As you’ll know if you’ve been here before, my family and I live in a cottage in a very rural location. The house is over 100 years old and although we love it, we do struggle with black mould on the walls every winter. It’s a constant battle once the temperature goes down, and with rising energy prices, we certainly won’t be keeping the heating on low all day to combat the mould this year. Having said that, there are things that you can do to reduce the mould growth, and keep your family safe this winter. Here are five of them:
Dehumidifiers drastically reduce humidity levels, making your home less hospitable to mould, mildew and dust mites. The first time someone runs a dehumidifier in their home, they may be surprised to see just how much water it collects from the air. Some can gather up to 20 litres in just a few hours! This is typical of the first use, but if used regularly, moisture levels in the air will drop. A dehumidifier for the home is usually energy efficient and cheap to run so shouldn’t impact your bills too significantly.
It may be tempting to put your clothes on a clothes horse or radiator to dry them indoors, but without ventilation, the moisture will evaporate from the clothes and settle on the ceiling and walls, contributing to your mould problem. Consider investing in a tumble dryer instead, and if that’s not possible, open plenty of windows when airing your clothes. Lots of people are also turning to heated airers which usually come with a cover and therefore do a better job of containing the moisture.
It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mould in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mould by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture to the outside with extractor fans. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.
A mould problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak. Something as simple as clearing away gathered rotting leaves could make a huge difference to the amount of mould that grows in your home.
Wet areas of your home should not be left moist for too long, so make sure you dry the walls of the shower after use and ensure you hang wet clothes from the washing machine as soon as possible. If there’s been a spill on the carpet or a leak due to heavy rainfall, it’s best to get them cleaned up quickly as mould can grow and spread very quickly.
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