You’ve noticed that “musty” smell, and you are wondering – Is there mould in my home? And what has caused it?
Mould is a visual sign of excess moisture in your home and it grows due to various reasons. The most common cause of mould growth in your home is due to excess condensation, and many people do not realise just how much condensation can be created by normal everyday life in the home. Condensation is quite ok in your average house, but it should dry up fairly quickly or if it continues to lay stagnant mould could start to grow.
Mould is naturally part of our environment. Outdoors it breaks down dead organic matter such as leaves and dead trees. While outdoors mould can be a good thing, indoors it can cause havoc and should be avoided, not only does and it smell and look awful, it can cause nasty effects on our health. The way mould reproduces in your home is through the multiplication of tiny spores. The spores are so tiny that you are very unlikely to see them as they float through the air. Mould can begin growing in your home once these tiny spores land on moist surfaces. All mould need moisture to grow, therefore identifying any sources of condensation and abolishing them as quickly as possible should be a priority.
Building materials are great homes for mould growth. Excess moisture can be caused by incomplete drying of flooring materials, such as concrete, floor boards, carpet and so on. Flooding, whether it be by rising waters, flash flooding or any inside water accidents caused by faulty indoor plumbing can create a marvellous breeding ground for mould growth. Leaking roofs can also be a major contributor to mould. Moisture vapour passes through walls and ceilings and typically condenses over the cooler months with a longer heating season. As long as a surface is porous and moist, mould growth has the opportunity to occur. With the right conditions mold growth begins from 24 hours to 10 days.
Large mould growths require not only moisture but food sources – such as dust and cellulose. Housing materials such as plywood, drywall, carpet and underlay provide the perfect outlet for mould spores to source their nutrition. If a building experiences water damage mould is likely to grow within walls and lay dormant until humidity rises. If there is inadequate airflow with the building this is when the problem can really take hold. Nasty Mycotoxin levels are much higher in buildings that have had water damage, such as flooding or plumbing incidents. Even after the building has completely dried out, mould can still be an issue.
Mould can sometimes be hidden!
You can usually detect mould in your home by it’s smell and signs of water damage on walls or ceiling. But it can grow in places that you can’t generally see. It can be found behind wallpaper or wall paneling, on the inside of ceiling tiles, the back of drywall, or the underside of carpets or underlay. Plumbing pipes within walls may also be a source of mold, since they can sometimes leak causing moisture and condensation.
If you have found that your mould problems only occur during certain times of the year, your house is possibly lacking in airflow and ventilation. Mould problems occur in airtight homes more frequently in the hotter months when humidity is high inside the house, and moisture is trapped and unable to dry out. It can also occur in drafty buildings more frequently in the colder months when the warm air escapes from the living area and causes condensation.
What to do if you suspect a mould problem?
Get in an expert. You need to get the mould assessed to see what type it is and the best way to treat it before it spreads further and puts your family’s health at risk. Sometimes if the mould is hidden, like in the roof cavity on within walls you will have no idea where exactly to locate the main source or how to treat it correctly without further damaging areas of your home. Intrusive observation is sometimes needed to assess the mould level. This can include moving furniture, lifting or even removing carpets, checking behind wallpaper or paneling, checking ventilation ductwork and exposing wall cavities. Heavy mould growth will require professional mould remediation to remove and replace the affected building materials and eliminate the source of excess moisture. The aims of professional remediation are to treat or worst case remove contaminated materials and preventing further spores from entering a non-contaminated area. At Mould Pro we are experts in mould testing, assessment, treatment and removal. We can guide you through what you need to know to work through the process. Give us a call and one of our experienced team will be happy to assist you today.
It’s springtime. Therefore there is a lot of storms and rainy days, all the while humidity is also usually at it’s highest. This is prime conditions for mould spores to spread their wings and multiply. Mould is not only unsightly and smells awful, it also has negative impacts on our health and wellbeing.
So how can we go about mould-proofing our home for the wet season?
Identify any potential problematic ‘zones’
Do you notice any condensation on your windows or blinds in the morning when you get up? Do you wipe it down to dry it? Blinds, curtains and shutters are often hotspots for mould growth as that is where a lot of night time condensation gathers.
Have you noticed any overhead dripping pipes outside? Sometimes these dripping pipes can cause issues with moisture build-up that can go on to cause ‘rising damp’ that can go unnoticed until it is a big problem. It is best to check the reason why these pipes are dripping, and lead them away from your building and to a drainage area.
What about your laundry? Is the dryer correctly connected to an outdoor vent? Or are you drying your clothes is a hot steamy laundry that is the perfect breeding ground for mould growth. How are the extraction fans in your bathrooms? Are they strong enough to remove steam and condensation from your bathrooms?
Are there any drainage problems you have noticed around your property after heavy downpours? Water pooling in areas up against your building is not a good sign.
Any and all of these can lead to damp and, ultimately, mould. Take care to address such issues with effective moisture control at your earliest convenience.
Good Ventilation in your property can be the key
When cooking always use your range hood fan so that the steam escapes. Have your clothes dryer connected to an outdoor vent so that the moisture escapes outside rather than steaming up your laundry. If you are unable to do this, open up a window, or add a screen door to your laundry for ventilation. When you can, open up your bathroom windows after showers so that the bathroom can completely dry out.
Airing out bedrooms in the mornings is also a great move to stave off damp and combat mould growth.
Always clean out your gutters regularly, and if you are unable to do this yourself, have a professional do it for you. During your clean out you can see if there are any cracked and damaged guttering that may need replacing. Having a professional do this at the time can also mean they may be able to repair or replace cracked or damaged guttering at the same time as the cleaning is being done. Cracked and damaged roof gutters can allow moisture to seep through to areas where it shouldn’t be, allowing the build up of damp and eventually mould.
Keeping your roof gutters cleaned, and in good condition on a regular basis is one of the most effective moisture control techniques. Not only does it help with moisture in your roof cavity, but also leaking gutters can cause damp build up in areas of your property that would not normally happen if gutters were maintained correctly.
Have your roof inspected on a regular basis
Having your roof professionally inspected on a regular basis will ensure that any potential leak hazards can be found and rectified. It could be anything from cracked and damaged tiles to old or incorrectly installed skylights that can lead to roof leaks. Having a regular inspection will allow the professional to discover any potential leaks that can be repaired so as to prevent any future risk of damp and mould growth.
Roof tiles can break easily when they’re stepped on, so it’s important to take care if accessing your roof. Tiles can also become broken or cracked by branches dropping onto them, and even from children throwing items onto the roof, such as heavy balls and cricket bats. Skylights can also problematic for leaks. It’s possible for installation to be performed incorrectly, leaving gaps where water can get through. They can also become cracked and damaged by hailstones and branches. The usual wear and tear is also a factor, with older skylights developing more leaks.
For roofs that are constructed from a metal material such as steel or tin, it’s important to watch for the signs of rusting, as severe rust can lead to holes developing. Identifying rust early and taking steps to repair any damage can help prevent any extensive problems leading to leakage. Chimneys are another common cause of roof leaks, with inadequately waterproofed chimneys often being the complication.
If you’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to mould-proofing your home, or you have discovered a bit of a damp mouldy smell coming from an area in your house, or perhaps you’ve had your roof checked and there are some issues with leakage – You may need some help to ensure that the problems don’t escalate. Feel free to give us a call at Mould Pro today so that we can assist you with mould-proofing your home before the next lot of rain comes through.