Indoor mould grows very well when the indoor relative humidity is above 70%
12 Steps To Prevent Mould Growth in Ontario Homes and Workplaces
Because any type of mould growth in elevated levels indoors can harm occupant health, the prevention of indoor mould problems in Ontario homes, offices, and workplaces can significantly improve the health well-being of residents.
Here are the top twelve steps to prevent indoor mould problems in residences and other buildings, as recommended by Phillip Fry and Divine Montero, Certified Environmental Hygienists, Certified Mold Inspectors, Certified Mold Remediators, and webmasters of Link and Link.
- Keep year-round indoor humidity to less than sixty percent through adequate ventilation air movement and the use of air conditioning and dehumidifiers. Indoor mould grows very well when the indoor relative humidity is above 70%. In addition, minimize the use of live indoor plants, which facilitate mould growth and increase indoor humidity due to frequent watering.
High humidity (close to a Great Lake, other lakes, Seaway, and big rivers); roof leaks; roof ice dams; plumbing leaks; frozen water pipes; basement wall, siding, and window water leaks; internal air conditioning condensation/dust accumulation; and ground water wicking up through concrete floors and inside crawl spaces (e.g., beneath manufactured homes) are the major causes of mould problems in metro Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario Province.
- Keep indoor humidity levels low by never: (a) using a humidifier to increase humidity; (b) hanging wet clothes, towels, and linens to dry indoors; and (c) taking a shower or bath without first turning on the bathroom exhaust fan or opening a bathroom window to exhaust humid air to the outdoors.
- Use a digital hygrometer to check humidity levels in all rooms and areas of your house or condominium. Record the humidity percentage and the measurement dates for each room in a journal or log book.
- Clean window air conditioners, other air conditioning equipment and ducts, air purifiers, and dehumidifiers at least every three months to get rid of accumulated organic dust and dirt (good mould food) and mould growth. Air conditioners enable: (a) mould to grow through the condensation of water from the cooled; (b) blow airborne mould spores into the indoor living area.
- Install HEPA filters inside the heating/cooling air supply duct registers, return air register, and the fresh air supply intake to capture and remove airborne mould spores from the air flow. Use portable HEPA filter air cleaners to remove airborne mould spores.
- Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to vacuum carpeting and rugs and mop tile floors daily to remove deposited/landed mould spores and dirt and dust (good mould food). Use borax laundry detergent in warm water to wash down all walls, floors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and surfaces, and furniture and appliances at least monthly for the same reason.
- Mould test the outward air flow from window air conditioners and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (hvac) duct registers and the air of each room at least annually for elevated levels of airborne mould spores. You can do it yourself with mould test kits from Link.
- Use your nose to detect mould problems: if you smell mould, there is mould growing, whether visible or hidden.
- Inspect the roof, attic, exterior siding, ceilings, walls, floors, rugs (both sides) wood furniture, and behind and beneath furniture on a regular basis for water leaks, water stains, water damage, and mould growth. Mould causes visible discoloration of wood and other building materials. Mould can be many colors including black, white, blue, green, white, yellow, and pink.
- Inspect inside the attic (the open space between ceilings and the roof), crawl space beneath a building, basement, garage, and exterior siding regularly for water leaks, water stains, water damage, and mould growth. Such areas often have high humidity and water intrusion problems that drive mould growth. Mould can then grow upward or downward into adjoining floors, ceilings, and walls above.
- Inspect bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room plumbing areas (such as inside and beneath sinks and sink cabinets) regularly for water leaks, water damage, and mould growth.
- Monitor residents and employees’ health. Are family members, residents, co-employees, guests, and/or their pets suffering from health problems that may be mould-related, such as chronic coughs or sneezing, sinus problems, chronic tiredness, headaches, difficulty in remembering and thinking, skin rashes, abnormal hair loss, or breathing disorders?
If someone is suffering chronic health problems, such problems are a possible sign that the residence, office, or workplace should be mould-inspected. Visit your doctor promptly for help with any health problem. For inspection, use mould test kits or contact a Certified Mould Inspector.
Mr. Fry is author of five mould advice ebooks: Mold Monsters; Mold Health Guide; Mold Legal Guide; Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Inspection, Testing, Remediation, and Prevention; and Mold Home Remedy Recipes, all available for download from Link..
Items of notes and interest from the web.