The presence of mould in your home is an indicator of an underlying problem with damp and poor ventilation. Mould thrives in conditions where there is limited airflow and a build up of high levels of moisture causing damp in walls, ceilings, and woodwork. Mould is an unpleasant site in a home – large patches of black on ceilings and in corners are not nice to look at – but it can also be harmful to your health. All moulds release spores that can cause allergic reactions, and some moulds such as Stachybotrys Chartarum (Toxic Black Mould) also produce mycotoxins that can be damaging to the health of people with weaker immune systems such as the elderly or young children.
If you have started to notice mould growing in your home, your first priority should be to clean it, but if you want to stop it returning, you need to understand what is creating the environment where mould can thrive, and then take steps to remove those conditions and banish mould for good.
Moulds are a type of fungus which means that they spread using tiny, microscopic particles called spores. These spores are carried on the air until they come to rest and can be found almost everywhere in your home as part of your household dust. Unless the spores land somewhere suitable, they remain inert and will eventually be carried on by the movement of air, but if the conditions are right, they will quickly start to grow and spread.
Like all living things, mould needs water and nutrients. In a building like a house, the moisture that mould needs is readily available. Most domestic moulds grow on damp patches on walls and ceilings. These are often formed by condensation soaking into the surface of the wall and building up below the surface.
Mould gets most of the nutrients it needs from the air, but as it grows in damp patches, you may notice that the underlying plaster starts to crumble away. This is not as a result of the mould, but it does release some volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) into the air that can affect your health.
The other thing that moulds need to grow is still air. In places with good airflow, such as the centre of a room, mould spores will not normally be in place long enough to come out of their dormant state and start to grow. IN areas without good air flow, such as in corners, or behind furniture, the mould has more time to develop and there is a greater likelihood that once mould settles on a surface that is protected from air movement, it will have a chance to become a problem in your home.
There are several ways in which improved ventilation can help to stop mould growth in your home. The first, way is by reducing humidity levels.
Extractor fans in wet rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms remove moist air from cooking and bathing from the house so that it does not have the chance to escape into other rooms where it might start to cause damp patches.
Modern extractor fans are highly efficient and can include moisture sensors that allow them to adjust the amount of power they use depending on the level of humidity that they detect. This is important in preventing condensation because the quicker moist air is removed from your home, the less time there is for it to spread into other areas.
The other way in which ventilation helps prevent mould is by improving the flow of air through other rooms. Whole house ventilation solutions such as Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) systems such as EnviroVent Atmos work by drawing filtered fresh air into a building from outdoors and releasing it gently throughout the building from a central unit in the loft. This fresh air displaces the stale or moist air quickly without causing draughts and can also help to disperse heat more effectively.
With steady air flow into and out of rooms, it becomes harder for mould to gain a foothold, and coupled with reduced levels of humidity preventing damp, a whole house ventilation system can get rid of condensation and mould in your home for good.
If you have discovered mould on your walls or ceilings and are worried about the potential risk to your health, please contact us today. Our local ventilation specialists can carry out a free home survey of your property that will identify the cause of your mould problem and then they can provide advice about the best solution for your needs. Contact us today to book your free home survey.
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