Mould can seriously damage materials in your home and lead to health problems for you, your family and your employees. Mould can thrive anywhere in an indoor space where conditions allow, and when mould releases its spores, it spreads easily. While a dark, dank basement or a moisture-rich bathroom is the obvious locations where mould grows, it can also grow in areas you might not expect, such as carpets, ceilings, clothing, paper, drywall and around leaking pipes. When mould is present it produces allergens and other irritants, and in rare, extreme cases: toxins. These can all pose health problems for you, your family and your employees.
When mould is present you should contact a reliable professional, such as ourselves at Mould Solutions, to remediate the situation. But there is also plenty you can do to prevent mould from growing in your home, office or other public space in the first place.
The key to preventing mould is controlling moisture in the space. While it’s impossible to completely mould-proof your home or office, you can identify areas that may cause a problem and address them. Check all visible piping and around the basement for moist areas where mould can grow. Does any carpet in your basement feel damp? Look for regular condensation on windows upstairs in your home or on upper floors of your office or building. Be mindful of water stains that may appear on your ceiling from a leak. Is there a musty smell in any room of your home?
Preventing mould growth can be as simple as identifying these areas and fixing the problem: rip up the damp carpet, fix the gutter, make sure nothing is blocking the downspout and that it’s discharging water away from the foundation, use mould-resistant products such as drywall and paint where possible. But it can also be more extensive, such as waterproofing the basement by exterior excavation and treating the foundation. Any areas that are wet should be dried immediately — mould doesn’t grow without moisture.
Because moisture is key to mould growth, utilize proper ventilation to prevent moisture build-up. Everyday activities such as doing the laundry, cooking dinner or taking a hot shower can create the conditions for mould to grow. Recognize where moisture occurs — Kitchen? Bathroom? Laundry Room? — and take action. Any appliances that produce moisture should be vented outside of the home and not into the attic. Try running the fan when taking a steamy shower. Dehumidifiers can help remove moisture from the air in basements of humid rooms, and air-conditioners can help keep hot, moisture-causing spaces cool. Because energy-efficient homes are excellent at keeping heat in, they can also trap moisture. Open a window if things get too warm or run an exhaust fan if cooking.
Airflow is also important for keeping mould in check. Air holds less moisture as temperatures cool, so without flowing air, moisture can collect on floors, walls and windows. Opening a window or a sliding patio door when possible is great for bringing fresh air into your space, but you can also increase circulation by opening the doors of rooms and closets, and keeping furniture away from walls.
Also be mindful of mould growth on things like plants and fruits and vegetables. Vegetables that are left out too long will start to decay and mould. And while a beautiful lush plant may add life to your interior space, its moist soil is ripe for mould growth. If you find mould, scoop it out and let the soil dry. Also keep the soil free of debris that can rot, such as fallen leaves. Be sure to avoid over watering plants, which leaves stagnant water that is an invitation to mould, and make sure they have plenty of sunlight. You can also add natural anti-fungal ingredients that help prevent mould growth, such as cinnamon or apple cider vinegar.
While there is no sure-fire way to keep mould out of your home or office, if you’re mindful and diligent, you can stop a small growth from turning into a serious problem. For more on mould prevention and remediation, contact Mould Solutions today for expert advice from our professional technicians.