The Condensation Season Mould Survival Guide
Having to live in a mouldy house or flat is a big fear for many people. Persistent mould in living environments can ruin clothing, make the property smell musty, agitate allergies and cause damage to decor.
The good news is that mould growth and condensation can be eliminated using a number of different methods. This small guide will start you on your way to getting rid of mould problems.
The autumn and early winter months are well-known as a time to watch out for black mould and condensation problems. It is not so well-known, however, that mould growth is still high-risk in the late winter and early spring months. Temperatures may be higher than the early winter months but humidity is still high and condensation is still likely.
If you have a mould or condensation problem please Call 01403 210204 or Submit an Enquiry and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have or help you find an appropriate contractor to assess your problem.
A Little Bit of Humidity Goes a Long Way
Mould needs moisture to grow and if there is persistent mould growth in a property it is a sign that there is too much moisture present in the building. This moisture could be the result of a broken service, such as a broken pipe or leaking roof, but it is usually a result of condensation.
Condensation occurs when moisture from the air condenses on cold surfaces, leaving them damp. As we live in buildings, we create moisture by general activities like cooking, washing clothes and sleeping. This moisture is contained in the air inside the building. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. When it comes into contact with a cold surface, like an external wall, the moisture condenses out of the air. This often creates conditions that are ideal for mould to grow.
Avoid the Sticking Plaster Approach
The first thing that most occupants do when faced with mould is to try and remove it using standard household surface cleaners. This might temporarily remove the appearance of the mould but it will not fully remove all the mould spores and, if there is no change to the conditions that allowed it to grow, it will come back again.
It is possible to minimise the rate of regrowth by using the odourless and bleach-free Dryzone® 100 Mould Killer Spray to kill the mould and clean the affected surface. The best approach to dealing with mould problems, however, is to stop condensation from occuring in the first place.
Ventilation, Insulation and Innovation
The best ways to ensure that condensation does not occur are to either ventilate the moist air from the property or to increase the surface temperature of the walls inside the property.
Apart from lifestyle changes, such as drying washing outside and opening windows, ventilation is usually achieved using humidistat extractor fans. These fans will detect when the air around it surpasses a set humidity level and then ventilate that air outside the property. If the correct ducting is in place and the fan is replacing an older one then this can be a relatively simple fix.
However, if placement needs to be determined, ducting routed and electrics installed then it can be more time consuming and expensive. Active ventilation products can also cause an issue between landlords and tenants with regards to both installation costs and when exactly the fans should be active. Modern fans are designed to be on all the time but tenants will often switch them off due to noise and perceived running costs.
(Mould) Can’t Stand the Heat
The most obvious way to raise the surface temperature of interior walls is to turn up the thermostat and use the existing heating system. In older solid-walled properties, however, this can significantly increase the monthly heating costs. It is also a solution that might cause disagreements between landlords and their tenants.
Insulating the walls can help to provide the necessary surface temperature increase without raising the monthly heating expenditure and also provide landlords with a heating solution that does not require active management with the tenants.
The biggest gains can be found by replastering internal walls using Stormdry® EP-Board. This aerogel-backed thinline plasterboard is only 13 mm thick and yet will provide a large insulation boost to walls without requiring new fixings for skirting boards and radiators.
Solid brick walls, in particular, will see a big benefit. If a solid brick wall is treated with an internal Stormdry EP-Board application and an external Stormdry® Masonry Protection Cream application, a reduction in heat loss of up to 60% can be achieved.
For rooms and areas that have uneven or curved walls, Ultrotherm flexible insulation tiles can be used to replaster. Both Stormdry EP-Board and Ultrotherm are suitable for direct application of most standard plasters. These insulation methods provide occupants with a warmer wall surface without increasing the monthly heating costs.
Get Your Coating On
There will be situations where renovations to ventilation or heating cannot be carried out. In these situations, it is best to redecorate the affected walls using Dryzone® Mould-Resistant Emulsion Paint. It contains a biocide that will resist mould growth for at least 5 years, even in condensation-prone areas. It comes in either white or magnolia. If the surface becomes dirty, it can still be cleaned using Dryzone® 100 Mould Killer Spray.
It is important that you understand the circumstances of your building before carrying out any of the above works. If you are unsure, phone or fill out a web enquiry and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have or help you find an appropriate contractor to assess your problem.