Mould will easily grow and spread if the right conditions are present. Areas with high humidity levels, poor ventilation and excess moisture are the perfect breeding grounds for mould growth.
Mould spores can be carried by air currents, making it easy for them to enter a property through doors, open windows and ventilation systems. Spores can also latch onto clothing, shoes and pet’s fur – which means you may be taking them into your home without even realising.
When mould spores discover a moist and dark area, they are more than likely to settle there and multiply. Mould thrives in damp environments, making the bathroom, ensuites, wardrobes, sub floors or laundry area highly susceptible to growth. While most moulds are visible, others also grow behind walls and ceilings.
Because mould feeds on organic matter such as wood, paper and fabric, it can eat away materials like wallpaper, carpet and floorboards, causing them to collapse or cave in. Not all moulds are toxic, but some may pose health risks, especially if a person is allergic, has a weak immune system or is dealing with respiratory problems.
If you suspect mould infestation in your property, it is important to take care of it as quickly as possible to prevent damage to your home and avoid potentially harmful effects on your health. If you live in a humid area, you might need a dehumidifier in your home or building.
The ideal indoor humidity level should be kept between 40%-60% during the summer months and slightly lower during the winter season (30% to 40%) to help prevent mould from growing.
Humidity levels that go above this range can encourage mould, mildew and dust mites – triggering health problems and compromising your property’s structural integrity.
However, If the humidity level is too low, it can also cause a few problems. Low humidity can lead to chapped lips, dry hair and skin and increased susceptibility to respiratory conditions. It can also damage electronics, cause paint jobs to chip and wooden floors and furniture to crack and split.
A dehumidifier helps reduce humidity by drawing out excess moisture and condensation from the air, helping to restore optimal humidity levels indoors. The moisture pulled from the air is then stored in a tank.
The best places to put a dehumidifier is in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or any areas where condensation or dampness forms, where mould can grow. Dehumidifiers come in different models, so consider the size of the area where you will be installing a dehumidifier before purchasing one. Also, if you are currently dealing with mould growth in your home, it is best to identify the source of the mould first and then physically remove it.
So, does a humidifier stop and get rid of mould?
The short answer is – it does not.
But since mould loves to grow in damp areas, a dehumidifier plays an important role in preventing mould growth by reducing humidity and removing excess moisture.
The process of mould removal typically starts with identifying the source of mould growth. It involves more than just looking at where mould is visibly growing, but also, looking behind or around areas where visible mould is present.
The technicians use equipment such as moisture / humidity meters and infrared cameras to trace the source of mould. Once the main source of growth is identified, recommendations are made to remove or reduce the moisture.
The mould removal process ends with drying out and treating the affected area to prevent the problem from returning again.
Mould remediation is creating a plan to successfully identify, remove and prevent mould from growing back.
The mould removal companies will inspect the property and then provide a detailed inspection report which contains the source of the mould problem, then recommended strategies to address it and the full quotation of their services.
The word abatement is defined as the process of reducing, lessening, suppressing or terminating something. Using this definition, mould abatement involves the termination of mould from the structure or area where it is identified, either by removing or encapsulating it so it no longer poses risks to occupants and the property.
As you can see, mould removal, mould remediation and mould abatement are so closely related, that they are most of the time used interchangeably. Though it can be said that mould removal and mould abatement are strategies that are included in a mould remediation plan.
There are many tell-tale signs that high humidity levels are present inside your home. Below are common indications that you may need to install a dehumidifier.
Visible Mould and Musty Smell
Since humid areas encourage mould growth, visible mould is one of the easiest things to spot if you have an indoor humidity problem. Mould spots would usually appear on walls or ceilings and behind furniture and on leather items such as shoes, belts and handbags. Growing mould release a musty and offensive odour, which often causes eye, nose or throat irritation.
Condensation may appear in the form of fog, vapour and beads of water on window panes, glass doors or poorly insulated walls. Moisture build-up occurs during the cold season when the outside temperature falls significantly lower compared to the indoor temperature. If you observe condensation in one – or many parts of your house – then it is possible that you have an indoor humidity problem.
Properties with rooms built below ground level or into a hillside are one of the most common areas to suffer from high humidity. In some homes, these rooms such as home theatres and rumpus rooms can feel damp, even if there is no evidence of water intrusion. However, there are also some homes that have consistent groundwater issues which cause the sub ground level rooms to collect water, especially during the rainy season or if the house is located near water. In such cases, there may be poor drainage, leaking pipes or a problem in the foundations.
Wood retains moisture, and if left for too long, can become home for pests like termites. This can happen to your window sills, window sealant, dry walls or hardwood floors, eventually, weakening them.
Water Damage and Stains
Water stains on ceilings and walls could be a sign of high humidity, but they can also mean that you have ventilation problems or plumbing system leakage.
If you want to determine the humidity and moisture levels inside your home, one of the tools that you can use is a moisture meter (hygrometer). You can also perform the “ice cube test”. This is done by filling a glass with water, adding three ice cubes in it and leaving it in a room for about four minutes. If condensation forms or water drips outside the glass, then the humidity level in the room is too high.
However, note that accurately measuring the humidity level inside your home is difficult to do by yourself. It may be a better idea to hire an expert to perform humidity testing for you, especially if there is a mould problem in your property.
Installing a dehumidifier in humid areas in your home provides many benefits for your health and your property. Aside from preventing mould growth, humidifiers help:
- Regulate the temperature to make your living space more comfortable
- Eliminate dust mites and other allergens
- Protect wooden items from damage
- Improve air quality and circulation
- Prevent pest-related problems
Mould will easily grow and spread if the right conditions are present. So, dehumidifiers don’t kill mould, but they can help to prevent it from growing inside your home by reducing humidity. However, the best way to deal with it is to get rid of its source.
Our mould removal specialists at Mould Cleaning Australia are equipped with the experience, latest training and equipment to help solve your mould problems.
If you’re not sure about the best place to set up your dehumidifier, we can help. Why not take advantage of our FREE mould inspection, which will give you a better understanding of your mould problem and what can be done to solve it.
As the largest mould removal company in Australia, you can count on our knowledge and expertise to get your property mould-free in less than a single day.