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Mould - how to avoid it

What is mould??

Mould is a type of fungi that lives on plant and animal matter. It grows best in damp or poorly ventilated areas and reproduces by making spores that are airborne which are commonly found in both indoor and outdoor environments. It becomes a problem for humans when the amount of spores are significantly higher indoors than the number or spores outside. Our modern buildings can become a haven for overgrowth of mould, and in turn create a toxic environment for us to live in.

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Is mould harmful?

Yes. Some people are more susceptible to mould than others and will show symptoms long before they are evident in most. Mould attacks the immune system so people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk. Also people with asthma, allergies or breathing or lung conditions can be more sensitive to mould. People with methylation issues (difficulty detoxing toxins from the body) are more likely to be significantly effected by mould. High risk people should take extra care around mould.

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How do we avoid mould over growth indoors?

Our modern buildings can create the perfect environment for mould to grow. Mould grows best in environments that are damp, poorly ventilated and have a food source. This food source includes the modern building materials that make up our homes - like gypsum plasterboard, furnishings, carpets and dust. Buildings built in humid or wet areas are particularly vulnerable.

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1. In buildings the mould bloom will typically start with a water leak eg a leaking roof or slow pipe leak in the wall cavity or overflowing gutters are events that often lead to excessive indoor mould growth. ALL leaks should be fixed immediately and long before mould gets a 'grip' in your indoor space. Leaks will need to be fixed before you take steps to eliminate mould from your home

2. Excess moisture needs to be removed from the property. Dehumidifiers can play a significant role in reducing environments that toxic mould likes to grow in. You can purchase affordable dehumidifiers from your local white good/ electrical supplier and that will help strip the moist air from your house.. they will need to be emptied and cleaned regularly to operate efficiently.

Most air conditioning units have a dry setting (or dehumidifying setting) built in. This will also help reduce air moisture.

3. Dust free environments will reduce food source for mould. Dust is a great ally to mould so needs to be aggressively removed from indoor environments. Yes that means move the furniture and dust behind it; dust behind the picture frames; dust the skirtings and top rails of doors and photo frames; keep ornaments and Nic Nacs in glass cabinets to make dusting easier; avoid clutter.... anything that makes dusting easy and accessible should be considered when decorating your indoor environment.

4. Air circulation is essential to avoid mould. Mould loves 'stale' environments. Ceiling fans are in most houses these day and can be run on their lowest setting constantly to help air movement in your home, they are a cheap and affordable option. These days there are a huge selection of air purifiers gaining popularity. Covid changed the way people understand the value of air quality. To be effective in removing mould it is best to get a purifier that removes particles down to 0.03microns. There are units that even contain UV- claimed to help better purify the air by killing bacteria, germs, some viruses and other DNA contaminants. Air quality matters.

5. Bathrooms and kitchens are the two areas in our homes that create the most moisture. Make sure to keep these areas as dry as possible. Squeegee showers after each use. Do not leave wet towels hanging on bathroom rails. Exhaust fans are your friend... exhausts that send moisture to outside, not the roof cavity, are the best exhausts for avoiding mould inside the home. Always use the exhaust above the stove when cooking. Again, those exhausts that vent to outside are the best for reducing indoor moisture. Make sure washing up is dried or the dishwasher is left open to dry completely. Washing machines should also be left open to air dry after each use. Reducing the moisture we create around the house is extremely helpful when avoiding mould.

6. Sunshine is your greatest ally in fighting mould. The Sun kills mould. Open blind and curtains and let the sunlight shine into your home. Mould loves dark and damp environments and the sun is the opposite of that... so let there be sunshine

If you want to know more about how to clean mould check out the blog on How safe is it to clean mould

Insurance and mould

Mould is an exclusion in most insurer policy wording. If it is a result of a claimable event (ie mould resulting from a flood event that is claimable under your policy wording) the mould remediation will be included in the costing to repair your property. Otherwise most insurers exclude mould damage because it is avoidable if the property is properly maintained. For more information contact your Broker (Click Me button)

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