Healthy home: How to prevent mould
Mould: it may seem innocuous but this all-too-common household problem is in fact a silent health hazard. Here’s how to prevent it.
|If you have mould in your home, don’t ignore it. Consider it potentially harmful – and eradicate it.
Mould: the health risksMoulds are living organisms that reproduce by releasing spores into the atmosphere. The spores from some types of mould can cause asthma, bronchitis and recurrent colds and flu.
Peter Dingle, environmental science professor and host of the TV show Is Your House Killing You?, said: “Symptoms of mould infestation can result in breathing problems, nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, sore throat and headaches.”
To grow, mould needs moisture, a food source (paper, paint, clothing, etc) and still air.
Most mould is due to condensation, but some stems from rising damp. Water collected at the base of walls will soak upwards.
For a healthy, mould-free home, the key is white vinegar. It sounds archaic, but good old white vinegar is the ideal solution to killing a mould infestation.
Once the mould has been cleaned away, sources of moisture (condensation, rising damp, leaks, poor ventilation) should be fixed.
Rising damp is the toughest form of mould to conquer. It might be necessary to contact an expert, as the best solutions are to replace or repair the damp-proof course, repair leaky plumbing and improve under-floor ventilation.
Building to prevent mould
Buildings designed for health are bad news for mould. Two options for building a healthy home are ‘breathable’ walls and walls that are impervious to water.
James Hardie manufactured products, for example, contain no VOCs. They have clever water-shedding capabilities, meaning they are water resistant and won’t soak up water and get damp.
Using breathable materials, on the other hand, has the same mould-resistant results. Using breathable materials – such as Heradesign linings – absorbs moisture in the air more quickly, eradicating surface condensation.
This article is part of a Light Home series on healthy homes. Read also:
Healthy home: How much technology is too much?
Healthy home: How plants can clean the air – and boost your mood