Mould & Moisture in the Home
Autumn has arrived in full force, it seems, with the cold, wind and rain heralding the winter that will follow after. The change in weather means many of us are taking shelter in the comfort and warmth of our homes, shutting out the elements and snuggling up. But this retreat from the outside world can carry its own risks; as we keep ourselves safe from the elements, we can give mould a chance to take root in our homes.
Mould is a type of fungus that destroys dead material, and in the wider world they serve a useful purpose in breaking down organic material such as leaves and enriching the soil. Mould flourishes in areas where there is excess moisture and warmth, and this can lead to its unwanted growth in the home. In our living spaces mould has a negative impact, causing damage to property but more importantly potentially causing health problem in those living there.
Mould produces allergens, irritants, and in some cases toxic substances, which can have a detrimental effect on those who come in contact with them. The health issues that mould in the home can cause or contribute to include respiratory problems or infections, allergies and asthma. The NHS also advises that some people, such as babies and children, the elderly or those with existing problems such as asthma or eczema, could be more susceptible.
In addition to the health risks, mould can also be detrimental to materials within the home itself. Walls and curtains near to windows can suffer from mould, which must be rectified. In the case of the fabric of the house itself this may mean thorough cleaning of walls and redecorating once the problem is resolved. For the material elements of the home, such as curtains or cushions, they too will need to be thoroughly cleaned, or in some cases it may be simpler to replace them. All of this can incur a cost and cause worry, making relaxing at home more difficult.
Mould grows where there is excess moisture, which can occur in buildings for a number of reasons. Leaking pipes, blocked gutters of standing water can all cause moisture in the home, and in new homes the water used when the house was building can take a long time to dry fully. It’s therefore sensible to regularly check your home for areas of existing or potential moisture or damp, and take steps to tackle them if found. Condensation is also a common cause of moisture indoors, and is caused when the air cannot hold any more water vapour, raising the humidity. Droplets can form on indoor surfaces and become a bed for mould growth. Condensation occurs for many reasons, many of which form part of everyday living. Showering, bathing, cooking, even simply breathing, all increase the levels of moisture in the air.
Condensation can become more of a problem in colder weather, as some of the best methods of combatting it, e.g., drying clothes outdoors and opening doors and windows to circulate fresh air, become more difficult in the cold or the rain. So in autumn and winter it’s important to make sure you keep your home well heated, and keep a watch out for instances of mould growth and tackle them immediately if you find them. The internet holds a host of advice for effectively cleaning mould, such as this one.
Investing in a dehumidifier can give you another tool to prevent or combat moisture in the home, particularly if you commonly dry your laundry indoors in autumn and winter, or your property typically suffers from condensation. Dehumidifiers, such as the Dimplex EverDri 14L, work by extracting moisture from the air, lowering the humidity of the environment and as an added bonus can decrease the time it takes damp clothes to dry.
Adding an extractor fan to your bathroom is also worth considering, as this is by nature the room that adds a lot of moisture and humidity into the air. Extractor fans, such as the Simply Silent C4 made by our sister brand Xpelair, can draw much of the moisture created by our morning routine out of the home before it gets a chance to settle.
So whether you’re combatting an existing problem or guarding against one, taking steps to tackle the growth of mould and moisture in the home can ensure you and your family enjoy the changes of autumn in good health and comfort.