Tips for Homeowners to Avoid the “Mould Guy”

Being a homeowner may be the largest investment that you will ever make and as such, it warrants your attention. It is crucial to become familiar with that investment, and learn what each area looks and even smells like. Each area may “behave” differently depending on the season, the size of your family, and the various uses that each area has. We’re sharing tips for homeowners to avoid the “mould guy” in different areas of your home!

Areas with water (Laundry, Washrooms, and Kitchens) are most likely to be areas where your observational skills are of greatest value. Look for changes in the environment: ceilings, walls, and flooring should not change. 

The following tips for homeowners should help you protect your investment:

Basements: Tips for Homeowners

Basements are complex systems that are often impacted by issues exterior to the basement itself. A basement with issues will often produce mal odours – those odours may be caused by water incursion from the exterior, water releases from areas above the basement, from basement washrooms, laundry rooms, and poor construction techniques. Some basements will produce mal odours that are mistakenly thought to be due to simple stagnation and lack of air exchange. Do not be fooled. A quick opening of windows should clear up any stagnation issues but often homeowners are not so lucky.

Inspect the exterior of the home for drainage issues, cracks in the foundation walls, poor drainage materials in window wells, and eaves troughs that release water too close to the foundation walls. If health impacts are being reported it may be time to contact a professional and consider conducting either some sampling or a fungal assessment of the basement. NOTE: air sampling does not provide the detail that a properly conducted fungal assessment should.

Windows: Tips for Homeowners

mould and mildew on window and wall People will often ask about the common teardrop shape (ice accumulations) they observe on windows during the winter months. This is quite common but is not normal and it is an issue that can develop into a much greater problem. A window replacement program may be a good idea although it may be cost prohibitive.

Here are some simple tips for homeowners that can help with those issues without breaking the bank:

Keep curtains and blinds completely open to facilitate air movement: leaving curtains drawn or blinds down may ascorbate the problem by blocking air movement. Remember air movement is your friend. Run ceiling fans if they exist or run an oscillating fan directed at the windows of concern. If you notice a melt make sure to wipe up that water, if neglected it may migrate into wall cavities resulting in fungal growth. When water makes its way into wall cavities, we begin to find fungal growth inside the walls making it more difficult and expensive to properly fix.

Washrooms: Tips for Homeowners

Always run washroom exhaust fans until the washroom is completely dry. Installation of a humidistat or a timer system can help but they must be used diligently. The fume hood over your stove is another fan that should run constantly when cooking: even though you may not see the water vapour it is likely there. Try the tissue paper test to see if there is sufficient air being pulled through various exhaust fans. Do not know what the tissue test is? Hold a piece of tissue paper up to the exhaust if it will not “hold” the tissue, you have a problem.

Attics: Tips for Homeowners

The Attic space is another area that you should familiarize yourself with. Water damage and staining are common but are NOT normal. Most people should not enter an attic space (they can be dangerous); however, simply opening the hatch can provide you with evidence that something is wrong. Staining and or fungal growth on the hatch itself or the attic box is a sign indicative of an improperly sealed attic hatch. Homeowners can install gasketing to prevent the movement of warm, moisture-laden air into the attic space. 

Other problems you may be able to see (without entering) are blocked soffits and poorly installed exhausts from washrooms and kitchens. When the soffit is blocked it restricts air movement out of the attic space. Plus, the insulation causing the blockage may be in contact with the underside of the exterior roof sheeting. This can lead to Ice Damning, serious water damage, and resultant fungal growth issues. Frost accumulations, staining, and discoloration are common but are not normal.

Remember the above, take note of these few tips and pay attention to your investment:

1. Know your home and the areas within it.
2. Air movement is your “friend.”
3. If you notice a change: act.

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