Do you know how to detect mould? And if you find it, do you know how to safely remove it? After reading this article, you will be able to answer both questions confidently!
Two Kinds of Mould: Harmless and Not Harmless
Without mould, we wouldn’t have delicious cheese. We also wouldn’t have penicillin, the life-saving antibiotic that is created using the penicillium mould.
Mould also helps bio-matter break down and become useful to the earth and many living things that live at the bottom of the food chain. Believe it or not, mould also helps make our forests beautiful, lush, and healthy. We rely on the mould outdoors to keep our ecosystems healthy and in balance.
But when mould comes indoors, it’s a whole different matter! First of all, indoor mould is typically no longer harmless. This is because once it’s inside your space, mould doesn’t have soil to break down or organic matter to consume and transform. So the mould spores will go looking for their favourite foods inside your house instead.
Mould loves to eat moisture and organic matter in any form. Inside your home, moisture is most likely to be found in basements, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, garages, attics, and work areas.
Organic matter is everywhere, including drywall, carpeting, curtains, anything wooden, linens, and anything with cellulose (plant matter such as paper).
So mould can just drift along in the air inside your home until it locates a suitable corner that offers both moisture and organic matter. Then it settles down, starts eating and drinking, and launches a colony.
As that colony grows, it begins to create spores of its own to colonize new areas inside your home. These spores detach from the colony and go floating through your indoor air looking for other suitable corners. And this is how mould begins and starts to spread.
Finding the “Bad” Mould
Determining what types of bad mould has congregated inside your space isn’t the easiest thing to do. For starters, there are more than 270 different species of mould known to readily colonize Canadian homes.
Also, sometimes the mould decides to sneak into an area inside your home that is less visible or invisible to you. An example would be if there is a crack in your drywall in the basement. A mould spore might happen across that nice damp organic crack and head inside and start its colony.
For this reason, you may need to rely on your nose as much as your eyes to detect household mould. You may also need to look to your health for signs that mould is growing undetected inside your space.
This can often mean that the best way to find the bad mould you need to get rid of is with a whole home (or workplace) indoor air quality test.
Indoor air quality testing is simple and unobtrusive. The test machine will run for 72 continuous hours (3 days), testing the air at different points inside your space. The machine will then summarize its findings with a full-colour printed report to let you know where air quality action may be needed.
Treating Mould Issues Effectively
If you thought finding the mould was difficult, just try treating it. Small amounts of surface mould are typically treatable with mould solution or bleach and water. But if you suspect the colony spores have permeated below the surface, this will not be sufficient.
Areas of visible mould larger than 3 feet (1 metre) in size should be assessed and treated by a professional. It is simply too dangerous to attempt to treat larger mould colonies without expert knowledge and professional equipment.
If your indoor air quality test returns a mould-positive report, the next step is to select a mould expert to come out and assess your space for treatment.
Preventing Mould’s Return
Once the mould has been treated, it is time to take preventative action towards the future.
There are several effective ways to make your space undesirable to mould. Having your HVAC system retrofitted with whole home air quality equipment is the best way to keep mould out for good.
A heat recovery ventilation system removes excess moisture from your indoor air and keeps outgoing mould-spore-filled air from returning inside.
Have Your Air Ducts Professionally Cleaned & Sanitized
The most important step to take when upgrading your home HVAC system with air quality control equipment is to first have your indoor air duct system professionally cleaned.
Mould can readily find a home inside older air duct systems that have not been cleaned since they were originally installed. You want to make sure that the mould you just had removed stays gone!