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Mould is the single largest problem in indoor air quality. Five percent of the population will have some allergic reaction to mould in their lifetime. Mould needs moisture to grow therefore moulds will grow where there are higher levels of moisture in your home.

Moulds are microscopic fungi that produce spores and mycelia during the reproductive process and there are over 270 species of mould that grow in Canadian homes (see Fungal Glossary). Most moulds under the right circumstances can produce toxic metabolites called mycotoxins that are found in spores. Dead mould is also a potential source of allergic reactions for people.

Signs of mould are as follows: discolouration (black, white red orange, yellow, blue or violet), smell/odor (musty or earthy smell), dampness or evidence of water leaks may cause mould later.

  • Health effects are not well understood from exposure to mould, but some studies have determined a pattern (see Adverse Health Effects of Indoor Mould)
  • Moulds release chemicals and spores that could cause an allergic reaction
  • Effects can range from fatigue, headache, gastrointestinal problems to anxiety, depression, vision problems, insomnia, skin rashes, heart palpitations, memory loss and fibromyalgia
  • Pregnant women, children and the elderly and those with health concerns such as respiratory disease or a weakened immune system are more at risk for these effects

If mould is suspected in your home, call a professional to perform Mould Sampling and Analysis to determine if what you have is, in fact mould. Do not clean up large areas of mould yourself (bigger than 1 square meter) call a professional in this instance as well for Mould Remediation. Cleaning mould is only a temporary solution; the source of the problem needs to be determined. In the meantime, if you absolutely have to go into a potentially contaminated space in your home, ensure you use a respirator safety mask to protect yourself.

 

To reduce the risk of developing mould here are some rules to live by:

  • Keep humidity less than 50% all year round
  • Find and fix water leaks immediately as mould takes as little as 24 hours to develop under damp conditions
  • Minimize clutter that can attract / breed mould
  • Keep stored items in the basement off the cement floor and away from walls (as cement will always absorb moisture from outdoors), keep possessions in plastic tubs rather than cardboard boxes as paper and other wood materials are a food source for mould and will grow into the box and items
  • Discard any items including furniture that have been exposed to prolonged moisture or dampness (including carpet and underpad)
  • Wash bedding, drapes, shower curtains, clothes and carpets regularly
  • Use a HEPA vacuum to catch small spores that regular vacuums aren't built for or a central vacuum that is exhausted to the outside
  • Ventilate your home properly to keep areas of moisture to a minimum by opening windows or installing a Heat Recovery Ventilator
  • Keep contaminants out of your air by using a Central Air Cleaner
  • If you notice visible signs of mould or odours in your home, be sure to call a professional immediately for Mould Sampling and Analysis and Mould Remediation if necessary .
 
If you think your home may have a mould problem, call Home Heroes today to take a sample, give analysis and provide a solution for your family. We do not recommend you as a homeowner deal with mould yourself as further contamination of the home can occur if not contained properly.
 
 
Home Heroes' CODE WORD
for Indoor Air Quality
is "IAQ"
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