Treating Mould in Your Home or Unit
Concern about indoor exposure to mould has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mould can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions.
This article presents guidelines for the remediation of mould and internal air borne moisture problems in homes and units. Many thousands of dollars are wasted on repairs to the building fabric, as a result of misdiagnosing the causes of mould. Which is in most cases the build up of internal moisture resulting in surface condensation.
This article does not attempt to identify other potential dampness issues that may contribute to the presence of mould. We undertake Building Inspections with dampness moisture reading equipment to ascertain the causation of the mould. Once an accurate assessment has been carried out we can then make the appropriate recommendations.
What is mould ?
Mould is a type of fungus that grows on plants and fibres and is most often associated with damp, musty locations, with high levels of 'condensation', such as bathrooms and laundries. Mould travels through the air as tiny spores which like to make their home on cold wet surfaces, where they will breed.
What is condensation ?
Condensation is the process whereby water vapour in the atmosphere is returned to its original liquid state. Condensation may appear as clouds of vapour-mist, depending upon the physical conditions of the atmosphere. Condensation is not a matter of one particular temperature but of a difference between two.
What causes condensation ?
Condensation is caused when moisture-laden air comes into contact with a cold surface. The air is cooled to the point where it can no longer hold its burden of water vapour. At this point, (DEWPOINT), water begins to drop out of the air, and is seen as condensation on impervious surfaces such as, rendered walls, glass and gloss paint, beads of water collect and run down these surfaces.
When is mould most likely to occur ?
In cold wet winter months April through to October when people are more inclined to keep their windows and doors closed.
The continued use of cookers, showers and clothes driers, without the aid of cross flow ventilation, can cause excessive 'moisture vapour' to build up in the home. Especially in bathrooms and laundries.
The condensation then spreads to other rooms and deposits on cold moist surfaces, i.e. windows and walls, where it then turns in to water droplets.
Without the provision of adequate ventilation mould spores will quickly deposit on these surfaces and if not treated, the spores will breed rapidly.
How to prevent mould growing
There are a number of steps to take that will help prevent mould growing in your home.
- Increase the circulation of fresh air by opening windows and doors.
- Let the sun into your home by opening blinds and curtains during the day.
- Wipe away any moisture on your windows and walls to keep these surfaces dry.
- Don't have too many indoor plants.
- Dry your clothes and shoes before you put them away.
- If you use a clothes drier with a vent on the front, open a window so that moisture doesn't build up on the walls and ceilings.
- When you take a hot bath or shower, run the exhaust fan to prevent build up of moisture on the ceiling and walls.
- Some types of cooking generate a large amount of steam.
- Install a range hood above the cooker.
- Keep the filters in the extraction fans clean of dust and grease
How do I remove mould ?
- Do not dry brush the mouldy area. This could release spores into the air which can spread the mould further as well as cause an allergic reaction in some people.
- Remove mould by using a suitable mould remover bleach or a solution of vinegar and water. (read and follow the directions on the packet
- Ensure you comply with the safety precautions provided by the manufacturer to protect your eyes and skin from the solution or mould remover.
- After cleaning the mould-affected areas with the solution, wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth or sponge.
- Wipe all surfaces dry with a clean cloth. It is important to use a different cloth with each process and dispose of them immediately, otherwise the mould spores will be spread and mould will reappear in a short time.
- If a room needs to be re-painted, use an anti mould inhibiting paint