With the weather becoming colder and wetter, damp and mould might potentially be on the rise in your home – but there are ways to tackle and prevent it.
Firstly find the root cause, dont’ simply clean it yourself hoping it will keep it at bay. By wiping visible mould away you are releasing spores into the air, and therefore spreading it.
If left untreated, damp and mould can affect your health. This is especially true if you are elderly or have any underlying conditions. There are ways to find the exact cause of the damp, clean up the mould and minimise the risk of it returning.
The end result – a healthier home and happier family.
So, what is Mould?
Mould is a fungus which can be found indoors or outdoors. It loves living in our homes, as they provide the perfect conditions for it to thrive – warmth, moisture and food in the form of carpet, wood, paper, dust and dirt. Unless the issue is dealt with and removed, it will continue to grow.
Can it affect my health?
If you have a damp/mould issue in your home, you are more likely to already have or, to develop respiratory problems. It can also have an adverse affect on the immune system. This is bad news for anyone’s lungs, but it is very dangerous for vulnerable people with an underlying condition like asthma.
Risk Groups include the following:
Babies and young children
Those with existing skin conditions e.g. eczema
People with weak immune systems
Individuals with respiratory problems like asthma and allergies
I’m not in one of the high risk groups. Can Mould affect my health?
Mould produces irritants, allergens and sometimes toxic substances. Touching or inhaling mould spores may result in an allergic reaction, like sneezing, red eyes, a runny nose and a skin rash.
What causes damp and Mould?
Mould and damp are caused by an excess of moisture in the air. This can be caused by leaks in pipes, rising damp or rain seeping in due to damage to roof tiles or around window frames. Key areas for leaks are the kitchen & bathroom.
A newly-built home may be damp if the water used when building it is still drying out – for example the plaster on the walls. Some new builds are also so air tight that they do not allow fresh air to circulate around the home which results in damp & mould.
If you have mould or damp, it’s important to find out why you have excess moisture within your home.
You can help prevent damp/mould growth by:
Avoid drying washing inside
Open windows every morning to allow fresh air to circulate
Make sure your home is well insulated
Heat your home adequately
Put lids on saucepans while cooking and use sufficient extraction
When cooking, showering or bathing open the window, put the fan on and close the door of the room you’re in
When you know what’s causing the damp, take steps to limit the amount of moisture in the air and make sure your home is repaired. Tackling severe damp and mould problems may require an expert to assess your property and pinpoint exact causes.
One of the best ways to prevent a carbon monoxide leak is by paying close attention to potential sources. There are several places in the home which can produce carbon monoxide: a chimney, a portable heater, a fireplace, a portable barbecue, a tumble dryer, a gas oven, a fridge, and a water heater. Be on the lookout for “a distinctive, sulphur-like, rotten egg smell or hissing, whistling sounds” coming from a potential appliance. Staining or discolouration around an appliance can also be an indicator of a carbon monoxide leak, as can an appliance which is burning slowly or badly.
#2 Open the Flue
If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, make sure to keep it clean and ensure that the flue is working properly. Even if the fire appears to be out and simply smouldering, keep the flue open to let the gases escape. This preventative measure can be extremely effective in keeping a problem from developing
#3 Damp or Excess Humidity
Checking regularly for excess humidity or damp can help you to prevent a severe leak from taking hold of your home. Heavily frosted windows and moisture on windows and walls can indicate excessive humidity. Identifying these signs early can help stop a major leak before it becomes life-threatening.
#4 Turn off the engine
Carbon monoxide is produced when car engines are left running in a garage or other enclosed space. This is why it is so important to always turn off your car anytime it is in the garage. Harmful fumes can build up quickly so make sure your car is turned off the second you pull in, and don’t turn it on until just before you pull out.
Catching a problem early can make the difference between life and death! Carbon monoxide itself has no smell, but other fumes caused by burning may smell. If you detect any of these conditions, do not use/turn on the suspected appliance until it has been inspected by a Registered Gas Installer.
As Ireland recovers & normality resumes for most people, now is the time to check your home for storm damage caused by Hurricane Ophelia & Storm Brian. This should be done sooner rather than later as even small leaks or holes can lead to structural damage, mould & rot.
#1 Firstly you should ensure that there are no immediate threats to your safety If there’s a power cut it’s important to check for downed power lines that could present a safety hazard to you and your family. Never touch or move a downed power line, even if it appears to be inactive. Immediately turn off the gas if you smell gas in your home as this could indicate a break in the gas line. Do not take any risks with gas or electricity. If there’s any question in your mind, call in the professionals.
#2 Roof Inspection Inspect your roof for dents, broken slates, and holes (big and small). If extensive damage is obvious from the ground, be sure to hire a professional rather than trying to navigate the roof yourself. Check gutters and downspouts as even small breaks & dents can lead to bigger problems down the road.
#3 Assess Garage, Sheds & Fences If you have a garage, shed, fence or all of the above, take the time to carefully inspect for storm damage. These checks should be done as soon as possible, as this can help prevent all sorts of damage to the contents inside. Mending a partially broken fence can help eliminate a potential security threat to your property.
#4 Check the Attic The Attic is an area which is often overlooked and is the perfect haven for mould growth, rot and other water damage. If water leaks into your home and compromises your roof or weakens your walls, you could be looking at both structural damage and destroyed contents. It would be appropriate to check the attic regularly, but especially after extreme weather.
#5 Examine your floors, ceilings, windows and doors From shattered windows to sunken ceilings, and warped doors, a bad storm can cause damage to the interior of your house as well as the exterior. Inspect your flooring, doorways, windows and ceilings for things like cracks, warping and leaks, broken glass, bulging, water damage and any other physical damage.
#6 Take Photos of All Damage As you survey the inside and outside of your home, don’t forget to take photos of the storm damage. Don’t be afraid to document even the smallest thing, since overlooking it now could result in much larger issues in the future.
Top 10 Simple Tips To Improve The Air Quality In Your Home
Concerns about outdoor air quality have been the norm since the Industrial Revolution. We are all very familiar with the effects of smog and the depletion of the ozone layer on our environment, however poor quality air in your home also poses a serious threat. Here we will give you some practical tips to improve air quality in your home.
Everything from your central heating to the build-up of damp, mould & condensation, cigarette smoke and aerosols all have a detrimental effect on the indoor environment. As well as having negative health effects, these issues can also have a negative impact on your home itself. Smoke can stain walls, while damp can – if left to its own devices – rot and damage wood and plaster, leading to mould growth.
Unlike the outdoor environment there are no regulations controlling the air quality within our homes. To help you with this the Mould Solutions Team has compiled 10 simple tips to help you keep your home and family safe.
#1. Remove your shoes
When entering your home, make sure you remove your shoes to avoid bringing pollen, dirt and dust indoors. If you have a porch it is a good idea to leave your outdoor footwear there or just inside the front door if you don’t have a porch.
#2. Eco-friendly cleaning products
Though rarely spoken about, the ‘fragrance’ from many household detergents and cleaning products is actually made up of a concoction of quite potent chemicals. Although you might think that you can prevent this problem by using non-scented cleaning products they actually still contain the same chemicals. The scent of a cleaning product is usually added after it has been manufactured to make it more appealing and ‘smell nice’ when using it in the home. Try to source cleaning products which are environmentally-friendly and work in exactly the same way as cleaning chemicals but without causing damage to your health, check for Organic on the label.
#3. Monitor humidity levels
With the right products, you can monitor the humidity of a given area and ensure mould should most likely not grow there. Ideally, a humidity of 30% to 50% will help to prevent the build-up of mould. Mould Solutions can provide a moisture test to check the humidity in a room.
A quick, easy and free way to improve the air quality of a home and although it may sound simple, but it is highly effective, simply keep windows open wherever and whenever possible, ensuring that there is a healthy circulation of air at all times.
Another easy, aesthetically pleasing and quick way to ensure good air quality is by having house plants in your home. They work to produce cleaner, fresher air for your home.
#6. Cutting out smoke
Although less & less people are taking up smoking, it remains a main cause of dangerous pollutants being breathed in the home. If you smoke, try to ensure that you do so outside, even if you don’t have children. This is not only damaging the property, it is damaging your own health and affecting those around you.
#7. Clean walls
Both for ensuring that mould is removed and avoided, and for removing invisible particles of dust & dirt, a quick clean of the walls – being careful not to damage the paintwork – can be very useful and effective.
#8. Fixing leaks
Although a major leak is likely to be repaired immediately, you may have areas that are not inhabited very frequently – utility rooms, attics etc – which may have small leaks. The water that can build from a leak may quickly create mould and damp if left undetected. Look up! Sometimes we miss the little things.
#9. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Though houses are required by law to have smoke detectors, their importance in air quality maintenance is underestimated. Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and checked regularly – they will detect smoke and harmful gases, as well as heat and fire.
#10. Clean bedding and upholstery
Carpets, bedding and upholstery hold on to odours, spores and other items that might impact negatively on the quality of the air you breathe. Ensure that these are washed regularly.
If you are experiencing mould, damp or condensation issues in your home
Remember to VENTILATE! You might be tempted to block up the vents with the cold weather looming but it comes at a cost! Blocking up vents means that you don’t get the fresh air you need to get rid of the moisture in the air before it condenses on the walls and ceilings to cause major damp and mould problems. You do need to ventilate.
In years gone by, although we lived in draughty homes which proved very difficult to heat, they were usually well-ventilated. They were well-ventilated as a result of the draughts! Contrary to common belief this was actually healthier than living in a well-sealed, badly ventilated home which is commonplace nowadays. The old windows and doors and badly and often un-insulated walls allowed the heat and moisture to escape.
Nowadays people are of the belief that by opening a window or a door, all of the heat will escape as well as our hard-earned cash! People block up the air vents thinking that this will keep the heat in and prevent draughts and protect us from catching a cold or flu. However, the opposite is actually true – blocking up vents and not opening windows means that moist air cannot escape which causes condensation to form and ultimately mould to grow.
Another no-no is blocking an air vent by building a wardrobe in front of it. Damp manifests itself in wet patches, mould growth and a musty smell.
Good ventilation means keeping a constant flow of air within a house – fresh, clean air in and stale and moisture-laden air out.
Good ventilation will remove the humid air before it has a chance to condense on cold surfaces which as we know, creates condensation and mould growth. If left untreated, damp and mould can lead to a host of problems such as corrosion of internal surfaces and even health problems, especially in vulnerable young children, elderly people and people with respiratory problems like asthma.
Mould and damp issues are often concealed with a lick of paint, but if the underlying
problem isn’t resolved; it won’t be long before the mould returns. It is not too difficult for a seller to disguise a mould problem, there are a huge range of home air fresheners available from scented candles to reed diffusers and room sprays.
Keep your eyes peeled for, water marks on walls (particularly recent-looking stains), or musty smells (particularly in bathrooms, kitchens or other areas with plumbing).
Here are some common places in a home where mould is likely to take hold:
#1 around leaking pipes, windows, or roofs (the constant supply of water gives mould spores ideal conditions to thrive)
#2 tightly sealed buildings (common with new construction and newly fitted windows). This may appear to be a good thing; however it can lead to excess water becoming trapped inside.
#3 homes with poor ventilation, over-watered plants, and housekeeping habits including ignoring dampness and not opening windows.
Mould lurking at the back of a cupboard
Most people wouldn’t dream of buying a secondhand car without a mechanic giving it the once over, however a huge amount of people don’t get a survey done prior to purchasing a house.
The idea that potential buyers may walk blindly into what is probably the biggest purchase of their life shows a peculiar lack of concern for their personal finances.
This lack of concern may possibly be based on the false assumption that the valuation report supplied to the bank to secure a mortgage is confirmation that the property is sound, and in good condition.
This however is not the case. The bank’s concern is solely that the valuation of the property is accurate and likely to withstand the elements for the duration of the mortgage term.
For the sake of a few hundred euros, getting an independent survey done could be the best money you’ll ever spend.
For further information on the treatment and prevention of mould/damp, contact Mould Solutions on
Read on for our Top Tips for Mould Prevention and Removal from Mould Solutions
So Winter is well and truly upon us and in preparation for the cold and wet weather ahead, here are a few top tips from Mould Solutions on how to prepare your home to prevent water damage or mould growth that may come with the cold days ahead. Landlords also take note and talk to your tenants on checking their properties if you have not already.
#1 Remove any debris or leaves from your gutters and check them regularly for damage. Failure to do so can lead to leaks in your roof which is a major cause of mould build up in the home.
#2 Check window reveals and cupboards for any signs of mould growth. Mould can grow quite quickly especially if it’s given a warm moist environment which would be the case in most homes during the Winter.
#3 Check your attic to ensure that there is adequate insulation and ventilation. This will keep your home toasty throughout the Winter and prevent the growth of mould.
#4 Leaks in the roof can cause mould. A roof that leaks into the attic might not be discovered until it has already led to mould growth. Check the attic regularly for leaks and keep an eye on the ceiling below the attic.
#5 Drying clothes indoors on clothes lines or stands can cause humidity issues. Not only does high humidity feed mould, but it also means that damp materials in the house take longer to dry out. These damp surfaces can create mould growth of their own. Mould can become airborne and grow on not only bricks and mortar but also any textiles and furnishings in your home.
So follow these tips and get your home Winter Ready!
For further information contact a member of the team in Mould Solutions on 01 8512480 or