Last Updated on January 23, 2015
What causes mold in your home? Well the simple answer is that many times, your home is too well sealed and your heating system is quite efficient. But add ineffective ventilation and walls that are not well insulated from internal and external damp and you have created the perfect conditions to welcome mold into your home. So it can be said that you might have opened your front door and invited the mold in personally!
What actually causes mold?
It is remarkably simple, steam hits the walls that are colder and forms condensation, they form water droplets that do not dry out. Using the paint and the material of your porous walls they take root and grow, mold requires four essential conditions simultaneously:
• High temperature inside and outside low temperatures
• The presence of spores
• Low light amount
If you want to see how fast mold can get to work every time you take a shower in the winter turn the shower heat onto full, create a great steam cloud and then leave the bathroom without opening a window to ventilate it, before long you will have mold spreading across your bathroom big time.
The Italian job or is it madness?
Many American and Canadians expats living in Europe are shocked and surprised to see the windows of a house thrown open in the winter mornings when the temperatures outside are well sub-zero. In Italy this apparently punishing practice seems inexplicable. In Northern Italy nighttime temperatures frequently are well sub-zero. What are the Italians doing as bedding is draped out of the window and the bedrooms treated to a sub-zero blast?
The woman in the house will tell you, getting rid of the humidity and killing any unpleasant spores or other unwelcome guests who have taken home in the family bedding is a top priority. The fact is that it works, Italian children rarely suffer from asthma and mold is a far less serious problem than in North America despite inferior and more expensive heating systems, food for thought.
You could be causing the problem with mold in your home
Of course you could blame bad home design but take a moment to think about what you could do to avoid the dangers of mold, Here are some of the worst errors when heating and ventilation of the house;
• Insufficient air exchange not opening the windows of a bedroom after use and putting the bedding out to cool and dry
• Putting wet laundry to dry inside, especially in cold weather
• Using spin dryers without adequate dryer moisture expulsion pipes
• Excess water in plants
• Not installing and using de-humidifiers in your underground rooms or spaces
If you have not attended to these potential problems you are more than putting the door to mold in your home.
Bad home design
While you follow all the good practices of the wise Italian “Mama” you cannot defeat home design without getting the help of a design expert to improve the condition of your home to stop the mold being able to creep into your home. What are the key culprits that you should be looking out for?
• Poor insulation
• Water leaks
• Rising damp thanks to inadequate water resistant insulation
Take immediate action and take it now!
If you have time you can take on the mold problem on your own or you can call in a professional mold removal expert who can come to your aid. Either way the techniques that need to be used are the same
• You have mold on the walls, once formed this mold needs to be removed very carefully. Use a sponge and a mold removal agent start from the edges and work your way in towards the corners where the mold forms most easily. Never neglect the last inch of the corner as this is the HQ central from where the mold forms and moves out.
• Take care to not scrub too vigorously as this will strip the paint off the walls, however once you have removed the mold the paint work will need to be redecorated as mold damage will taint the color.
• Install a wall air extractor, particularly in your kitchen or bathrooms where the mold can form most easily. The most economic ones can be mounted in your windows although a wall mounted air extractor is more robust and efficient. A handy tip is that the air extractors have flaps that close when you are not using them to block cold air entering the room.
The 15-minute rule
Our Italian “Mama” says ventilate each room for a minimum of 15 minutes to clear the air of humidity and reduce the risk of mold forming, either by throwing the night time bedding over the balcony for a cleaning blast or ventilating your bathroom or kitchen. By doing so, you will give the mold a fine kick up the backside and say “out of my home!”.