Recent Buying Selling Lifestyle Investor Tenants
Recent Buying Selling Lifestyle Investor Tenants

Mould Prevention

Written by Kerrie Walker
The following is a guide on mould prevention from the Newton Team. Most homes and some units suffer from some degree of mould during the winter months. If the property you currently occupy develops a serious mould problem then it is important to ensure that you notify the office.

The problem is often a matter of degree. From a small patch of mould or discoloured wall behind the wardrobe, in the very top corner of a bedroom, to serious amounts of mould growth across walls, inside wardrobes and on clothes and furnishings.

– Lack of ventilation
– A building fault

Problems with the structure of the building can mean that its moisture content is unnecessarily high. This can either be due to the original construction or as a result of structural failure.

Structural failure can range from damaged gutters, downpipes and sumps. Porous painting or brickwork or a roof leak.

If you suspect a building fault advise your Managing Agent immediately and give them details of the suspected building fault.

One of the main causes of mould is condensation from high relative humidity in the air or too much water vapour or steam being generated through cooking, washing, bathing, showering and clothes drying which is allowed to travel throughout the house. The only way to stop mould generating from these causes is to VENTILATE the property.

Condensation occurs where moist warm air comes into contact with colder dryer air, or a surface, which is at a lower temperature.

Condensation is generally noticeable where it forms on non-absorbent surfaces but it can form on any surface and may not be noticed until mould growth or rotting of material occurs.

The moisture in the air comes from a number of sources within the house. Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities from normal day to day activities such as breathing, cooking, baths and showers, and washing clothes.

In certain areas of a house (such as bathrooms and kitchens) the warm air contains a lot of moisture, if the air then spreads to cooler parts of the house it condenses on any colder surface.

Keeping moist air in the house through effective draft proofing can aggravate the effect of moisture generation. It is possible to avoid condensation altogether by adequately venting moist air from the room in which it is generated. Vaporisers, gas heating, faulty exhaust fans and clothes dryers that are not vented externally all contribute to the growth of mould.

Our modern lifestyle means that many houses remain unoccupied and unheated throughout the greater part of the day, allowing the fabric of the building to cool right down. The moisture-producing activities are then concentrated into a relatively short time prior, producing large amounts of steam when the building structure is still relatively cold. The true cause of condensation-based mould growth is often complex and a combination of things. It is sometimes caused by inadequacies in the building but very often the main cause of mould growth is the lifestyle of the occupants.

Use a Dehumidifier: Dehumidifiers are designed to keep a room’s humidity levels in check, so the air is more comfortable and you notice fewer physical signs of damp air. Dehumidifiers draw excess moisture from the air – helping to combat condensation, mould and damp on walls, windows and peeling paint and wallpaper.

The most common type is compressor-driven, and these dehumidifiers use a fan to pull air over two sets of refrigerant-filled coils, one cool and the other warm, wringing out moisture along the way into a water tank, which you empty after use. Desiccant dehumidifiers contain a material that absorbs water from the air, then releases it into the water tank for you to empty.

Dehumidifiers can also help mitigate the effects of common allergies to dust mites, fungus and mould; if the air in your home is excessively moist, it can encourage the growth of these allergens. Even if you don’t have allergies, preventing mould growth is a good reason to consider getting a dehumidifier. Mould only requires a bit of moisture to grow, and it can set up shop in your home as soon as one of its airborne spores finds a hospitably damp surface. Mould is a pain to eradicate and can permanently stain or damage whatever it’s decided to live on. This can be costly to eradicate and can cause damage to the property. If the cause is lack of ventilation by the occupant or tenant then this can be costly for them. The easiest strategy is to just keep it from showing up at all.

You can also use a dehumidifier to discourage insects from moving in with you. Roaches, silverfish, spiders and centipedes all love a moist environment. Keeping the air in your home relatively dry will drive away those unwanted tenants. Additionally, if you’ve got a cold or a particularly bad, congested cough, using a dehumidifier may free up your breathing and help you sleep better at night. There are plenty of good reasons why you might consider using a dehumidifier.

– During and after a bath or shower the room should be ventilated to the outside, not to the rest of the house. If there is an extractor fan, turn it on or just by opening a window (and closing the door) will help.

– Increase circulation of fresh air in your home by opening windows and doors and leave them open for the whole day (if possible). If security is an issue when leaving windows and sliding doors slightly ajar to ventilate, then please contact your managing agent and request window and door locks be fitted.

– Dry clothes out of doors or in a cool area of the premises – this latter suggestion may sound strange, it will take longer but less moisture will be held in the air at any one time. While drying clothes indoors, ventilate the room to the outside. Dryers should have external air extraction. When people come in with wet coats, they should be hung outside to dry. Ensure shoes and clothes are dry before putting them away.

– Let the sun into the home by leaving blinds and curtains open

– Wipe away any visible moisture on walls or windows, keep the inside as dry as possible

– Don’t have too many indoor plants.

– When heating the home leave the blinds and curtains open as well as opening the windows at some stage so air can flow through.

– When taking a hot shower or bath ensure the exhaust fan is on, when finished open the bathroom window and allow the moisture to escape outside. If you feel your exhaust fans are not working property contact your managing agent and request that these be checked and repaired or replaced if necessary.

– When cooking ensure you turn on the range hood fan or exhaust fan and open the window. If you feel your range hood fan is not working property contact your managing agent and request that these be checked and repaired or replaced if necessary.

– Do not use a Vaporiser unless you are using a de-humidifier at the same time. Vaporisers create moist air which in turn creates mould. If you us the de-humidifier in conjunction with the vaporiser the moist air will be removed from the room avoiding mould.

The earlier you remove mould from walls and ceilings the easier it is to keep under control. It is harder to remove mould once it takes hold. Wash the mould with white vinegar and leave it for at least one week. This kills the mould spores, rather than just removing it from the surface allowing it to re-appear at a later date.

After this wash the area with either exit mould or bleach based product suitable for the surface being washed. If using bleach mix it with three parts water.

CAUTION– When cleaning mould & using chemicals ensure skin & eyes are protected and windows are open to allow ventilation. Ensure all care is taken when cleaning mould, if you have allergies or medical conditions seek further advice from your doctor.

Call a professional who can remove the mould easily and safely. If you need to contact a mould removal specialist, contact your Managing Agent for contact details.

SOURCE – Kerrie Walker – Senior Property Manager Newton Real Estate

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