As Canadians, we arguably do battle with winters better than anyone else in the world. But, sometimes, the measures we take to stay warm can cause other problems we didn’t expect to have to take on. Take, for example, the need for us to keep our homes airtight throughout the winter months. Sure, this makes sense when you consider the fact that we don’t want to freeze when we’re inside. But there’s a ramification to keeping ourselves all cooped up.
With little no ventilation, we can create warm and humid spots in our homes which make the perfect breeding grounds for mould. As Michelle Roberts makes clear on BobVila.com, “mould typically grows where there’s excessive moisture, like in a damp cabinet under the sink or around a leaky window, so it’s important to ventilate these areas and prevent moisture from accumulating.”
So what are the health risks associated with mould? The Government of Canada lists them as eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing and mucous (phlegm) build-up, wheezing and shortness of breath, worsening of asthma symptoms and other allergic reactions. “Some airborne moulds can cause severe lung infections in people with very weakened immune systems (like those with leukemia or AIDS, or transplant recipients),” they reveal on the Healthy Canadians website.
Are some people more vulnerable to the effects of mould than others? Yes, certainly. As we alluded to earlier, those who suffer from asthma and severe allergies are more likely to experience breathing difficulties when coming into contact with mould spores. The Healthy Canadians site also acknowledges that children and seniors are more likely to be more sensitive to the effect of mould than others. There is no “safe” limit of exposure, the site warns us.
Where does mould grow? According to Roberts, mould can form on literally any surface. “Even flat and smooth surfaces like glass, fibreglass, and steel are mould-susceptible,” she informs, “As long as mould spores (which are always in the air), moisture, and particulate matter (like dust) are prevalent, mould can grow. The only effective strategy to control mould is to control moisture, like installing dehumidifiers and fans in basements and kitchens.”
What can be done to prevent mould? Limiting moisture is definitely important. Now, of course, there is moisture in all homes. And it is most prevalent in kitchens and bathrooms. This is why both rooms are equipped with exhaust fans. It is highly recommended that they be used any time either room is in use for their intended purposes. In other words, when you are cooking and bathing, turn your fans on.
You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t let water pool or accumulate anywhere. “Homeowners can easily prevent water intrusion by staying vigilant of any leaks around the house, especially in bathroom faucets, showers and toilets,” adds Roberts, “Building experts urge homeowners to stay alert for signs of mould, including dampness, odours, discolouration, peeling paint, condensation, compacted insulation and actual mould outbreaks.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Mould Assessment Services that analyze, assess and report on your home, office or building. Our comprehensive assessments include visual inspections for sources of mould, analytical sampling for source and health impact potential from spore exposure, moisture analysis and thermal scanning. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.