Although you may not want to admit it, winter is just around the corner. That means dark nights and damp, cold weather. We no longer leave windows open as the temperature drops, the quality of the air in your home suffers, and mould creeps in.
Without a continuous flow of fresh air into and out of your home the relative humidity rises, and the internal atmosphere quickly becomes full of moisture. Eventually leading to condensation, especially with fluctuations in temperature which occur during winter. After a period of this cycle continuing, the water droplets that form on colder surfaces can lead to mould growth and, in some cases, damage to the building fabric itself.
Proper ventilation is the best way to combat these problems before they start. Prevention is the best cure, and September is the perfect time of year to have your ventilation fitted while it’s still warm.
But failing that, here are some tips for improving the quality of air in your home and helping combat mould now:
Condensation is one of the biggest cause of mould problems in the home. Mould is a kind of fungus that develops from airborne spores. It prefers to grow in warm, damp conditions where there isn’t much airflow and because of that bathrooms and kitchens often suffer the worst from condensation and mould.
Drying washing on a radiator indoors creates condensation and also prevents your heating system from working efficiently. It is also a reason why condensation and mould growth is accelerated during the winter months, from one load of washing, over 2 litres of moisture is released into the air! If drying your washing outside isn’t possible, dry in a room where it is possible to open a window to provide ventilation and remove the moisture from inside to outside.
Similarly, if you are using a washing machine or tumble dryer, ensure that it is vented correctly.
After a shower, bath, boiling a kettle or cooking the humidity levels in your bathroom/kitchen sky rocket. If you don’t already have an extractor fan or some form of ventilation fitted this humidity can turn into condensation and effect the whole house. Closing the door during using the bathroom or kitchen contains the moisture produced, and opening a window after will allow any excess moisture to disperse naturally without effecting the temperature of the air in the rest of the house and preventing condensation from settling on walls, ceilings and windows in your bathroom or kitchen, which can lead to mould problems. This will help reduce the amount of condensation that appears but it won’t eliminate the problem.
Ban smoking indoors. Apart from all the serious side effects smoking causes, smoking drastically reduces the quality of the air in your home. This should be an all year round ban, not just in the winter. If your home has a fire or wood burning stove extra care should be taken to clean and maintain on a regular basis to remove harmful soot and dust, and prevent soot and smoke from contaminating the air if they are not given proper ventilation. Even burning candles can release smoke into the air you breathe.
Bath your Pets and wash their bedding regularly during winter. Pets also tend to spend more time indoors during winter months increasing the amount of pet dander and fur left indoors which can trigger allergic reactions. Restricting their access to downstairs rooms or only certain rooms in the house can also help reduce contamination.
Did you know that your home’s indoor environment could be significantly more polluted and harmful than outdoors? Chemicals from household cleaners, hairsprays, spray-on deodorants, ‘air-fresheners’, and other chemicals leaves harmful particles in the air effecting the quality of air. Make the most of any opportunity to open your windows a crack and clear the air.
Do not overfill bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. Overfilled cupboards are a breeding ground for mould as it prevents the air from circulate freely inside.
For the same reasons, make sure that any furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can move around the property. Also try to put wardrobes against internal walls in bedrooms; this will be less cold than external walls.
Household dust mites and their debris flourish in damp, mouldy conditions. Living in bedding, carpets and other soft furnishings, dust mites thrive in homes that don’t have adequate ventilation and where relative humidity is high. Did you know if you have had your pillow or duvet for over 2 years 10% of their weight is made up of dust mites, dead mites and their droppings. When this detritus comes into contact with skin or is inhaled, it can cause allergic reactions, resulting in asthma attacks, eczema, watering eyes, itching, sneezing and a runny nose.
Reducing humidity levels considerable reduces the mites’ ability to thrive. Bedding, cushions and carpets should be frequently cleaned or hoovered, and mattresses flipped to help remove mites and their debris as well as dead skin cells and hair that provide them sustenance.
If you don’t have hard wood floors dust mites, dirt, hair and fungus can be living in your carpets. All of these can potentially aggravate breathing conditions such as asthma and bronchial attacks, as well as hay fever and eczema, and cause bad smells and a drop in the air quality in your home.
If you have a carpet in the bathroom or kitchen that regularly becomes wet from bathing and cooking, it’s worth considering changing to a covering such as tiles or laminate, to eliminate the perfect breeding ground for dust mites, mould, fungi and other nasties. If you do want to stick with carpet, then it’s important to make sure it is thoroughly cleaned regularly, and that you keep the space well ventilated to keep relative humidity down.
There a lots of different mould removal products on the market, EnviroVent have been working with microbiologists to create a specialist mould and mildew remover spray called Mould Guard Plus which is a mould removal treatment that is highly effective at preventing future mould growth.
Designed by microbiologists, Mould Guard Plus kills microbes within minutes of contact by permeating into the walls of a property, preventing mould problems from returning for up to 90 days. This gives sufficient time to provide a permanent solution to mould issues through effective ventilation.
Formulated from a unique combination of proven biocides and antimicrobial technology, the product is completely safe to use. It therefore requires no protective clothing and has minimal handling issues. It is environmentally friendly, odourless and fully biodegradable to EU standards.