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Mould in my rental property – What should I do?

Mould-in-my-rental-property

Rental properties are at just as much risk to mould problems as any other residence. When mold growth is excessive, remediation and removal can be expensive. Mould contamination is a real problem for landlords: loss of rent, invoices for expensive property damage, and lawsuits from tenants who suffer health issues from mould-related illnesses are just some of the issues that arise.

The issue with mould

Mould is a fungi. It is a natural part of the environment and mostly thrives in the outdoor environment. Mould becomes a problem when it blossoms indoors. Mold spores that find a moist place to develop inside homes pose as a serious cause for concern for two critical reasons – your health and future property damage.
The young, the elderly, and Individuals who suffer from respiratory conditions are especially prone to health-related problems due to mould growth. Even those who are generally healthy experience watery eyes, a runny nose and coughs that are triggered by mould spores.

Putting health issues aside, property damage occurs when mould takes hold and spreads. Porous materials, such as wood, drywall and carpeting sustain mould spores even when slightly damp. Areas rich in moisture nourish mould growth. Mould can flourish on surfaces, behind walls and under floorboards, weakening the materials it covers and becoming a hidden source of structural damage.
Mould has a dank and musty unpleasant smell, which is one of the first telltale signs of a problem within a rental property. Black splotches, like those spreading across the underneath of a sink or along bathroom walls, are a visual indication of a mould problem.
Three distinct types of mould are commonly found indoors, these are:

Aspergillus – This type of mould is allergenic and spores can generally be found inside air conditioning units.

Cladosporium – Black or dark green cladosporium mould spores grow behind toilets, on painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. This strand of mould is typically nontoxic to humans, but can trigger allergic reactions in vulnerable individuals.

Stachybotrys atra – This is a rarer mould species; however, it still exists and can be identified with its greenish, blackish coloring.

Preventing and reacting to mould

The more common areas that mould tends to establish in rental homes include areas that receive less ventilation, such as the bathroom and laundry. A leaking pipe can drip moisture underneath the kitchen sink, allowing mould to thrive alongside and beneath the cabinetry. Drafty windows can release moisture inside and mould also can find a point of entry from heating and air conditioning units.

When any species of mould grows inside your residence, the landlord should be notified immediately. Landlords are responsible for ensuring that tenant homes are habitable. Landlords are also responsible for notifying tenants of any existing mould within the rental property prior to the signing of the lease. Examine your lease to understand who is responsible for resolving circumstances around mould growth.

The responsibility of mould remediation falls upon the landlord if the mould presents a health hazard or makes the property uninhabitable. However, if the mould growth resulted from the tenant’s actions, the landlord can charge the tenant for the cost of mould remediation services. Read your lease for details about how to handle the presence of mould within your home.

Mould testing and assessment

If you suspect mould growth in your rental property, two options can confirm whether or not mould has taken hold. A do-it-yourself mould testing kit is one way of doing it. The other option is calling in a certified mould remediation company to offer a more accurate reading of the level of mould within your rental home. Renters may wish to ask their landlord to cover the expense of hiring a professional to evaluate any possible contamination of mould within the property.

If mould is obvious, take steps to document its presence. Clearly photograph the mould, or take well-lit videos showing evidence of the growth. Any leaks in close proximity to the mould should also be photographed or captured on video. When you notify your landlord about the mould within your home, keep detailed notes about the conversation, including the date and time of the call, as well as records about what was discussed to resolve the mould issue.

As a tenant of a rental property, you can take steps to prevent mold within your residence. Humidity levels maintained at 50 percent or less can efficiently control mould growth. Request immediate maintenance as soon as you discover faulty plumbing, a leaky roof or any other issues that allow moisture to enter the home. Prevent the buildup of condensation around windows, piping or exterior walls with insulation. Any damp carpeting must be dried thoroughly and quickly to avoid mould growth underneath. Mould growth can occur in as quickly as 48 hours.

Professional mould remediation

If mould contamination is discovered in your rental property, a professional mold remediation service is best suited to clean up the damage. Attempting a DIY removal only spreads the mould spores to other areas of the home, increasing the contamination.

Mould Pro is correctly equipped to return your rental property to its original, mould-free condition. Skilled mould remediation technicians use advanced mould detection equipment to conduct mould inspections that precisely evaluate the level of mould spores within your rental property. Specialists then professionally clean up all evidence of mould with current techniques that leave your property mould-free.

Does my home need better ventilation?

Does my home need better ventilation?

Have you been experiencing heavy humidity within your home? Have you noticed mould or mildew? Any musty smells? Well you may need to look at some more efficient forms of ventilation for your home. Below are a list of different types of ventilation you may need for your home in order to combat the dreaded mould and a little bit about the way in which they work.

Sub floor Ventilation

Mould lives in dark moist environments with no air flow. A sub floor ventilation system in your Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney home is a great way to combat this situation. By extracting air from a subfloor crawl space we are actually preventing that moist, damp, mouldy air from penetrating upwards into your home. The extraction process is actually pulling fresh air from outside in through the vents on the walls of your subfloor. The airflow being created then promotes drying. A professional ventilation company should design your sub floor ventilation system with the aim is to achieve cross ventilation through every part of the sub floor area.

Heat Recovery and Energy Recovery Ventilation

A heat recovery ventilation system exchanges fresh air from outside your property and uses the heat of the indoor air to heat the outside air as it comes in. Great during winter, though during the summer you would need the heat to be exchanged the other way around. An Energy Recovery Ventilation system does exactly this.

Once installed an Energy Recovery Ventilation unit can introduce fresh air from outside into your home. At the same time these ventilators expel the stale indoor air. With its inbuilt, highly efficient heat exchanger, it can recover 70% of the heat from the outgoing air and transfer it to the incoming fresh air. This means you get the benefits of security, no windows open, don’t lose heat and you still get fresh air into your home. Units can be ceiling or wall mounted and with inner air filters that are professionally designed to remove the pollutants of the incoming air, you will receive fresh and clean air at all times.

Bathroom Ventilation

Bathrooms and laundries need to be well ventilated. Showers, clothes dryers and washing machines all add moisture to the atmosphere in your home. If this moisture is not expelled it will have a direct impact on the air quality in your home.

It’s important to understand that baths, showers, washing machines and clothes dryers produce large volumes of moisture that if left without efficient ventilation would create hot humid air in your home which would quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and mould. We’ve all seen homes that have been affected in this way and you should aim for preventative rather than corrective measures.

Mould can be extremely dangerous, especially to the elderly or young children and if you already have mould in your home you should immediately call in a professional for your mould removal as it’s important you don’t try and dry out the area before the mould is removed as you could spread it further throughout your home. One of our company’s most common callouts is for removal of mould from bathroom ceilings or walls. It’s far better to make sure you have the right ventilation for your bathroom in the first place.

Laundry and bathroom ventilation usually consists of extractor fans, ducts and external louvres. It’s important that you have a system that can cope with the amount of moisture that your home produces. If after being used your bathroom represents a steam room there’s a good chance that you don’t have the right type of ventilation system for your home and your needs.

Roof Ventilation

In summer your roof can reach temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius. If you are using your air conditioning system to combat the heat of summer it will be fighting this heat build up. By installing a roof ventilation system we can expel this air and the immediate impact is in reducing the amount of air conditioning your property will require which means you will spend less money and help the environment while keeping cool and comfortable.

Roof ventilation is a great way to reduce the heat in your home during the summer months and removes moisture during the winter months, which is the main cause of mould. During the winter months we all lock down our houses to keep the warmth in our homes but this also means we keep in the moisture content that we produce. The average person creates over 20 litres of moisture and as the moisture and heat rises into the space between the ceiling and roof, it creates the perfect environment for mould to form. Mould can be extremely dangerous, especially to young children and the elderly and the majority of people who have roof ventilation installed notice an immediate benefit once installation is complete.

Why does a roof space become so hot and humid?

The air in your roof space is a build up of not just the natural ventilation occurring throughout your home but also air extracted from your bathroom, shower and kitchen – especially range hoods or extractor fans over your cooker.

A variety of highly efficient roof ventilation fans and ‘whirlybirds’ can be used to extract the hot or moisture rich air from your roof space and create natural ventilation throughout your property and there are significant advantages in doing this. Hot, humid air in your roof space provides the perfect environment for mould as previously stated so removing this has measurable health benefits. Additionally, it can cause damage to the structure of your home by speeding up decay of the building materials. Both timber and metals are susceptible to decay or corrosion from this type of environment and adequate roof ventilation will help protect the longevity of your home, meaning you save money on expensive repairs later on down the line.

Which ventilation system is right for your property?

Our sister company Zephyr Ventilation can examine your home and make the appropriate recommendations for the design of a ventilation system to meet all of your specific ventilation needs. If you already have a mould problem, it is important that you give us a call at Mould Pro to inspect the situation before any new ventilation system is installed.

How does water damage convert to mould growth?

With all the rain we have been experiencing up and down the coast at the moment there is always risk of excess moisture issues if your property is not up to scratch with water damage prevention.

Water damage in the home can cause all sorts of issues from internal cosmetic damage, all the way to structural damage….PLUS… Mould growth. How does water damage convert to mould growth? Mould is a build up of pesky microscopic spores that grow and multiply in an environment of excess moisture.

Roof Issues and Mould

Cracked or loose tiles, leaking skylights, rusty or loosened fasteners can all contribute to a leaky roof. When water enters your roof cavity it can cause a buildup of moisture which will in turn create the perfect environment mould to grow and can eventually cause timber to rot. The mould within your roof cavity can also cause damage to your ceiling from above. Having your roof checked by someone experienced will ensure that small repairs can be done with ease and not turn into larger issues of mould growth and rotting timber down the track.

Roof-Issues-and-Mould

Mould and Gutter Problems

When guttering becomes clogged there is nowhere for excess water to escape efficiently. This can increase the risk of water entering your home where it is not wanted. This in turn will cause water damage and can assist in mould growth.

Sometimes guttering can become loose or cracked and this can result in water escaping in all directions. Just like your roof, doing small regular repairs when needed can stop water from leaking into your property causing water damage, and eventually mould growth.

It is a good idea to clean out your gutters regularly, and at least once a year have them done by a professional so that any small repairs to your guttering can be performed at the same time.

worker cleaning house gutter from leaves and dirt

Mould, Rising Damp and Drainage Issues

Keeping your drainage maintained is important for keeping excess water at bay. If you feel that water is not draining away as it should, have your drainage assessed. If you don’t have any drainage around your property, this can be a major risk for water damage to your home in the event of flash flooding or even days of heavy rain. Water can pool around and under the subfloor of your home which can result in mould growth, rising damp and even termite issues.

If you have discovered large puddles in your yard that aren’t subsiding and mouldy areas from the floor upwards, this can be a sign of a property drainage issue. Sloping yards also need extra drainage due to pooling wet areas. If you are not sure of the drainage needs of your property, always ask a professional.

Mildewed walls

Mould and Plumbing Problems

If you are experiencing mould within your home it could be that there is a possible plumbing problem that has gone undetected. Leaking pipes can cause water damage and moisture buildup within wall cavities and cupboards. Look out for sprinklings of mould or dank musty smells. This is usually a sign that something isn’t quite right.

If you have already discovered mould from water damage in your home give us a call at Mould Pro. We are mould removal experts who will give your specialist advice specific to your property.

The most frequently asked questions on mould

The-most-frequently-asked-questions-on-mould

At Mould Pro, we deal with Mould problems every day. As a property owner it is completely common that you may have questions on mould – whether you actually do have a problem, where to look, and what to do about it. Mould is a common occurrence where there is excess water and moisture. Here is our most common questions and answers on mould:

Q: What is mould?
A: Mould is a microscopic fungus that is part of the natural environment and necessary for our ecosystem. Mould produces spores as part of its lifecycle, and the spores float and spread through the air, both inside and outside your property.

Q: How quickly can mould grow?
In the right conditions mould can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours.

Q: What does mould need to grow?
A: Mould needs a moist environment, the right temperatures and a food source, which could be leaves, paper, dirt, wood, or other porous building materials. Mould is more likely to be found in damp, dusty spaces or areas with stagnant air and low ventilation.

Q: Why would mould cause a problem?
A: Many people do not know that mould can cause serious structural damage to a property, which, if left untreated, can lower the property value and cause the owner the cost of significant repairs. Plus if you have ever suffered from allergies, exposure to moulds can often cause nasal issues, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation or in rarer cases more severe reactions.

Q: How can I tell if I have a mould problem?
A: If you see mould growth, water stains, mouldy or “dusty” looking clothes, then a professional mould assessment can help identify related fungal activity. You can also look for areas where water leakage has occurred, such as roofs, pipes, ceilings or walls. Musty dank smells may also indicate the presence of mould within your property.

Q: I have read that some moulds have are more dangerous than others. Is identifying the type of mould important?
A: You may have read terms like “toxic mould”, “green mould” and “black mold” used to refer to different types of moulds. When it comes to the different types of mould, it doesn’t affect the course of action taken to remediate it. If mould is present we strongly recommend that it be removed, no matter what type it is.

Q: What can I do to prevent mould growth within my home?
A: The most effective ways to keep the mould under control include keeping the humidity level of your home down to an acceptable level. You can make use an air conditioner or dehumidifier during the humid months and in damp spaces. Always utilise exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, along with dryer vents for the laundry outside your home. A good subfloor or roof ventilation system is also a great idea. If there are leaks in your roof, walls or plumbing, it is important to have them repaired by a professional as soon as possible.

Q: At what point does a mould problem need to be handled by a professional?
A: Most experts recommend a professional mould remediation company when elevated mould levels are detected. Though if you are not sure, it is best to consult a specialist for an assessment in order to isolate and treat mould-affected areas before mould spreads and grows.

Q: Would my home insurance cover mould ?
A: Home insurance will usually pay for mould damage that is a direct result of sudden and accidental water flooding. For example, if a pipe bursts mould growth results, the damage should be covered because the source of the water is covered by the insurance policy – Although this does depend on each individual policy and your insurance provider. Mould resulting from humidity or slow leaks that could have been prevented by routine home maintenance is not usually covered by your home insurance.

If you have a mould problem, we would love to assist you. Mould Pro specialists are trained to assess the problem and determine a solution that works for your individual property. Contact us to discuss today.

What are the steps in removing mould?

So you’ve discovered you have a mould problem in your home…. And now you’re wondering… “What’s next?” You’ve called in the professionals to deal with the issue – which is a smart idea, as you don’t want it getting out of hand and affecting the health of your family and pets. Mould spores breed like rabbits and you do not want the problem to spread. So what happens when you call in a mould specialist to assess the problem?

Mould Inspection

The very first step is having a mould inspection and assessment. Our mould experts will search your property for visible growth AND invisible growth. Because not all mould can be seen! Sometimes it is hidden behind walls, tiling, inside cupboards and behind furniture. We will inspect your property for invisible mould spores and higher than usual moisture levels by using professional humidity meters. Once we have thoroughly analysed your property we will determine the correct course of action needed to be taken in order to professionally remove the mould and prevent it’s return.

Mould-Inspection

Mould Correction

The next step in our professional mould removal service is to halt any direct moisture sources that may be occurring – We usually find these when looking for the invisible mould sources – such as subfloor water seepage, leaking pipes – this could be behind your walls, within your ceiling, or under the floor, depending on your building structure. Leaking ceilings are another culprit, sometimes caused by leaking gutters, pipes etc. Each customer will need a specific course of action for their specialist mould removal based on their situation, so the specifics of each job will be arranged and finalised once the inspection analysis on your property is complete.

Mould-Correction

Mould Removal

After we have determined the correct course of action for your professional mould remediation service we start the process with a mist spray of our non toxic, non hazardous, pet-friendly mould removal agent. This mould removal product is then spread across all surfaces of your home and extra scrubbing is undertaken on areas with visible mould growth. During the mould removal process we will use air purifiers to capture airborne mould spores, removing them from the home environment completely, rather than just moving them around from one space to another – remember mould spores spread and breed like rabbits!

Mould-Removal

Removing Excess Moisture

Sometimes moisture levels in a property can be particularly high. This could be due to flooding, or some other water damage that may have occurred. If this is the case we will place large dehumidifiers throughout the home to ensure that the building structures are properly dried out. If moisture is left in the air then mould can continue to thrive, grow again and multiply after the removal process.

Removing-Excess-Moisture

Mould Prevention

The final step in our mould specialist process is to ensure that mould does not return by rectifying the root cause of the mould and putting in preventative measures within the property to stop it from recurring. Each property and each case of mould problem is completely unique. Being mould experts we can advise you on the process that needs to be undertaken in order to achieve this on a case by case basis as no too mould problems are the same. Often it may involve increasing ventilation, drainage improvements, repairs – depending on the situation.

As Mould Pro specialise in mould problems, we are here to help. We would love to assess your building and get your property back into shape for the sake of your family’s health and your home environment.

Does rising damp cause mould? What are the signs of a problem?

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What is rising damp?

Rising damp occurs when excess moisture from the ground absorbs up into porous building materials such as stone, brick, earth, mortar and into the structure of the building. The moisture evaporates from either face of the wall, allowing more to be drawn from below. Rising damp is common in older buildings, but can also occur in more modern buildings if your damp-proof course has been damaged.

Though rising damp may cause unsightly aesthetic damage, it can also cause the structure of the building to be compromised and cause you bigger problems in the future. Damp walls also encourage mould growth, which can lead to health problems for occupants.

You can often identify rising damp by just looking at and touching your walls, though if you are unsure whether there is a real problem, it is best to have a water damage professional do an assessment.

What are the tell tale signs of rising damp?

There are a number of typical signs that can identify rising damp including:

TIDE MARKS AND DAMP STAINING

One of the most common signs of rising damp are tide marks left on walls. Tide marks are caused by evaporation and salts from the ground. You will usually notice them anywhere up to one metre above the skirting board.

If you do not notice tide marks, another frequent tell tale sign is damp patches or staining. usually, these damp patches are yellow to brown in colour and similar to tide marks, you will notice them again up to one metre above the skirting board.

PEELING WALLPAPER

If you’ve noticed wallpaper coming off or peeling from the wall there may be a damp issue. Usually the wallpaper will start coming loose from the skirting board first, and the corner of the wallpaper may be curved up.

DECAYED SKIRTING BOARDS

As with many forms of dampness, rising damp has the potential to cause rot within timbers it comes into contact with. Look out for skirtings that are cracked, easily crumble or localised fungus growing on or creeping out of the side. Also, look out for damaged or flaky paint.

SALTS WITHIN THE PLASTER

Fluffy deposits in the plaster are a sign of salts within the plaster. This is another sign of rising damp. These salts are washed out of your bricks and into your plaster leaving what can often look like blistering patches on your walls.

BLACK MOULD

If you start to notice black mould appearing above your skirting board it is a clear sign that there is some form of moisture issue affecting the area. This is especially true if you have no other black mould within the property and the black mould you see is localised from the skirting board to up to one metre above.

Yes, rising damp can cause mould!

As you can see above, rising damp can cause mould, with black mould being the most common culprit. Mould can cause detrimental health effects for you and your family, or the occupants of your property. Plus mould spores can spread once they take hold.

Identifying rising damp

Sometimes rising damp can be misdiagnosed. Often a leaking pipe or gutter can also cause moisture issues within the home. So if you are not sure and you want some expert advice, give us a call at Mould Pro. We can assess your moisture problem and give you the right specialised advice so that mould does not take hold in your home today.

How Does Mould Grow?

How-Does-Mould-Grow

What conditions in the home are best for mould growth?

Keeping mould from growing in your home is really important for the health of you and your family. The first step in keeping mould under control in your home is discovering what areas and conditions are best for mould growth. Mould spores thrive and multiply in moist wet conditions. How does mould grow? Mould grows easily when moisture and humidity are present. Mould spores search for a damp surface in your home so that they can begin to grow and thrive.

What does mould need to Grow? Mould spores need three things in order to grow and multiply. That being nutrients, moisture and time. Mould can start to grow on a surface in the right conditions in as little as 24 hours.

How can I prevent mould growth in my house?

Mould spores are everywhere. They are carried by air currents throughout your home. They look for a moist dark environment where they settle and multiply. In order to prevent mould growth in your home is to maintain your home in order to keep out excess moisture. This includes having your roof checked regularly for leaks, have plumbing maintained and drying any spills, leaks or flooding that may occur.

It is recommended that home humidity levels are kept to to 30-50% to prevent mould growth. Mould also grows efficiently in warmer more humid climates, and blossoms at 25 to 30 °C. Condensation on or around windows can be an indication that your home’s moisture levels are too high. Two ways a homeowner can decrease the humidity in the home is by increasing ventilation and buying a dehumidifier.

To increase your home’s ventilation, be sure to use correctly vented exhaust fans while in the kitchen and bathroom, to reduce the moisture in the air. Assure that ventilation throughout your home is adequate to keep up with moisture levels, consider sub-floor and roof ventilations as well as high quality bathroom and laundry ventilation systems. If your home is still struggling with higher than advisable humidity levels, consider buying a dehumidifier to maintain a optimum levels of humidity resistant to mould growth. Make sure you purchase a dehumidifier that will cover the square footage necessary for your residence.

Attending to moisture leaks in your home

If your home has water leaks, it is likely that mould will follow. Leaks can occur in pipes, roofs, appliances and windows. Because leaks are usually undetectable behind a wall or in the ceiling, leaks can have the advantage of time to release water into your home continuously. This constant influx of water can increase mould growth considerably. To look for leaks in your home, be on the lookout for –

  • water stains
  • warping or bowing of walls and architraves
  • deterioration of wood
  • bubbling or cracking paint or wallpaper
  • Symptoms of mould sickness in your family

Flooding and other water damage

Flooding is a serious risk factor for mould growth. When excessive amounts of water enter a building and remain for a period of time, mould will begin to develop in as little as 24 hours. Therefore prompt action is needed in the event of a flood to prevent or reduce mould damage in your home.

You may wish to hire a professional to restore your home after a flood. This is a very good option because a professional water damage specialist has the credentials and equipment to deal with flood and water damage in a home most flood damage specialists will even deal with your insurance for you.

What is stachybotrys chartarum?

Stachybotrys chartarum is a toxic mold/fungi that commonly grows in homes and buildings and can cause “sick building syndrome,” this is medical condition where people develop symptoms of illness that go away or improve when they are not in the building that contains the mould issue. Stachybotrys chartarum is greenish-black in colour and can be slimy to the touch. This harmful mould likes to grow on high-cellulose material such as dry wall, carpet, wall paper, fiberboard, ceiling tiles, thermal insulation, etc therefore it is commonly found growing indoors. Some other common moulds that grow indoors are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. Indoor moulds grow when there is water damage, too much moisture or humidity, water leaks, or flooding.

Where does mould grow best?

The kitchen and bathroom are often places in your home that mould likes to grow. The humidity from baths, showers, cooking, and washing dishes is often higher in these rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms usually have more plumbing than other areas of your home which could develop leaks within the walls. If you have a roof leak, the ceiling could be harbouring mould. It is important to check for leaks in these areas, monitor the humidity, set up proper ventilation and dry up any condensation that develops. Be sure to also check for mould in air conditioning and heating ducts, washing machines, dishwashers, and in the shower and bathtub.

What are the symptoms of indoor mould exposure?

Sometimes you can’t see mould because it is within a wall or in the ceiling cavity. However, if you’ve been experiencing some of these symptoms that improve when you are no longer in the home, you may want to have your house checked by a mould professional.

  • skin rash
  • eye irritation
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sneezing
  • cough

You should talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and consider having your home tested by a mould expert.

Preventing mould Indoors

Prevention is better than cure and it It is always better to take action to prevent mould through keeping your home in the right conditions rather than dealing with an expensive and unhealthy mould issue in the future. The right ventilation systems and performing routine maintenance can save a lot of money by avoiding mould contamination in the long run. The following six steps will significantly reduce your risk of mould or other issues in the home.

  • Monitor indoor humidity
  • Clean and repair roof gutters
  • Dry wet materials quickly
  • Fix leaks
  • Increase ventilation
  • Have your roof checked regularly

So, how do we prevent mould growing in our house? The key is to reduce the conditions that are best for mould growth. What does mould need to grow? Nutrients, moisture, and time If you control the moisture, clean up and dry water damage, and reduce the time water or moisture is allowed to remain (within 24 hours), mould will have less of a chance to take up residence in your home.

Do you think you may have a mould problem? Give us a call at Mould Pro and we will be happy to assess your home for mould today.

Can I paint over mould?

Can-I-paint-over-mould

If you have a mould issue on the walls of your home, whether it be internal or external it can look unsightly.

Mould happens to grow and multiply very fast so if your walls are damp with excess moisture, they may quickly become covered in it. You may be looking for a quick fix and thinking “can I just paint over mould?

Painting over mould is quite a common method to disguise it. But the problem is – you are only hiding the issue temporarily. Some people choose to paint over mould in to order to hide the awful stains that appear on their walls. Unfortunately the people that do this have no idea of the health implications of mould in the home. Sadly it is common that homeowners, landlords and even property managers often paint over mould because it is a quicker and cheaper way to hide the problem. But the thing is, it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t kill the mould, and will only hide it until it breaks through the paint surface again.

What are the signs of painted over mould?

If you suspect your walls may have mould under the paint, you may be able to smell a stale musty smell and you could see visible signs in the affected areas. You may notice that the paint is bubbled, cracked or chipped. You may notice slightly darker patches in the paint. White or lighter coloured paint could have gained a yellow tinge as a sign of water damage. You may also have noticed the walls or ceiling aren’t completely flat, they could bubble or bow out which is also another sign of water damage.

A lot of mould in the home has been grown from past water damage and if you there could be mould growth behind any painted areas in your home you will need to find out the source of the mould problem and have it remediated – not paint over it. If not attended to properly, mould can cause serious health problems for the inhabitants of your home.

What is mould remediation?

Mould remediation is when the source of the mould problem is identified and rectified. The mould is killed and removed.

So many hardware stores advertise “mould resistant paint” this does not mean you can buy this paint and paint over your mouldy areas. This is unfortunately something that confuses people who are unaware, they think this paint will kill mould and stop it from re-appearing. You must properly kill and remove mould before repainting. If the mould is not remediated properly, it will keep growing and will eventually break back through the paint surface. Plus if the source of the mould is not dealt with, it will only keep coming back.

If you do suspect that there is mould growth underneath the paint on your walls or ceilings, you should definitely look to book in a mould remediation specialist to start mould testing and inspection. The specialist mould technician will carry out an assessment of your home to determine the source of the mould and the extent of the mould damage as well as recommend any repairs that may need doing once the mould source has been dealt with. Mould can grow very fast in the right conditions – even under paint, even under “mould resistant paint”.

Mould spores spread easily and quickly. So while you think you could tackle the mould yourself, sometimes it is just best for the sake of your health and those you love to just hire a professional to come in and do the job right. Especially if there is a hidden source of mould deep within the walls which is most likely caused by water damage, a professional mould specialist will know exactly where to look and how to deal with it quickly and efficiently.

What if I’m renting a mouldy property?

If you are renting a property that you suspect has a mould problem and your landlord or property manager has taken the quick fix route and decided to paint over it rather than deal with it properly, you have every right to ask for professional mould remediation. Mould can affect the health of all inhabitants of the property and it is definitely in the best interest of the landlord and property manager to look after the health of their tenants. The legal ramifications down the track can become very costly should they choose to just cover up the problem.

So, should I just paint over mould?

No! Some think that mould remediation can be costly. But the longer you leave it, the most costly it can become. Not only in possible structural damage, but the damage to your health and that of your family.

Paint does not and will not kill mould plus the mould will come back anyway! Painting over it will not stop the source of the mould. Mould will continuously grow under the paint until it is killed, removed, and the source of the mould stopped. If you suspect mould, book in a professional mould inspection to ensure the mould is identified and the source of the water damage is discovered. Once you know the extent of the water damage or source of the mould you can commence remediation and repairs.

Give us a call at Mould Pro, our professional team is ready to assess your property today!

Improving The Air Quality Within Your Home

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Everyone wants to live a healthy happy life. But what if the air you are breathing inside your home could be harming you and your family in various ways. Nothing in this world is more important than the air you breathe, so you should make it your aim this year to improve the air quality in your home. Here are some tips to help with your planning.

What’s your indoor air quality like?

Not many of us stop to think about the pollution INSIDE our homes – the air that is circulating within our home on a daily basis . We all know that traffic and industry cause pollution in the air outside, but what is happening inside? Air in a poorly ventilated home can be just as polluted if not more than the air outside. When indoor air quality is poor, it is simply not as clean, fresh and pure as it should be.

What are the main causes of poor indoor air quality?

The air quality inside a building is affected by various factors. Pollution from the outdoors coming in through windows and doors is one factor, especially in cities and densely populated areas.

Though other factors that affect our indoor air quality are:

  • Gases are given off by heating and cooking appliances
  • Volatile organic compounds from cleaning products, paints and plastics
  • Smoke and other airborne particulates
  • Allergens such as mould and dust all contribute to bad indoor air quality
  • Radon gases from underground can also penetrate into your home and reduce air quality if you live in an area where these naturally occurring gases are more highly concentrated
  • Bad indoor air quality will be worsened in a situation where there is little or no natural air flow within the home, which can lead to condensation build up, damp and mould.

What problems can poor indoor air quality cause in your home?

As time goes by lack of airflow and poor quality air can begin to damage the structure of your home and its fittings and fixtures. If stagnant air sits around your home for too long, you will come across all sorts of problems. Condensation can form in bathrooms and kitchens and can create damp problems. Mould, which is a serious allergen, will grow and flourish. Even in houses that do not suffer from damp, bad air quality can still cause issues. Carpets, wallpaper, curtains and soft furnishings can all become permeated with nasty, musty smells that can be hard to remove. Eventually poor air quality can damage the interior of your home and change the way it looks and smells long term.

How is poor indoor air quality damaging our health?

Poor indoor air quality can cause chronic health problems, especially when caused by the number one problem: Mould. The lungs and heart are the main organs affected. Scientific studies have shown the link between bad indoor air pollution and health issues. Cooking can emit nitrogen dioxide which can cause a range of breathing issues. Whilst VOCs can cause a decrease in lung function setting off asthma, wheezing and an increased risk to your heart and whole respiratory system. Nasal irritation is very common as well as dry mouth, a constricted throat and scratchy sore eyes.

How to improve the air quality in your home

The good news is it is easy to improve on the air quality within your home. The most simplest way is to improve on your home ventilation and improving air flow rates in your house, as this will improve air quality as a start. Sophisticated technology in ventilation systems will constantly monitor the humidity levels and flow rates of the air in your home, so the system always works efficiently and effectively. Heat Recovery ventilation solutions will not only help you improve indoor air quality but also help you save money on electricity. Our sister company, Zephyr Ventilation can advise you on the right type of ventilation system needed for your home.

An expert mould check and remediation, if needed, plus a good ventilation system are the first steps towards better air quality. You can then further enhance your living space and improve air quality further by taking the following measures:

  • Introduce living plants which are natural air purifiers
  • Remove carpets and have natural, hard flooring instead
  • Use only natural household cleaning products
  • Use paints and other decorating materials that are low in VOCs
  • Reduce the amount of plastic and the number of new items coming into your home
  • Live a more sustainable and natural way of life.

You can now plan some positive steps to improve the air quality in your home so as to enjoy the benefits of cleaner, fresher air and a healthier home for you and your family.

Inviting mould into your home through your laundry

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The Laundry and Mould

What does mould need to thrive? A warmth moist environment and something to cling to. It is no wonder then that that the laundry and dirty clothes hampers, in fact, are the perfect regions for mould to grow, as they commonly provide mould spores daily access to a lavish supply of decaying organic material such as dirt, dust, urine, hair, body oils, sweat, food, etc to feed on and, as well as generally being a moist environment.

With all that being said, your chances of acquiring mould growth in your laundry or dirty clothes hampers are especially high. Sometimes depending on the climate that you reside in, having mould come into your home through your laundry can be a constant battle, especially in the higher humidity climates or in homes that have moisture issues.
Even if a home does not suffer from moisture issues, the usual mundane daily tasks performed within your laundry could be inviting and maintaining mould growth.

What do you do with your dirty clothes?

When your family removes their soiled clothes, what do they do with them? Do they sit in a heap in the corner of a room? On the floor of the bathroom? Get pushed under the bed or shoved to the bottom the wardrobe? Or do they all comply and pop it in the designated laundry hamper?

No matter where the clothes are placed, the important part is what state the dirty clothes were left in when they were placed there and how long it took for them to make it to the washing machine!

Dirty washing can be soiled with food

You may have mopped up a milk spill with a towel. Your child may have spilled their weetbix all over their pjs at breakfast. You may have accidentally dumped your coffee all down your shirt first thing this morning…. You get the idea… If this happens, throw it in the wash that day, not at the end of the week.

Dirty washing can be soiled with sweat

Mould loves bodily fluids… Yes. So those gym clothes need to be washed TODAY. Those sweaty work clothes need to be washed as soon as possible, and yes the kids sweaty school uniforms need to go into the machine at your earliest convenience. While these things may not feel damp to touch, bundling them up and letting them sit in the hamper for a few days is not a good idea.

Dirty washing can be wet

Your toddler may have wet their pants, or a wet towel may be sitting at the bottom of the basket from this mornings shower. More and more items could end up piled up on top of this and the items on the bottom stay wet. The wet items will likely be forgotten about and end up being left to become a mould-breeding playground.

Within the clothes hamper

Moist laundry or severely soiled laundry thrown into the hamper, or piled onto the floor somewhere can cause a spot of trouble. This is because as mentioned, more and more dirty items are usually piled on top and that towel that was put in early this morning never dries!

Some days life is busy, crazy even, and you may not be able to put a wash on every day. Yes, guarantee more often than not that wet towel will be forgotten about. Sometimes that wet or soiled item may be a different fabric or colour that can’t be washed with other items. That may mean you will have to delay its washing even further.

It is also important to look at the hamper itself when you take the items out. Is there any excess moisture that needs removing with a cloth? If it’s fabric, does it need a run through the machine also? Take a look, because if there is moisture build up, soilage or mould within the hamper, that could be getting into your clothes and spreading through your home.

During and after the machine wash

Always use the right laundry detergent and the right temperature for each specific load. You want to make sure that each item has been fully cleaned to remove any organic matter which is food for mould.

Once your load is done, remove it from the machine as soon as you possibly can. Leaving wet washing in the machine leaves that musty smell, and keeps a nice moist environment for mould. Try and hang it or put it in the dryer as soon as you can.

Always make sure you leave your washer door open so that the machine can dry out completely before closing it. A lot of mould can build up in washing machines, this is one way to combat this. Running some white vinegar through an empty wash cycle is another good way to clean out your washing machine and reduce the risk of mould growth.

Within the clothes hamper

It’s important that you try to keep your laundry clean and well ventilated. Dryers should be ducted outside, and if this is not possible, a window or door needs to be open when the dryer is operating. Benches should be wiped down regularly to keep dust to a minimum, and the floor should be swept or vacuumed weekly.

The machines themselves need a good wipedown weekly and the filters emptied and cleaned out regularly. Always ensure that pipes and hosing are attached tightly and correctly to avoid any water leaks.

When it’s too late and the mould has taken hold

Sometimes it’s a little too late, and you may need a professional to come in and take a look at the situation. At Mould Pro we have years of experience with dealing with mould testing and mould remediation and we would love to help. Give us a call and have a chat with one of our friendly staff today.

What I have learnt from experiencing a mouldy house

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Lucy Jones lived in your average older house in the suburbs of Brisbane with her husband and two kids. They had only just bought the house 3 months prior. Soon after moving in they started to notice the kind of sickness they had hardly felt before. “I would go through a box of tissues a day. My kids and I were constantly blowing our noses and coughing. We were all sleeping more than ever, and we just felt terrible. Luckily my husband Joe didn’t suffer as badly, he only thought he had a touch of hayfever.”

What Lucy didn’t know at the time, was that there was some major mould issues in their house. Here are Lucy’s recommendations below:

  1. If you smell any musty odors or visible signs of mould – never ignore it! (Mould in the shower is fine – Though you should really clean it!) If you are seeing mould in places you wouldn’t usually expect to find it, like in your wardrobe, on clothes, under the bed, on shoes or on the back of artworks hanging on the wall – Get it checked out! Inhaling mould spores is damaging to your health. Mould specialists can test these areas and more to work out what type of mould it is and where it is coming from.

     

  2. If you discover mould, don’t try to clean it yourself. It needs to be done in a certain way so that spores don’t spread, multiply and become inhaled by home occupants. Again, a mould expert needs to find the cause of the mould and where it’s coming from. Unfortunately Lucy’s house was on a sloping block and due to lack of drainage water was pooling underneath causing many moisture issues.

     

  3. When purchasing or renting a home, be careful of drainage issues. If purchasing, get a proper building inspection and ensure that they check the drainage. Lucy also discovered once the mould surveyors came in that the roof also had some leaking areas and some of the guttering needed replacing. These are also issues that will cause the growth of mould due to excess moisture getting through. If you’re renting and you start to notice mould or excess moisture issues, contact your landlord to have it inspected ASAP.

     

  4. You need to keep a home as well ventilated as possible. This could be just creating more airflow in the home by opening more windows and doors. Ducting clothes dryers to the outside of the laundry. Using your exhaust fan in the kitchens and extraction fans in the bathrooms. In some homes this is simply not enough and you need to look into a ventilation system. Check out https://www.zephyrventilation.net.au/ – We definitely recommend these guys for ventilation of your home.

     

  5. If you find you are suffering with upper respiratory health issues that are just not moving on, please have your home checked for mould. The mould and moisture could definitely be hidden. Perhaps it is behind a wall, or under the flooring. Living in the humid climate of QLD, where it frequently rains you never know when excess water can be trickling into hidden areas.

“For anyone who may have spotted mould in their house or is experiencing chronic health problems and just don’t know what to do about it or even where to begin I hope that this article is a good start.” Says Lucy. “I was just so thankful that someone recommended getting in touch with a mould expert, such as Mould Pro”.

Mould in your home after flooding

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Those who lived in Brisbane in 2011 know first-hand that we live in a crazy world. Mother nature can flex her muscles at any moment and send water where we never intended it to go. Since mould grows and thrives in a moisture rich environment, a flooded home is perfect. Mould is the last thing we want in our home. Not only does it look and smell terrible, but it is a health hazard to you and your family.

What can you do about it?

About the flooding? Not much sadly, except maybe live at the top of a hill, or an apartment building off the ground floor. But once your home has been flooded, there are things you can do to minimise the amount of mould that will grow:

  • Start hauling wet things, especially plush items like pillows, upholstered furniture, or curtains out of the house to a place like the garage or the driveway where they can dry.
    Use a shop vac or wet vac to suck water out of soggy carpets.
  • Fans can help get air moving in enclosed spaces, but be aware they may not be enough.
  • Consider renting or buying a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels low in the air in rooms you’re trying to dry. Basements and big areas may require larger, commercial-sized machines.
  • Remove baseboards and skirting boards from flooded walls.
  • Cut small openings along the bases of walls to let air into the wall to dry the back as well as the front.

How long have you got?

The faster you act, the more you can save. “You’ve really got 24 to 36 hours to work with,” says Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Centre for Healthy Housing, a not for profit organization that wrote a guide to help residents clean up flooded homes after Hurricane Katrina. Mould is dangerous to those with asthma or pre-existing health problems, but high levels of mould are dangerous to otherwise healthy people.

DIY or call in the professionals?

If you choose to clean it up yourself don’t forget to use protection. A respirator – either a P95 or a P100 – will keep particles out of your lungs. Wear non-porous gloves, eye protection and coveralls to protect your clothing. Open windows and make sure the room is well ventilated. Do NOT mix bleach with other cleaning products to kill the mould. Mixing bleach and ammonia and other cleaning products will produce toxic fumes which are dangerous to you.

If more than one room of your house has been flood affected you should probably call in the professionals. They will bring in big fans and dehumidifiers to dry everything out. This needs to happen before you can even think of getting rid of the mould. No point wiping it off for it to grow back again! They will also be able to take care of testing and certifying how well they do the job, which the insurance company will want to see.

It is not uncommon for flooded properties to also have trouble with fire and smoke damage, from electrical fires that can occur from appliances and wiring getting wet. If this is the case with you then look at a company like www.disasterrestorations.com.au. They can take care of that and deal with the insurance company too.

Want to talk to one of our professionals? Contact us today for an obligation free quote.

What are the main causes of mould in your home?

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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.

Mould-proofing your Home for the Wet Season

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.

For more information on the BEST ventilation ideas for your home check out www.zephyrventilation.net.au.

Clean and inspect your roof gutters

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.

What’s Next?

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.