Mould is a topic that is very important to me because I am someone who suffers health issue when I’m exposed to it. Not everyone will have the same symptoms from mould exposure, but I want to share with you what mould can do to your health, where it shows up in your home, what to do about it, and a checklist of how to prevent mould from being an issue in your home. I also want to tell you why it’s important to get an inspection when you buy a home!
1. What mould does to your health
According to the Health Canada website
“People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:
- eye, nose and throat irritation coughing and phlegm build-up
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- worsening of asthma symptoms”
2. Where is mould showing up?
It’s important to note that mould can grow anywhere it is damp, and especially where water damage has occurred. In your home, you could find it in the attic, behind walls, above ceiling tile, below floor boards, in cupboards, on window sills, or in common household items. This could include: water bottles, travel coffee mugs, coffee pots or kettles, children’s toys, shower curtains, bath mats, and garbage bins.
In short, anywhere where there is moisture, there could be mould.
3. How to remove mould
For hard surfaces such as window sills, wood, or tile, you can simply wash the mould away with a soap and water mixture. Some people swear by bleach, but it’s not necessary to remove mould.
For walls, you can use a soap if it is only on the surface. If there is mould beneath the paint, the drywall will need to be removed. Painting over mould will not kill the mould, it will only hide the problem.
For washable materials like fabric, shower curtains, plush toys, etc – wash in the washing machine. If you find mould in or on a couch, mattress or other furnishings, you should throw these away.
If you find a largely affected area, you may consider calling in a professional! We recommend Medallion Healthy Homes as a great local contact. http://www.medallionhealthyhomes.ca/
4. Preventing Mould in your home
The key to mould prevention is to eliminate excess moisture and control humidity. There are so many ways you can do this around the house and below is a prevention checklist.
- Make sure your bathroom fan is working properly and have it on when you're taking a shower or bath. Keep it running for 30 minutes after you shower
- If you see a small patch of mould developing in a bathroom (on the ceiling or walls), scrub the patch to ensure it doesn't get larger.
- keep air flowing by ensuring your range hood is on when you cook.
- crack a window while you're cooking and cover pots with a lid
- ensure your dryer vents to outside
- clean the lint tray after every use
- have your dryer vents cleaned out by a professional once per year.
Windows and rooms
- me mindful of heavy curtains or blinds that don't allow air flow - keep them open to ensure moisture doesn't build up
- Wipe down wet window sills every day to prevent mould from growing
- leave indoor doors open for good airflow
- keep furniture away from heating vents
Basement/crawlspace or garage
- Run a dehumidifier if moisture is present in the garage, basement, or crawl space
- Have your perimeter drains flushed and inspected every 5 years to ensure water is flowing away from your home
- Check pipes for condensation and insulate them if necessary
5. Always inspect!
If you are purchasing a home, we hope you understand the importance of discovering moisture issues or mould in the home. A prudent inspector will look for moisture and evidence of mould in places like the attic, the basement or crawlspace or anywhere else it could be present. Some inspectors offer infrared scan to detect signs of moisture where you may not be able to see it, like behind the walls. We also suggest having the systems of the home that prevent water from entering the home inspected. Our building inspectors will inspect the building, but you need a separate company to inspect the perimeter drains, which ensure water is not collecting under the home or permeating the basement or crawlspace walls. We have several building inspectors that we trust, so if you need a reccomendation, please do not hesitate to contact us!