Mould is a collection of many different microscopic fungi and can grow both indoors and outdoors. Mould exists everywhere in nature to breakdown organic matter by consuming it. Mould needs 3 critical requirements to grow, removing one of these will significantly inhibit mould growth. Mould can be identified by its musty odour and in advanced cases with the accompanying visual discolouration of whatever it is growing on.More about Mould
More about Mould
- Food source – Carbon atoms provide nutrients for mould growth and preferred nutrients for mould growth include organic material such as leather and soil along with cellulose containing material such wood, and paper. Since most buildings are made from, or contain these materials inside; it’s almost impossible to eliminate these from our living environment.
- Oxygen- Moulds are considered to be Aerobic organisms meaning they require oxygen to grow, even in very low concentrations. Therefore it’s impossible to eliminate this critical factor from our living environment.
- Moisture / humidity- Mould requires considerable moisture or humidity to grow, preferring conditions above 70% relative humidity to proliferate (but survive in less). People are comfortable relative humidity levels of 30%-60%. Therefore the number 1 critical element we can do to control mould growth is to reduce moisture and humidity levels and keep the building dry.
Mould’s Ideal Conditions to Grow
- Relative humidty of 70% or higher
- Stagnant air- When air is circulating or moving it reduces the build up of relative humidity and moisture, also mould can’t concentrate its growth and therefore can’t grow as easily. This can explain why some “tight” homes designed for energy efficiency suffer from sick building syndrome and can have mould problems.
- Temperature- 25 Degrees Celsius is optimum for lab cultures, which is also a temperature people find comfortable.
- Time- mould can grow within 24hours in the right conditions and in just 3 or 4 days gain a foothold.
To proliferate and grow, mould releases spores and mycotoxins which can be harmful to the health of people. These have been linked to depression and are a trigger in some people to exacerbate Asthma and Allergies. Apart from being toxic, mould also damages whatever it grows on, for example building materials and clothing.
Mould’s Adverse Conditions to Grow
- Ventilation- homes which are well ventilated are less likely to have mould appear or recur because moisture is eliminated. It’s vital to ventilate moisture producing wet areas such as kitchen laundries and bathrooms to the outside. Do not ventilate the damp air into the roof space or mould is likely to grow there. Bedrooms need ventilation because we exhale moisture with each breathe and this can build up through the night and accumulate day after day unless the house is ventilated.
- Relative humidity less than 70%- mould does not thrive in a dry environment, so ensure you undertake measure to keep the relative humidity below 70%.
We can produce up to 30 litres of moisture every day in our households – steam from cooking cleaning, showers, washing and breathing.
Moisture also rises from ground level in many homes. Combine this with moisture already in the air – and you have a recipe for mould growth and increased dustmite populations.
The Ventis system draws the naturally drier air from your roof space through a very effective medical grade filter, removing pollen, allergens and mould spores. By circulating this clean, fresh, drier air at over two complete air changes per hour, Ventis will significantly reduce or most cases completely eliminate condensation, and expel damp air from your home. By creating a Dry Home, Ventis removes the environment in which mould and dustmites can thrive and therefore makes your home more healthy.
Reducing the moisture content of the building materials and furnishings is not only a preventative maintenance and health measure, it also makes your home easier to heat because you aren’t trying to heat a large volume cold moisture trapped inside the building materials. Therefore a dry home is more energy efficient and saves you money on your heating costs.
Humidity – If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it: Ventis is the first residential ventilation system in Australasia to integrate temperature and humidity into the control mechanism. Ventis eliminates the risk of introducing air with high humidity and creating a condensation event inside your home by measuring the humidity of the incoming air and adjusting itself automatically. The resulting improvement in your home promotes healthier and more comfortable living – every day.
Top 3 tips to reduce Mould in your home…
Tip #3 Identify the source of Moisture
Mould needs moisture to survive and grow therefore you or an expert needs to identify a possible source of moisture.
- Is it a leaking roof or pipe?
– If so, fix the leak, remove and replace damaged building materials.
- Is there water accumulating under your home from rain run-off of a neighbouring property, a spring or garden vegetation preventing cross ventilation causing increased subfloor humidity?
– If so, water diversion maybe required for periods of heavy rain. Ventis can evaluate if a subfloor ventilation system is required as sometimes it is not required because the moisture source is actually inside the home.
- Is there moisture being trapped in your home from gas heating, cooking, showering, cleaning, bathing and the use clothes drying racks or clothes dryers?
– If so, in all cases, adequate ventilation is vital to prevent moisture and humidity build up. Make sure extractor fans are vented to the outside of your home and not into the roof space as moisture can accumulate and create the environment for mould to grow. A Ventis whole home ventilation system can continuously flush your home with air that is fresh and clear.
- Has flooding caused water damage?
– If so, remove and replace the affected building materials. Remediate other surfaces with the mould cleaning recipe.
- Unflued gas heaters burn either natural or liquid petroleum gas and have no flue or chimney to take the combustion products outside. Combustion products include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde, which are harmful to health if present in adequately high concentrations. Unflued gas heaters also produce up to 1 litre of water per hour, resulting in increased humidity indoors, this can indirectly affect health through promoting the growth of mould. Furthermore, Asthma Australia has been vocal in highlighting the increased incidence of asthma in school children exposed to unflued gas heating in NSW classrooms and has campaigned for their removal since 2009.
– If so: Ideally unflued gas heaters should not be used because they pose direct (increased risk of asthma) and indirect health risks (promote conditions for mould growth). If unflued gas heaters must be used, ensure there is adequate ventilation to the room(s) being heated to reduce the build-up of harmful gases and moisture levels. Ensure the heater and gas bottle is properly maintained.
Piles of clothing or leaving damp towels lying on the floor.
– If so, this is a particular problem for the species known as Homo Sapiens Teenageralis. Piles of clothes or damp towels promote the environment for mould to grow and are often found in rooms with poor ventilation. These rooms tend to have a musty odour which can easily be fixed by putting clothes/towels away or into laundry baskets (contents to be regularly washed & dried) then the room needs to be properly ventilated.
There can be multiple sources of moisture in your home. Once you have identified where the moisture is being generated you can take the appropriate action to reduce or remove it and in doing so regulate the one aspect vital to mould growth within your control.
To get a free report on the Top 3 tips to reduce Mould including a mould cleaning recipe click on the Free Mould Report form at the top of the page.