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Protect yourelf from toxic mould including black mould

The amount water vapour contained in the air is referred to as relative humidity. This condition encourages mould growth and dust mite population. Moulds are always in the air but they require just a considerable amount of moisture to grow. The spores released by moulds are a seed of mould growth that land on damp substances and places that have a lot of moisture. This makes way for their rapid growth and proliferation. The mould spores are so microscopic that they can easily be inhaled when mixed with the air.

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Moulds
Ceiling infested with black moulds

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Moulds can commonly be found in buildings and homes. Some common species of these moulds include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Stachybotrys chartarum. The Stachybotrys chartarum particularly is a greenish-black mould. It grows on high cellulose materials with less nitrogen content. These may include gypsum board, dust and fiberboard. Also, growth of this and other kinds of moulds occur when there is moisture which may have resulted from water damage and leaks, extreme humidity, condensation or flooding. All types of moulds are dangerous and needs to be treated in the same manner as they all pose health risks.

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Moulds
A man with skin rashes as result of mould infection

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Exposure to high concentration of moulds for a long period of time triggers allergic reactions such as stuffy nose, infections in the eye, sneezing, cough and eczema. Other people who have a long term exposure may suffer asthma as a result. According to studies, some cases of death which were as a result of severe asthma were linked to high levels of humidity, house dust mites and mould concentration in the indoor air.

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What you can do to minimize mould growth

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Check your indoor relative humidity. Regularly measure the relative humidity (RH) in your home. Observe your indoor relative humidity with a simple yet efficient and accurate humidity meter or sensor. With air conditioning on during summer time, RH should not exceed 55% on a regular basis during the day. Otherwise, moulds are likely to grow when humidity is high.

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Humidity alert
Humidity monitor

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Use mould identifiers and air purifiers. In order to be completely free from high humidity and mould issues, you can still adopt other measures such as using mould air test kits and air purifiers. These systems will serve as a complete indoor air quality guard which will relieve you of the many things you will need to do in order to maintain a clean indoor air. The mould air test kits will find moulds in areas of your indoor environment that have been invaded by moulds and mildew. Air purifiers do a complete job by disinfecting your indoor environment. It kills moulds, germs, dust mites, bacteria and many other airborne microorganisms which you will least expect to pollute your indoor air. Air purifiers can protect you and your whole family from life threatening microscopic organisms.

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Air Purifier
Airfree Air Purifier

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Use appropriate wall covering materials. In hot humid climates, vinyl wall coverings can attract serious mould issues. Moisture that comes from outdoors can cumulate within the gypsum wallboard that is behind the vinyl covering. The gypsum wallboard can deteriorate and become spongy as a result of the moisture accumulation. If you notice any of these signs in your home, consult a home inspection professional. You can also practice pressurization of your home as one method to minimize such occurrences.

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Mould infection
Mould infection behind vinyl wall covering

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Dry out moisture in bathrooms. In bathrooms, mostly the tiles in and around showers and tubs get wet regularly. These cause a lot of mould growth. A constant cleaning routine with weak solution of water and common household bleach can help to reduce the mould rate. It is also recommended to use low-noise bathroom fans which remove excess moisture.
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Avoid using whole-house ventilation fans. Avoid the use of whole-house ventilation fans when there is high humidity outdoors particularly when you are having trouble controlling mould growth and relative humidity in your home. Also you should avoid live house plants if you still having. Air conditioners must be properly maintained by regularly changing your filters. This ensures clean coils, drains condensates properly and the drain pan is mould free.
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Check and repair small leaks promptly. The smallest water leaks can cause mould issues. Plumbing leaks should be repaired immediately. A regular inspection should be conducted under sinks and vanities to see if there are signs of water leakage. Using your nose, you can smell for stuffy and earthy odours which usually indicate the presence of moulds. Bathroom vent fans and clothes dryer vents must go outside of the home. The kitchen range hood must also vent to the outdoor as well.
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Keep closets lighted up and airy. Moulds or fungi like dark places. Closets rarely get conditioned air which often comes from air conditioning systems in the home. For this reason, moulds or mildew can grow easily and especially on leather. You can either leave the closet lights on to elevate the temperature which eventually lowers the humidity or the closet doors can be left open as often as possible to allow circulation of conditioned air.

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Select the right air conditioner. Make sure to set the fan mode of your air conditioner thermostat in the AUTO position, no way should it be in the ON position. This is because with the ON position, he blower fan runs continuously and the moisture which has condensed on your air conditioner’s evaporator coil during cooling is re-evaporated and blown back into your home before it can drain off the coil and out of your home. This causes relative humidity in your indoor air to be significantly greater than if the air conditioner thermostat fan mode switch is set to the AUTO position. When building a new home, you can choose an air conditioning system with variable speed air handler and an operation selection mode for ‘enhanced moisture removal’. The reason is these types do well in removing moisture. The size of your air conditioner can also have effect on the amount of moisture that is able to be removed. Oversized air conditioners have rather a poor performance in humidity removal. .
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The vast majority of people spend most of their time indoors. Indoor air quality does have great impact on our health and for that matter all these measures mentioned above can be taken to either restore or maintain the quality of air you breathe indoors. This will keep you keep you free from moulds and conditions that encourage their growth. Your healthy will also not be compromised but rather it will be protected.

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Filed under: Articles | Posted on July 2nd, 2013 by Evelyn Dzekpedzi

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