How to identify and prevent mould in your home

Mould is a frequent household issue. Condensation can arise from water leaks, moisture in the air and poor ventilation. Showering, cleaning, cooking and even fish tanks can contribute to moisture in the air, which then cause a buildup of condensation and then finally mould.

When mould grows in your home it releases spores within the air where we can easily breathe them in. Mould can cause nasty allergies and even respiratory problems. So we advise that you keep a lookout for any potential mould causing problems and keep your home well ventilated. Prevention is better than cure, as once mould starts to grow it is a little more tricky to get rid of as it spreads and multiplies.

What kinds of mould are there?

There are various kinds of mould that grow in a real mix of colours such as green, black, white, orange and blue. Some kinds of mould are more toxic than others, and one particular type of mould can grow in an assortment of colours, depending on their environment. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify exactly what type of mould is growing in your home yourself. Sometimes it’s best to get in a professional to take a look and remedy the problem before it spreads and most importantly for the health of your family. The most common types of mould that grow in the home are the black and green varieties.

Green mould

Green mould typically belongs to the aspergillus, Cladosporium or Penicillium families, and can often be found growing on walls, in cupboards, carpets, rugs, couches and on damp fabrics and mattresses.

Penicillium can cause sinus infections and inflammation of the lungs, whereas other strains of green mould can cause bronchitis and even pneumonia.

Black Mould

Mould of all types can be harmful to our health and black moulds are the most frequent in the home and often come from the same strain as green mould. General black mould is easily treated without too much concern.

‘Toxic black mould’ or ‘stachybotrys’ is a different type of black mould which CAN have much more serious effects on your health. More on that below.

Toxic black mould

Stachybotrys, or toxic black mould, is harmful to the home because it produces mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are invisible to the human eye but can enter the human body through inhalation, ingestion and even through the eyes. These mycotoxins are very dangerous and can cause problems with the reproductive system, vision, skin, the circulatory and respiratory systems and can even have psychological and neurological effects.

If you are experiencing worrying symptoms and cannot identify the cause, it is important to check your house for signs of black mould.

How do I know if I have toxic black mould?

Toxic black mould and less harmful black mould look very similar, so sometimes it is best to get in a professional to diagnose the problem. Toxic black mould tends to be a greenish-black and is often slimy, however, it can also become dry and powdery over time.

It requires more moisture to grow than other strains of mould and is often found in and around particularly damp areas and is a particular problem in areas which have sprung leaks that are hidden from view, such as inside walls or in floors and ceilings. Bowed walls and peeling patches of paint are key things to look out for, as they are indicators of hidden dampness.

How can I treat toxic mould?

If you have a household issue with toxic mould, then you need to seek professional treatment in order to ensure that your home is a safe environment for you and your family. If you find a colony of toxic mould, it is very important that you do not disturb it. Touching or moving the mould can cause an enormous amount of harmful spores to be released into the air causing harmful effects to your family’s health.

Prevention by ventilation and other methods

Once you have had your mould treated, it is important to integrate some changes to the way your home is ventilated, in order to prevent further mould growth.
At Zephyr Ventilation, we have a variety of solutions that can help to keep your home well-ventilated and mould free.

In addition to ventilation and heat retention solutions, it is also vital to ensure that your home is well looked after in other ways, in order to prevent excess dampness in the air.
Always ensure that you dry wet areas immediately. Dry up any liquid spills and ensure you dry floors and walls after you have a bath or shower. If possible, dry wet clothes outside or in a dryer that is ventilated to the outside of your house, as the moisture from your clothes travels straight into the air.

Although indoor plants improve the air quality of your home, moist soil and leaves also provide the perfect breeding ground for mould. Make sure you clean and move your plants around regularly, while keeping them in a well ventilated area in order to prevent the build-up of mould.

Leaks within your home are often caused by broken gutters or downpipes. Ensure you have the exterior of your house inspected regularly, in order to prevent a simply cracked downpipe or piece of guttering from becoming a larger and more expensive problem.

Finally, it is important to let air circulate through your home. Keep internal doors open as much as possible and move the furniture away from walls. Open windows on dry days to let fresh air blow into your home, which will reduce moisture and therefore help to prevent mould.

If you do suspect you have a mould problem, check out our sister company www.mouldpro.com.au for services and advice. Though we do always say prevention is better than cure, and often less expensive – so give us a call at Zephyr Ventilation to see how we can help with mould prevention in your home.