Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Preventing Cold Housing Can Cause Mould in the Home

Housing authorities and governments over the last 40 years have gone to great trouble to improve the standard of housing in their countries by installing insulation, better heating and removing draughts - this news article from New Zealand is typical and many homeowners speaks of the potential benefits of a warmer home with less condensation.

Unfortunately after a short period of improvement in living conditions as more heat is retained within living areas we have found that condensation is far from 'cured'. The amount of moisture in the air can rise as warmer air can hold more water than cold air, but ultimately moisture must be exhausted out of the property somehow otherwise it will inevitably reappear, especially during the night as the heating goes off and air cools. Once moisture starts to settle on walls and furnishing moulds will quickly follow as it is not warmer air that prevents moulds growing - it is the absence of moisture.

If all draughts are plugged and ventilation grids are blocked up, including old chimney's then there is nowhere for all the moisture generated in a building by its occupants (washing, clothes drying, breathing) to go. Installation of insulation has to be done so as to retain ventilation, insulating materials must not be biodegradable (shredded paper, sheep's wool) and the occupants need to be made aware of the potential problems with mould if they do not change the way they live a little - a warm home comes with responsibilities! Ventilation that ensure good flow of fresh air into a house must be installed if not present - and their are devices which will retain most of the heat in a house as damp air is removed.

The Institute of Specialist Surveyers and Engineers (ISSE) and the National Aspergillosis Centre, Manchester, UK are investigating a partnership to help prevent moulds growing in homes and other properties. There is to be a series of qualifications to help train building inspectors and remediators with damp as a main focus, and a national awareness campaign to help educate all interested parties.

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