Mould and Moisture

Mould & Moisture

mould and musty smells
If it smells musty it is mould. It can adversely affect your health. If you suffer a pre-existing respiratory condition such as asthma, mould can aggravate the condition.

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Ten Things You Should Know:

Mould can occur in your home and workplace anywhere in South Africa. If a room or cupboard smells musty it means it has!

Potential health effects and symptoms associated with exposure to mould include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. It is impossible to eliminate all moulds and spores indoors. All moulds can be found on any surface where moisture is present, e.g. on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. Mould growth is best controlled by controlling moisture.

  • Clean and eliminate sources of moisture.
  • Repair all leaks.
  • Reduce indoor humidity to between 30-50% by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside.
  • Increase ventilation by using air-conditioners, dehumidifiers, exhaust fans and open windows whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet bedding and furnishings within 24 hours.
  • Clean mould off hard surfaces with water and specialised detergents, and dry completely.
  • Replace damp or wet absorbent materials, e.g. mouldy ceiling tiles, carpeting, insulation etc.
  • Reduce condensation on cold surfaces (i.e. metal roofing, under-tile membranes, water piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • Prevent condensation on windows in living rooms and bedrooms by keeping the windows slightly open during cold spells and at night in winter. In humid climates keep windows open 24/7.
  • Do not install carpets or other types of flooring that is not water-resistant in areas with a frequent condensation or perpetual moisture problems, e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, sculleries, at drinking fountains, or areas that may be exposed to the elements.

What is mould?

It is the common word for any fungus that grows on food or damp surfaces. In addition, it can be any colour but is often black or white.

Some often look like a stain or smudge, and they may smell musty. They can enter the home through windows, vents, and open doorways, heating and air-conditioning systems. Moreover, it can attach itself to clothes, shoes, linen, bags and pets.

You might find it in:

  • Leaky roofs, windows or pipes
  • Ceilings
  • Brick walls
  • Wood products
  • Dust
  • Paints
  • Wallpaper
  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Carpets
  • Upholstery
  • Mattresses
  • Wall and floor tiles
  • Built-in units and cupboards
  • Shower enclosures

Is mould harmful?

Often reports about the effects of some moulds include the term “toxic”. However, experts say this term can be misleading, since only certain spores produce toxins, and only under certain conditions.

According to researchers in the Lung Disorders Special Report: 9 Common Mould Myths, moulds can produce toxins. However, that doesn’t mean it will. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that you could inhale enough in your home or office to receive a toxic dose.

Although, only toxic under exceptional conditions, it can still adversely affect your health. In addition, if you suffer a pre-existing respiratory condition, e.g. asthma, mould can aggravate the condition.

Some people are especially sensitive to some moulds and may display symptoms that include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Coughing and phlegm build-up
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Symptoms of asthma and any number of allergic reactions
  • Sleep loss

Tackling moulds at home

It is mostly found indoors in kitchens and bathrooms, where humidity levels are high. However, who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One is the size of the affected area. If the mouldy area is less than about 1m² you can handle the job yourself. You can simply remove it with over the counter products. However, if there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mould growth covers more than 1m², it is advisable to hire a specialist contractor.

The following measures can help:

  • During humid months, use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation, especially in your bathrooms.
  • Before painting, add mould inhibitors to the paint.
  • Use mould killing products to clean your bathroom and kitchen.
  • Don’t carpet your bathrooms and toilets.
  • Remove or replace wet carpets and upholstery.
mould

If there are musty smells in your cupboards, bedrooms, bathrooms or in your kitchen you have mould in your home! It will only grow in areas where damp conditions exist! I can identify the source of the damp condition for you. Furthermore, I can perform a Mould Inspection and advise you on the best manner in which to remove the mould.

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