Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Guide to Mold

Mold is a green interior design issue

Mold is a problem that affects the indoor air quality of a home and so mold falls within the remit of green interior design. There is a lot that can be done in terms of the design of an interior as well as the maintenance of an interior to stop mold forming. This post is a guide on how to stop mold forming in your home and how to deal with mold once it has formed in an environmentally friendly way.

Health problems caused by mold

Mold is caused by spores in the air. It is impossible to eradicate spores from the air. Mold needs moisture and oxygen to form. Once mold is growing on a natural material such as paper, wood, insulation or carpet it poses a health risk to inhabitants. It can trigger attacks of allergic rhinitis; it can cause respiratory problems; and it can cause asthma attacks.

Dealing with the root cause of mold

The main cause of mold is a leaky water source. Either a pipe is burst or leaking or a wall is letting in the damp. Before you can effectively deal with mold you have to deal with the water problem in a home.

The green way to clean mold

To get rid of mold you have to clean it with water and a detergent. Normal detergents contain chemicals that pollute. Choose an earth friendly detergent or alternatively use vinegar or bamboo vinegar. Both these liquids are acidic and are capable of killing mold.

If mold is growing on a hard surface such as flooring it is possible to clean it off. If the mold is growing on an absorbent surface such as a curtain, ceiling tile or wall paper it is necessary to replace the mold affected material as the mold will grow back no matter how many times you wash it off.

Precautions to stop mold forming in the home

To prevent mold forming in a home you should take the following precautions:

1) Make sure the home is properly ventilated. Either open the windows regularly or use the fan on your programmable thermostat to move the air around the house.

2) Use extractor fans in places where lots of moisture is generated in a home. These areas are normally the kitchen and bathroom.

3) Keep an eye on humidity levels in the home. Ideally the humidity should be between 30% and 60%. To reduce humidity levels you can give a room a blast of cold air from an air-con unit. You can also place bamboo charcoal around the home to absorb excess humidity from the air. If you live in an area with a hot and humid summer than it is recommended that you install a programmable thermostat that can deal with de-humidification. Two good models for this are the Honeywell RTH8321 VisionPro 8000 that uses the air-con unit to control humidity and the Honeywell Prestige HD that can control a separate de-humidifier unit.

4) Bamboo is naturally anti-fungal and so is highly resistant to mold forming. Using bamboo blinds instead of curtains and bamboo flooring instead of carpet are both good precautions for preventing mold forming in the home.

If you follow these guidelines you shouldn’t have a problem with mold. Whatever you do don’t let mold spread through your house. It will affect your health and severely reduce the worth of your home.