Energy is an expensive commodity so it pays to put measures in place which, in the long term, will help to save money on heating bills and prevent heat loss. However, by adding improvements such as double glazing, cavity wall and loft installation, the home’s natural ventilation is reduced.
Effectively, the home is being ‘sealed up’ and is unable to breathe. As a result the humidity level rises and changes the indoor air. This high humidity and restricted air flow is the perfect environment for mould.
Most of us are aware of poor outdoor air quality, we can see it with things like exhaust fans on vehicles however poor indoor air quality is just as damaging to our health. Usually we cannot tell the state of the air quality inside our properties but when faced with a colony of mould growing in your home, you can see how damaging it can be when inhaled.
Mould is a fungus that breaks down dead material. It grows in our homes because they offer the ideal conditions for it to grow – namely moisture, warm air, and materials to feed on, such as wood, carpet and dust. It will continue to develop until it’s cleaned and removed. However, dead spores can be just as harmful to our health, so it’s important that you take care when getting rid of it.
Since mould tends to be much more sneaky than simply growing for all to see, another common occurrence is mould growing behind your walls. Keep in mind, mould can also grow behind wallpaper, as the glue adhering the paper to the wall can often capture moisture, and in turn produce mould.
Basements are notorious for moisture, and therefore are a breeding ground for harmful mould. While a little mould here and there may not strike you as a serious issue, you should be aware that mould can cause serious health problems when being breathed in.
Bathrooms are also very susceptible to mould growth, by nature they are very moist rooms and can be difficult to ventilate. Especially during winter, when you want to retain as much warmth as possible, as a result mould can grow on walls, windows and even in the grouting. You may notice mould growing on your shower curtain as warm, wet moisture has clung on after showering.
Inhaling mould fragments or spores can inflame the airways, causing nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems such as asthma.
Exposure to damp and mouldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, moulds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation.
As a result of this, high levels of humidity and excess moisture are left trapped inside the home, overtime this will lead to condensation and the appearance of mould. Of course you can always open the windows to let fresh air circulate, but in the middle of a cold winter this defeats the object of preventing heat loss.
There are steps you can take to help prevent mould growth such as drying clothes outside, keeping bedroom doors open to try and create an air flow and wiping down windows however, the most effective mould prevention is proper ventilation, which can't be created by just opening doors.
There is no one cure for mould due to the variety and level of severity the mould is and some require professional removal. For example if you have a problem with toxic mould, then you need to seek professional treatment in order to ensure that your home is a safe environment for you and your family. If you find a colony of toxic mould, it is very important that you do not disturb it. Touching or moving the mould can cause an enormous amount of harmful spores to be released in the air, to the detriment of you and the people you share your home with.
A simple solution for removing non-toxic mould from your home is to clean it using a non-toxic, mould cleaning solution. When the mould has been eradicated, it is important to dry the surface thoroughly, in order to prevent the mould from returning.
Another simple yet short-term solution is to kill the mould and nasty marks on your walls with bleach. If you do wish to try this tactic remember to wear thick clothes (you don't mind getting ruined), rubber gloves and a face guard as both the mould and bleach fumes can be dangerous to inhale. To clean mould off your walls, follow these steps -
Remember however, this is not a long term solution and you really need to tackle the cause of the mould to ensure it doesn't come back. If the mould is as a result of sewage or floodwater and your property is water damaged, you should not remove this yourself as it can be harmful to your health. It is best to seek a professional as the area will need to be treated and disinfected.
Most people assume that if your home is cleaned regularly you can't develop issues like mould, however mould is a factor of poor ventilation not cleanliness. Of course having a clean home will help keep on top of mould growing further but it won't address the issue.
Keep in mind, mould can grow anywhere, on my surface, including clothing, carpets, food, the insides of walls, pipes, in the ceiling, and the list goes on and on. Making sure to tackle any spills or moisture build-up immediately is also crucial. Letting moisture sit is a surefire way to invite mould growth. Even something as simple as a wet towel on the floor can cause issues.
Once you have a problem with mould, no matter how many times you clean, scrub, paint and even successfully remove it, the problem will always persist. The root cause, which in a lot of cases is inadequate ventilation, can be easily solved by investing in a whole house ventilation unit.
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