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Mould is a microscopic organism that requires three things to grow: organic material (such as wood or paper), oxygen and moisture.
Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. In a newly built home damp can occur if the water used when the house was built is still drying out. The usual suspect for the cause of mould within your home is prolonged condensation. Continuous condensation problems are usually accompanied by black mould.
Evidence suggests that mould can severely affect your health. It can cause headaches, breathing difficulties, nausea and fatigue. Mould is also a recognised allergen and irritant, and can trigger for more serious health problems such as respiratory problems and asthma. It can also be incredibly dangerous for those with a weakened immune system, babies, young children and the elderly.
Without good air flow in your home, excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they're in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mould at bay. Ventilation removes moist air from the building through extractor fans and encourages air to move more freely through the building.
Black mould is a dangerous fungus also known as Stachybotrys Chartarum. If you do have black mould growing or starting to grow in your home, get rid of it immediately and then get rid of the source of moisture. If you find a colony of toxic mould do not disturb it. Touching or moving it can cause harmful spores to be released in the air – seek a mould specialist immediately. To clean mould on walls mix one part bleach to four parts water and with a damp cloth gently scrub and wipe the mould until it has gone, then dry with a soft cloth. Bleach and household products however are not permanent mould removal treatments, so mould will come back again and again.
Ventilation prevents condensation problems by removing the moist air from the building through extractor fans. It also encourages air to move more freely through the building, preventing the air from becoming saturated and trapped in one area where it has time to release its moisture. Modern EnviroVent extractor fans include technology that allows them to respond to the humidity and increase the airflow to remove moist air more quickly. To address condensation development throughout the rest of a house, a whole house ventilation system may be required. These systems have a centralised pump which helps air flow into and out of all rooms in the building and prevents condensation settling into damp.
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