Person holding a model wooden house

MOULD AND MILDEW

Welcome to my blog dedicated to shedding light on the often underrated and overlooked issue of mould and damp in our homes and living spaces. While these may seem like insignificant concerns, the truth is that mould and damp can have a significant impact on our health and overall well-being.

This blog will explore the various aspects of mould and damp, including their causes, consequences, and effective solutions. The aim is to raise awareness about these hidden intruders and provide you with essential information to help prevent and address the problem in your own living environment.

Many of us are unaware of the potential dangers that lurk behind our walls, under our carpets, and in dark corners. Mould and dampness can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and fungi, which can lead to a range of health issues, particularly for those with respiratory conditions or compromised immune systems.

We will delve into why certain areas in our homes become prone to its presence. From excessive moisture and poor ventilation to inadequate maintenance practices, there are various factors that contribute to the growth of mould and the persistence of dampness.

By understanding the root causes, this blog gives practical tips and advice on how to prevent and combat mould and dampness effectively.  With simple preventive measures, it will give you the necessary knowledge to safeguard your home and your health.

Additionally, we will discuss the potential consequences of ignoring mould and damp issues, emphasizing the importance of early detection and prompt action. Beyond the physical implications, we will explore the impact on indoor air quality, property value, and the overall comfort of our living spaces.

Ultimately, my goal is to empower you as readers by arming you with knowledge and practical solutions to combat mould and dampness. I believe that a well-informed individual is better prepared to take proactive measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.

So, let’s embark on this journey together, exploring the world of mould and dampness, and discover how we can create healthier and safer living environments for ourselves and our families. 

SIGNS OF CONDENSATION ARE:

  • Wet/streaming windows
  • Damp patches on walls
  • Mould on window seals
  • Pools of water on window sills
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Black mould on walls and ceilings
  • Musty damp smell

FACTORS THAT INCREASE CONDENSATION ARE:

  • Wet and humid weather
  • Insufficient heating
  • Leaking pipes
  • Steam caused by bathing
  • Steam caused by cooking
  • Smoking
  • Open fires and wood burners

Air can hold moisture.  The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold.  If the moist air is cooled by contact with a cold surface such as walls, mirrors, windows, the moisture then condenses into water droplets known as condensation.

This is where mould can occur because of the condensation.

So, condensation is the most common cause of damp in a house particularly in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens as the warm moist air comes into contact with a cooler surface.

Our everyday living creates moisture in the air through cooking, washing and drying clothes even breathing! One person can contribute four pints of water to their home’s environment in just one day.  Without ‘airing’ the property it becomes difficult for the moisture to exit your home.

Homes that are underheated can increase condensation and mould growth.  If the home is lacking in ventilation the warm air, which is laden with moisture cannot escape from the home which in turn makes the cold surfaces, like the walls and windows wet with moisture.

In extreme cases moisture causes metals to rust and wood to warp and rot!  If it is wet enough inside the property and no ventilation is given to the rooms then the excess moisture can lead to problems with door frames and hinges rusting.  This will cause the doors from closing properly, tools, bikes will rust.

HEALTH PROBLEMS OF MOULD AND DAMP

  • Eye irritation
  • Wheezing and general breathing problems
  • Tight chest and coughing
  • Throat irritation
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Headaches

FIXING CONDENSATION

There are a number of ways to stop condensation issues before they become a problem for the property and ultimately, your health.

Heating can be set to ensure there are no sudden and dramatic changes in temperature.  You need to keep wall surfaces warmer to reduce the risk of condensation.  

The purchase of a dehumidifier extracts moisture from the air.  It can eliminate condensation and stop wallpaper from peeling off your walls. You and your family will have increased health and well-being within your home.  Using a dehumidifier will help when cooking, using the shower and doing laundry.  All these everyday habits contribute to moisture in the air.

HOW A DEHUMIDIFIER WORKS

A dehumidifier works by drawing warm air into its coils via a fan.  The warm air contracts and the condensation is left inside the dehumidifier to then drip into the reservoir tank.

Drier air is then released back into the air through the other side of the machine.

Obviously thermal insulation such as loft insulation will help to reduce the amount of heat lost from a property.  This will help keep the rooms temperature and also keep fuel bills down.  

Also with this adequate ventilation is essential to allow the moisture to escape from the property.

With winter drawing nearer we feel we need to keep our doors and windows closed and with utility prices a lot more expensive than in recent years we put on extra layers of clothing and add a blanket or two!

Also people are now working from home so a lot more time is spent indoors.  In a lot of cases a lot more time is spent working in the bedroom, which ultimately increases the condensation on the cooler surfaces such as windows.  

INSIDE THE HOUSE

  • Dampness can get inside wardrobes and ruin clothes, books, certain foods are susceptible to humidity/condensation and damp can also get inside electronics.
  • Excessive moisture can cause musty smells and a dehumidifier will help eliminate these odours.
  • Too much condensation can cause mould, allergens and dirty smells and health issues when left to get too bad.  
  • Animals can also be affected by excessive condensation in the home.  Breathing problems can make animals uncomfortable which could then lead to veterinary costs.
  • Damp conditions can increase the amount of dust mites in your home.  This can lead to asthma and other breathing issues. 
  • Condensation and damp can be prime conditions for many small insects such as millipedes and silverfish in bathrooms and basements.

OUTSIDE THE HOUSE

  • Possible leaks in the roof
  • Guttering, downpipes overflowing due to leaves blocking it
  • Cracks and damage to outside walls, pointing missing
  • Path, earth overlapping damp course
  • Leaking pipes

REDUCE CONDENSATION INSIDE THE HOUSE

  • Keeping a lid on a saucepan when cooking helps to reduce condensation in the kitchen.  Open windows whilst cooking to provide ventilation for the warm air to escape.
  • Do not have wardrobes, dressers too close to the walls, do not have clutter up against wall, allow air to circulate. Do not overfill wardrobes or cupboards as the lack of ventilation and air moisture trapped in overfilled wardrobes can become a breeding ground for mould as the air cannot circulate.
  • Keep bathroom doors shut when bathing and open a window to let the steam out.  Keep the window open the approx. 20 minutes after to ensure the moist air has escaped.  Remember to use an extractor fan. Have a good absorbent bathmat to avoid soaking the bathroom floor.  The mat should soak up the moisture so reducing the condensation.
  • Do not dry clothes on radiators unless ventilation is increased by opening windows. When clothes dry on a radiator it releases moisture into the air causing condensation.  When possible dry clothes outside. 
  • Paraffin heaters produce a lot of water vapour when using keep the room ventilated. Many tenanted properties are prohibited from using this type of heating as they are also a health and safety hazard.
  • Open the windows in the bedroom at night –  The warm air people breathe while sleeping increases humidity.  There is nowhere for the air to go when the windows are closed, so it turns into condensation.  Opening the window allows the warm air to escape.
  • Keeping curtains open in bedrooms at night – Closed curtains prevent the window pane from being warmed up by the central heating.  This in turn makes the glass colder than it could be there causing condensation.  Keeping the curtains open mean the glass temperature will be more at room temperature so condensation will not form.
  • Low continuous heating would be ideal as any sudden burst of heat may not result in a suitable rise in surface temperatures. When the heating is turned off the windows go cold.  Then the sudden rise when the heating comes on warms the air quickly, but not the glass so condensation forms.  
  • Remove plants from windowsills.  Plants release moisture into the air.

With the rise in the cost of living it is understandable that not every home can afford to have low continuous heating and the experts are saying that because of the cost of heating your home, just have it on when you need to so cancels out the low continuous heat.

Ventilate the home/room daily to allow moisture to evaporate by opening the windows for 20 minutes.

Use a dehumidifier to draw in and capture the moisture.

Dry walls, windows and mirrors with towelling or absorbent cloths to prevent condensation turning to mould.  Regularly clear condensation from windows with cloths.

Disinfect and dry surfaces that are prone to mould. Dry all surfaces after washing.  

The NHS recommends that you wipe away mould caused by condensation with a cloth dipped in soapy water.  When you are done, use a dry cloth to remove any moisture and throw both cloths away.

Non- toxic mould cleaning solution can be used to remove mould from surfaces but it is then important to keep the surfaces dry to prevent mould from returning.

Another short-term solution is to use one part bleach with 4 parts water and use a cloth to gently scrub until the mould and the mould mark has gone.  Then dry the surface with a clean cloth and keep surfaces dry.

Use 50/50 mix of warm water and Milton fluid, scrubbing it off with a soft cloth.

Add a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar to the windowsill and let it sit for about an hour to kill off all the mould.   Wipe the area clean with a dry cloth.

In this post there are a lot of ways to get rid of mould in the short term.  The message seems to be ventilate and warm the property.  

If it works keep doing it! To keep condensation under control, use a dehumidifier, dry with a cloth wet surfaces and try to keep the heating on low and continuous.

In conclusion, understanding and addressing the issue of mold and mildew in your home is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment.  From identifying the signs of mould growth to implementing preventive measures, it is important to remain diligent in keeping your home mould free.

Regular cleaning and maintenance, proper ventilation and controlling humidity levels are essential steps in preventing mould and mildew growth.  Promptly addressing any water leaks or moisture issues is also crucial to prevent mould from thriving.

By following these guidelines and seeking professional help if needed, you can effectively manage and prevent mould and mildew in your home.  Remember, the key is to be proactive and take immediate action at the first sign of mould in your home and to safeguard the wellbeing of yourself and your loved ones.

I hope this information provided has been helpful and informative.  If you have any questions about this post or any questions at all please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please share this post and encourage other people to stay condensation free so we all live healthier lives within our own homes.