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Types of household mould - which ones are harmful?

If you do not take the correct steps to prevent condensation and dampness in your home, you may find that mould has started to grow on your walls, windowsills and ceilings. Mould patches look unsightly, but they can also be a potential hazard to your health too.

How does mould enter my home in the first place?

Mould spreads in the form of microscopic spores, which are small and light enough to be carried through the air. These spores are present in low concentrations almost everywhere, but will cause the most damage if they are able to land on a damp surface, and are not then moved on by ventilation.

If your bathroom, en-suite or kitchen is poorly ventilated, you may start to see mould develop in small patches on the walls, ceilings, and around windows. These are the typical locations that condensation is lightly to occur, creating a damp patch for the mould to thrive in.

Once the mould is then established, it will continue to grow at a quick rate. When the mould patches ‘mature’, they will release spores, which can then encourage the mould to spread quickly around your home and be breathed in by anyone who lives there. If left untreated, larger amounts of spores will be released, which can start to cause harm.

Mould

Which moulds should I be particularly worried about?

Any mould in the home is not ideal and should always be removed as quickly and safely as possible, to prevent it from spreading. However, there are certain types of mould that can potentially do more damage than others - including toxic black mould.

Black mould is also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, and will grow and spread on materials as a result of warm temperatures and moisture-laden air. It can be particularly harmful to those who have allergies, as allergy symptoms can be triggered by the black mould spores in the air.

Allergy symptoms will occur when your immune system becomes hypersensitive to these spores, causing inflammation and irritation to the eyes, nose and lungs. If you have a weakened immune system, black mould exposure can also cause a fungal infection in your airways or other parts of the body - so it’s really important to prevent it from appearing if you can. Whilst it rarely causes very serious illnesses or death, it can be harmful to those who are more vulnerable, such as asthma sufferers and the elderly.

If you do spot any mould (black or otherwise) in your home, it’s important to get rid of it as soon as possible. To learn how to do this safely, visit our recent blog (insert link to blog on how to fight mould). 

Prevention is the best solution

The only way to truly prevent mould permanently is to completely remove the conditions that allow it to get a foothold in your home, i.e. reducing dampness, humidity and condensation.

Moisture being released into the air from poorly ventilated kitchens and bathrooms will generate the condensation, which then kickstarts damp and mould. Ensuring that you have sufficient airflow within your home will help to remove moist air before water vapour can settle and soak into surfaces. To generate this airflow, you need ventilation. 

The most simple ventilation (that should be fitted as standard in your home) is an extractor fan, which should always be switched on whilst bathing, showering or cooking. Whilst it is effective in removing moisture-laden air, you shouldn’t rely on it alone.

Whole-house ventilation systems are the most effective, efficient way to get rid of mould in your home permanently. By bringing in fresh, filtered, heated air from outside and pushing out stale, moist air from inside, this dramatically reduces condensation, damp and therefore mould. And because they can be left on to quietly and efficiently operate 24/7, you won’t be waking up to find condensation on the windows.
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