With winter upon us as Strata Managers we start to field more & more correspondence regarding mould that occurs within units.
There are a number of reasons why mould occurs in a unit and one of large misconceptions is that it is a being caused by a burst pipe or leak occurring from the unit above or from outside of the building.
The reason that mould occurs is because there is an environment that is high in moisture providing the perfect conditions for mould to grow. Unfortunately sometimes these environments are created because of our lifestyle choices rather than an issue such as a water leak.
During winter we have a tendency to run our heaters overnight. The extreme temperature differences between the interior & exterior of the property creates condensation which forms on the walls & windows inside the property.
Add to this the hot showers each family member has in the morning before starting their day that although the exhaust fan is used, it still creates further condensation in the bathroom on the walls & ceilings.
Being both security conscience and mindful of our power bills the property is left completely closed up and any device such as a fan switched off to conserve electricity.
All of a sudden we have inadvertently created the perfect breeding environment for mould. The best way to get rid of condensation is to have air flow through the property as this aids the drying of the condensation.
When you remove the condensation and moisture content in the atmosphere of your home you are minimising the risk of mould growth inside the property.
If a cross flow of air can be achieved in your property the condensation will dry up within several hours and not have a chance to allow mould growth.
If your property is situated in a southerly aspect, or an area that does not get a great deal of sun during the course of the day, this will sometimes exacerbate the problem.
So how do you get rid of a mould problem ?
The first thing to do is ensure that your property has adequate cross flow ventilation during the day. This can be achieved by opening several windows that will allow a flow of air throughout the property. Whilst this may not be feasible whilst you’re away at work during the day, an option is to install window deadlocks that allow the windows to be opened a fraction, but still provide enough of an opening to allow some ventilation.
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of opening a window partially, the next best solution is to purchase a dehumidifier. These machines remove the moisture from the atmosphere within your property and catch it in a container that needs to be emptied when full. Some dehumidifiers can be drained into a floor waste alleviating the need to empty the receptacle that collects the water.
Most dehumidifier should be able to run a minimum of 6-8 hours or longer, unless there is an excessive amount of moisture in the atmosphere.
Once you address the issue of the moisture/condensation, if you already have mould that has formed this should be cleaned with a specific solutions to remove the mould. Whilst there are specially designed products for removing mould, you should be careful about the expiry date on the product as the active ingredient that kills the mould will diminish in strength the longer it sits on the shelf.
Bleach based products also have a tendency to simply remove the colour of the mould, rather kills all the spores and mould itself.
We have had success in the past with a natural remedy comprised of water, borax & vinegar that is quite effective with removal of mould.
Understanding the reasons why mould grows and the simple solutions to stopping the growth will help immensely to protect your property from the issue of mould.