MOLD IN YOUR HOME, WHAT NOW?
In addition to the fact that mold on your wall or ceiling is very ugly and looks very unkempt, it can also cause serious health problems. In this article we explain what exactly mold is, why it often keeps coming back and of course what can be done about it.
What is mold?
Molds are Fungi, a life form that can be single or multicellular. Fungus (mushrooms) is not a vegetable life form, as is often thought. Most fungi play an important role in the breakdown of dead plant and animal material. There are fungi that are not harmful and beneficial to humans and sometimes serve as food themselves. In this article we focus more specifically on the unhealthy mold that can develop in damp buildings. A characteristic of mold is that it thrives in a specific spectrum of humidity and temperature. For the most fungi, temperatures between 4 and 40 ˚C and a relative moisture content in the air of 70 to 100% is optimal. The more humid the air or material, the faster most fungi will grow. In most cases, mold is visible on ceilings and walls of rooms that are too damp, as dark spots. But mold can also be present in places where it is not visible, such as behind wallpaper, in the cavity wall, on insulation material or in crawl spaces in homes.
What is the effect of mold in your home?
One thing is certain! If you have mold in the house, this means that the house (wall/ceiling/floor) is too damp in those places. The ideal relative humidity in a home at 20˚C is between 30-70%. If the relative humidity is above this, we speak of a damp home. When we see mold in the home, we know that the relative humidity is close to 70% or above. An indoor climate that is too humid results in higher heating costs, because it takes more energy to heat moist air than drier air. Mold also increases the maintenance costs of the home, by having to paint or replace stucco/wallpaper more often. There is also often a musty smell in a home with mold.
In addition to these cosmetic inconveniences, there is also an important harmful effect on health. Fungi propagate by releasing tiny spores that can float in the air. These spores can cause various (allergic) health complaints, especially to children and people with lung and respiratory complaints. (We note that too dry air in the home can also cause health problems)
Why does cleaning usually only help temporarily?
The fungal spores are well-protected "capsules", which can even lie dormant for centuries until the favorable situation arises to be able to fertilize and grow. The protection is so good that it is somewhat protected against chemicals and the spores zelfs een zekere mate van resistentie kan verkrijgen. Er is dus een grote kans dat bij het schoonmaken met een reinigingsmiddel er altijd schimmelsporen zullen overleven, wachtend op de gunstige situatie om weer actief te worden. Daarom moet de reiniging secuur, systematisch en met de juiste middelen gebeuren.
What is the solution?
Although cleaning is of course the first step, reducing the moisture content to 55% is the way to get rid of mold and achieve a healthy indoor climate. This can be done by:
> Good and adequate ventilation
> Adjustment of resident behavior (a household emits an average of 10L of moisture, per 24 hours, to the air in the home)
> Repairing leaking pipes or condensation
> Waterproof facade and roof
> Geen optrekkend vocht in de gevel en vloeren
> Dry cellars and crawl spaces
Air Change Guidelines
> Living areas 0.9 dm³/s per m² > 3.24 m³/h per m² > with a minimum value of 25 m³/h
> Toilet areas 7 dm³/s > 25.2 m³/h
> Bathrooms 14 dm³/s > 50.4 m³/h
> Lounge with cooker 21 dm³/s > 75.6 m³/h
As periodic maintenance to keep mold away, an environmentally friendly agent such as Sodium bicarbonate and/or cleaning vinegar solution being used. This is much better for nature and your health than extremely chemical and dangerous agents. PAY ATTENTION! Cleaning vinegar can also irritate the eyes and the respiratory tract. Provide adequate ventilation by opening windows and doors.
Wanneer de schimmel/zwam echter langdurig de kans heeft gehad om zich te nestelen in de ondergrond, dan is een meer professionele aanpak gewenst (of zelfs noodzakelijk).
Exinfect repairs leaks, cleans, repairs, investigates where necessary, takes measurements and makes adjustments to the home, both inside and outside.
Do you want to know more? Feel free to contact us. We are happy to assist you.