

Sleep Close to the Ground

Heat rises, so it helps to sleep as close to the ground as possible. On those particularly stuffy nights, you may opt for a college throwback and stick your mattress on the floor.

Forget Lotions and Moisturizers

Many popular body lotion products, especially those made from petroleum, can trap heat in your body. Avoid using these products before bed. Though they may feel refreshing at first, you’ll regret it once you wake up feeling sweaty and sticky.

Get a Cooling Pillow

Tired of flipping the pillow over to sleep on the cold side? Consider buying a cooling pillow. There are dozens of these products on the market, but Dr. Christopher Winter of the Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center recommends a bamboo pillow with a shredded latex filling. Be sure to read the reviews before you decide which one is right for you.

Take a Cool Shower

You’re likely to fall asleep faster if you can cool your internal temperature before you hit the bed. Showers can also help you relax and unwind, setting the stage for a peaceful sleep.


Four Unexpected Health Benefits of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning can help control pests, filter out airborne contaminants, and even help you sleep better at night.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, air conditioning is the best way to protect yourself from heat-related illness and death. But that’s not the only reason to switch on the A/C in the summer. By reducing humidity and providing air filtration, air conditioning can benefit your health in other ways as well.

Prevent Asthma Attacks

The summer months can be rough for people who suffer from asthma, as the heat and humidity causes an spike in air pollution and airborne allergens. But the humidity itself is also a factor in asthma attacks. When the humidity reaches levels of 50% or more, simply breathing in the hot air can lead to coughing and shortness of breath.

Air conditioning can help prevent asthma attacks by cutting the humidity and creating a cooler, more comfortable breathing environment.

Allow for Better Sleep

No one likes to fall asleep in a hot, stuffy room. The summer heat can make it hard to get a good night’s rest, which is essential to good health. Air conditioning can help make your bedroom feel comfortable and restful. Some people also appreciate the white noise effect of air conditioning, which helps to drown out other disruptive sounds.

Prevent Pests

Humidity is a major factor in pest control. High levels of humidity increase the amount of organic decay in your home, which bugs and other critters use as a food source. It also creates a environment ripe for fleas and dust mites. You can help prevent unwanted pests from moving in by lowering household humidity with air conditioning.

Filter Airborne Pollutants and Irritants

You may not notice it, but the air inside your home can be contaminated by allergens, organic compounds, and other airborne particles. The problem is often worse in the summertime, with airborne pollen coming in from outdoors and the humidity creating conditions for mold and dust mites. Your air conditioner’s air filter helps to catch these irritants before they reach your lungs.

Keeping Your Air Conditioner Healthy

  • Regularly clean or change your air filter. This will keep the unit running efficiently and prevent it from inadvertently spreading airborne particles.
  • Ensure the exhaust fan works properly. Issues with the exhaust fan can cause moisture and humidity to build up around the unit, which can damage your home and create conditions for pests and mold growth.
  • Never store paints, cleaners, or other chemicals near your air conditioner. These substances can emit harmful airborne contaminants, which the air conditioner can spread throughout your home.


Low-Cost Ways to Cool Your Home in the Summer

You can boost your air conditioning efficiency by cooling your home in other ways.

When the temperature goes up, so does your monthly electricity bill. Though central air conditioning doesn’t eat as much energy as your furnace does in the winter, it can still cost over $100 per month from May to August.

The easiest way to cut cooling costs is to lower the temperature in your home in other ways. That way, your system won’t have to consume as much energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. Here are some of the simplest ways you can boost energy efficiency in the summer.

Seal and weatherproof your windows

If there are gaps in the seal around your windows, warm air will seep in from outside. Use a caulk gun to close the leaks, and install spring metal weather-stripping around the exterior for added protection

Use a programmable thermostat

Does your house sit unoccupied for hours on end most days? If so, you’re wasting a lot of energy by leaving your air conditioning on all that time. You can cut costs by programming the thermostat to shut off your cooling system after you leave and turn it back on shortly before you get home.

Most people own programmable thermostats, but few use them to their full potential. Take time to program the device to turn the air conditioning down (or turn the temperature up) while you’re away. Have the thermostat cut the A/C just after you leave and switch it back on about half an hour before you’re scheduled to return. This will ensure your home is comfortable by the time you step through the front door

Get a ceiling fan

Unlike an air conditioning unit, ceiling fans don’t actually make the air cooler. Instead, they pull cool air from the ground and circulate it to make a room feel more comfortable. Though they have gone out of fashion, ceiling fans can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler using 10% of the energy as central air

Close curtains and blinds

Ultraviolet (UV) and infrared rays can enter your home through the windows, contributing to the rising temperature. You can easily block sunlight with window dressings, like curtains and blinds. Close them during the hottest hours of the day, especially on south-facing windows.

Keep Your Hockey Fix Going During the Summer With Hockey Movies

Yes, it’s July, and it’s hot and humid as all get out. The last thing most people are thinking about right now is winter sports. But what if hockey is your love and you just gotta have it all year round? Well, you can re-watch all of the games from last season that filled up your PVR or you can enjoy some hockey movies. There are not nearly as many hockey flicks as those centered around baseball, but here are three important ones readily available on disc and streaming.

FACE-OFF (1971)
Not to be confused with the John Travolta/Nicolas Cage actioner, this is an early Canadian drama about a hotshot (Art Hindle) on the Toronto Maple Leafs and the troubled relationship he has with a young hippie girl whose values are a world away from his. FACE-OFF isn’t very good, but it’s a must-see time capsule if you love the Leafs, as many of their best players from the time can be seen during the game sequences.

SLAP SHOT (1977)
Considered the height of vulgarity 40 years ago, this rollicking comedy is pretty tame by modern standards, but still very funny. Paul Newman plays the captain of a failing small town hockey team who encourages his players to be violent on the ice in order to boost ticket sales. Things soon get very out of hand. Spawned two direct-to-video sequels, neither of which are worth watching.

Another hockey movie that spawned a franchise, this Disney production stars Emilio Estevez as a lawyer who is forced to do community service after a drunk driving incident. In this case, that means coaching the worst pee wee league hockey team in the area. Essentially THE BAD NEWS BEARS on ice, this follows a familiar formula, but was a crowd pleaser and its PG antics make THE MIGHTY DUCKS a much more family-friendly choice than SLAP SHOT.

Paul Newman in SLAP SHOT. Courtesy Universal.

Buying Appliances for a Tiny House

Sometimes, less is more when it comes to living space.

More of a headache, at least.

It might be a stretch to call it a ‘movement’ but the tiny house trend is definitely stronger than ever. Whether it’s to save money or embrace minimalism, more young families are moving into compact homes with less than 400 square feet of space.

And they sure do make the life look glamorous. After all, these aren’t like the rustic mobile homes of the past! 

Today’s tiny houses are chic and often hand-crafted by the people who call them home. They’re not cramped, but cozy. Who doesn’t like cozy?

Of course, cost-savings and mindfulness aside, living in a small space can be a ‘big’ challenge! You could even say it’s an absolute pain.

This is especially true when it comes to buying appliances.

Most home appliances are built for one of two purposes: to sit full-sized home or be taken on-the-go. Neither is suited to a tiny, permanent living space. Finding a fridge for a tiny house is one thing (at least you can use a mini-fridge or a bar fridge), but just imagine trying to fit an oven, microwave, and a washer + dryer, in a kitchen the size of a typical half-bathroom?

Don’t even think about trying to fit a coffee maker in one of these things. It’s not happening.

Air conditioning is another not-so #Instaworthy facet of tiny house living. That tiny wooden box is going to heat up faster than you can say, “quirky.” For that matter, how’s the fire safety in these things? That’s a blog for another day.

Anyhow, when it comes to a small space, free-standing A/C unit is out of the question. So is a permanent outdoor unit, if you plan to take your home on the road. Your best (and possibly only) option is to stick an air conditioning unit in your window. This will free up prized floor space and get the job done. Fortunately, window air conditioning units come in all sizes, from the very small to the gargantuan.

Next challenge? Finding a fridge and air conditioning unit fit for #vanlife.

Hockey Night in Canada or How I Learned to Love Hockey and My Grandfather

Like many a Canadian youth, I loved hockey. And like many unfortunate Canadian youths, I wasn’t very good when it came to playing it. Weak ankles and the coordination of an aged water buffalo found me relegated to defense, where I would invariably also mess up. The gods smiled upon me, however: in a career where I hardly ever scored, I somehow managed two goals in my last game. And they even went in the right net.

My grandfather was always a gruff type who had little time for small talk or children. To say we had nothing in common seemed to be true across the board, with one exception: hockey. Grandad rarely ever missed a televised game and that was entirely possible back in the days when there were only a handful of channels and teams.

Every Saturday from 8PM to midnight, he and I were incognito because Hockey Night in Canada ruled the television. It was a genuine pleasure watching him getting involved in the action by talking back to the screen (which taught me a few new and interesting swear words, too). He would also take the time during commercials and intermission to talk about different periods in his life. Initially, these anecdotes only revolved around hockey, but he gradually revealed aspects of growing up, working, and even dating that I never would have expected to hear.

Nothing topped his love of the game, however. That said, he only attended a handful of hockey games in his life. Grandpa was content to sit in the basement enjoying his beer and sardines (which somehow went along well together) while the CBC’s various commentators told who had the puck and who had just gotten a ten minute misconduct penalty.

Grandad and me never did share the same sort of unforced openness that I have with my parents, but I’m grateful for the way that hockey opened him up to me. Thanks CBC.

The Importance Of Scheduled Maintenance For Your Furnace System

Do you have a specific scheduled maintenance for your furnace system or just wait what will happen and try to fix it if problem occur? You don’t want to do that to yourself and to your family. You need to be prepare all the time. Cold weather is fun when you can enjoy staying at home with your loves ones without the troublesome. The warm and comfortable feeling during cold season. People often forget to pay attention on how important furnace inspection. It must be maintained at all cost to avoid inconvenience when the winter comes. You do not like to experience problem during cold season particularly with the family alongside.

The importance of having a scheduled maintenance for your furnace system is for preventive measures. Just to make sure your unit is in good condition. That it will run during the cold season without breakdowns. A furnace need to be tune-up like your car to be able to function well when using it. No matter how much it will cost, you must make sure you do the right furnace inspection because the unit is still a machine. It has a complex piece of mechanical apparatus that sooner or later will breakdowns and needs repairs.


By keeping your unit on top of annual maintenance, it will reduce the incidence of repairs in the future. The parts of the unit will last longer and function properly. There are also benefits when you repair your furnace in Waterloo to prevent upcoming complications from developing. It includes lowering your energy bills, fewer repairs needed, lower the probability of a terrible breakdown during the cold season, it will longer your equipment life and you will have a safer equipment operation. If you cannot do the maintenance or inspection by yourself, you must leave it to the professionals.

Puck Prob Welcomes You


Here at Puck Prob, our goal is to make sure that the comfort of your home comes first and foremost. We want to provide information on different heating and cooling companies in your local area. This is to help you make an informed decision when it comes to your HVAC and air services that you need for your home.

We highlight extremely efficient and well-priced companies because we care about you and your family. Affordable heating, air conditioning and air quality is very important to us, and we will not represent any companies that do not adhere to this policy.

Before hiring a company, you should know the basics of your HVAC and air conditioning unit to ensure that the company you choose knows what they’re doing. Watch this video below to understand the basic knowledge:

We’ve worked with many companies and have the experience to know their products inside and out. Therefore, we feel confident in being your number one informant for the best heating and cooling systems.