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Moulds are organisms which are neither plant nor animal. They are part of the fungi kingdom. Unlike plants, moulds do not get their energy from the sun through photosynthesis. In fact the sun's ultraviolet light inhibits mould growth. Moulds also digest or "eat" the material they are growing on. The role of mould is to break down decaying organic matter such as dead plants, leaves or dead animals.
The most common cause of mould in the home is damp from condensation, or from a combination of high humidity and poor ventilation. Black mould is often found in bathrooms, around windows and behind large or fixed pieces of furniture where their is poor airflow. Bathrooms, due to their very nature, have high humidity and are often home to damp towels which hold moisture. Mould will often form around windows because they are the coldest point in the room and condensation builds up around them. Windows without trickle vents are more susceptible to this as they prevent airflow from circulating. Mould on ceilings often appears near the edges of the room, where insulation is often lacking.
If you want a truly mould free home then cleaning off the mould is only the first step. Anti-mildew paint can be applied to a clean area to discourage future growth but it cannot prevent the build-up of condensation. Mould thrives in a humid environment so the simplest way to prevent regrowth is to ensure that there is no damp in your home. Use extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom where condensation is more likely to exist. You should avoid drying clothes indoors, and open the windows to air the house whenever you can. Adequate ventilation will prevent the build-up of damp. During the colder months of the year, it can seem counter productive to open windows and doors. Keeping the heat in seems a priority but this lack of airflow can make the situation worse.
Check your insulation. Cold spots on the walls and ceilings encourage condensation so make sure that your insulation is doing its job! If your home suffers from condensation build up, a dehumidifier can be a great investment.
There is really only one sure-fire way to stop mould from ever coming back. You need to find the cause and fix it. Tempest Restoration are experts in the removal of mould from properties. Using a knowledgeable contractor to clean up signs of mould will ensure that the source of the issue has been identified and taken care of. Following a clean up from Tempest Restoration, we would give you specific advice about preventing the return of the problem, thus eliminating the need for further assistance.
The main requirement mould needs to grow is moisture. You can find mould growing almost anywhere provided there is enough of a moisture source for it. Read more information on the causes of mould in the home.
Mould problems cannot develop in houses unless there is a moisture problem. The moisture accumulation might be caused through humidity, condensation, or water intrusion from leaks, spills, floods, etc.
Most moulds only require suitable materials to be wet for 24-48 hours before they can grow.
Moulds that can survive using only humidity as their moisture source are called Xerophilic, whereas other moulds require an accumulation of moisture to grow. The best way to prevent mould growing indoors is to limit moisture. Click here to find out more about preventing mould in your home. Besides moisture, mould also needs the temperature to be right before it can begin to grow. Mould grows best in temperatures that we would consider warm. If a mould colony's environmental conditions become unfavorable, instead of dying it can lay dormant until conditions become right again when it can continue to grow.
If conditions such as temperature, oxygen levels, light, and available nutrients are right, the mould may create spores at the ends of the hyphal cells. Mould uses spores to reproduce in the same way that plants use seeds.
Once formed, the spores of mould will begin to be released into the air and spread to create new mould colonies. If a spore lands on a suitable material and other environmental conditions are suitable then the spore can germinate into a new hyphal cell and begin a new mould colony. One of the main environmental requirements for the spore to grow is moisture; to grow into mould, most spores need the surface to be damp for 24-48 hours.
Mould spores continually float through the air outdoors and indoors and it is impossible to eliminate them all inside buildings. Spores are resilient and even if they do not germinate they can last for years.
Toxic mould species have always existed of course but recently they seem to be more of a problem. One reason is because of new building construction codes which came about during the 1970s in response to the energy crisis. These codes aim for higher conservation of energy which requires new buildings to be more airtight. This means that buildings are less ventilated, not being able to "breathe" as freely and pockets of moist air can be trapped for long periods of time, potentially leading to mould growth. Also many of the building materials used today are very well suited for mould growth.
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