You should not ignore mould in your home as it can cause serious health problems for people with weak immune systems. Young children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions such as asthma are at particular risk from mould toxicity.
Clearing mould from your walls and ceilings is an essential first step in helping to prevent health issues. Still, it is also important to take a longer-term view and remove the conditions that allow mould to grow in your home, to begin with.
Mould grows from microscopic spores that are light enough to be carried by air. When these spores settle in a place with the right conditions, they will activate, and the mould will start to grow. There are thousands of different kinds of mould, but all proliferate under the right circumstances and can spread across walls and ceilings to create large dark patches that will, in time, release their spores.
Mould thrives in damp conditions. In most homes, patches of dampness in walls and on ceilings arise as a result of persistent condensation. Water vapour is released from the air as it cools and forms water droplets on surfaces. If this can soak through into the underlying wood or plaster, it will form a damp patch where moulds can quickly start to grow.
The spores released by moulds can provoke an allergic reaction in many people. This will typically be in the form of itchy eyes, a runny nose, or red patches on the skin. If the spores are inhaled, they can inflame the airways and this can cause symptoms including an asthma attack that may require hospitalisation.
Some species of mould provoke a more severe response: Mould toxicity. Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known as toxic black mould, is an ordinary domestic mould that releases chemicals called mycotoxins into the air as it develops.
Mould toxicity is a more serious response to the mycotoxins from mould. Known as an inflammatory cytokine reaction, it is a more chronic, long-term condition with vague symptoms that vary over time. Some of the most common symptoms of mould toxicity include:
The symptoms of mould toxicity can vary from person to person and overlap with other conditions, so it is essential to see your GP to get appropriate treatment.
While you can clean mould from walls and ceilings using dilute bleach or fungicidal cleaners, this is unwise if you are already suffering from a reaction to the mould, and a professional cleaner is recommended.
Removing mould may alleviate symptoms in the short term, but when the mould grows back, those symptoms will return, so you need to take steps to stop the mould from recurring.
If mould is caused by condensation, the concentration of water vapour in the air inside your house is too high. Steam from cooking, bathing, and drying clothes and towels indoors is absorbed by the air and released as condensation. Improving the ventilation in critical rooms such as bathrooms and your kitchen by installing extractor fans can help. Modern fans include moisture sensors and can run automatically to remove water vapour from the air, reducing humidity and preventing condensation.
If you find mould away from your bathroom or kitchen, then whole-house ventilation may be required. Positive Input Ventilation Systems (PIV) such as EnviroVent ATMOS displace stale and humid air from your home by drawing in fresh filtered air from outside. This is released throughout the property and stops condensation from forming everywhere, helping to even up temperatures and reduce concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products that can also cause respiratory problems.
If you have discovered mould on walls or ceilings inside your home and are worried about the health risks, we can help. EnviroVent have local ventilation specialists across the country who can visit your home to conduct a free home survey that will identify the causes of condensation.
Enter your postcode below to find a specialist near you who can help you get rid of mould problems for good and protect the health of your household.
© EnviroVent Ltd 2023. All right reserved. Part of S&P Group.