• Chris Reynolds

Black Mould Problem

Black mould growth in property is an unpleasant occurrence. It can range from a small issue on bathroom sealant through to entire walls and ceilings fully covered in it. It can be a particular challenge for Landlords of tenanted properties.

In the main, black mould is a consequence of poor indoor air quality resulting in condensation forming on surfaces such as cold walls, windows, wardrobes and cupboards and other areas that are poorly ventilated, cold and possibly with furniture up against it such as a headboard.

It can also be a combined problem of structural damp coming through a wall which is also a cold wall suffering from high internal humidity levels.

Without getting too 'technical', condensation will form when internal humidity gets to saturation point, (100% RH), combined with internal temperature falling to a low point which is called 'Dew Point' temperature. This most commonly occurs in the winter months when we all tend to close windows meaning the air quality will become stale, (more humid), and during the course of the night and early morning, the heating will not be on and the temperature become too cold.

A cold wall, typically a north facing external wall, will be colder than internal air temperature meaning it will form condensation. What is known, if we allow internal humidity to get over 70% on a regular basis, this will provide the environment for mould spores to thrive and form into nasty black mould patches.

Yes, improving window frames and insulation values is always a good thing but this is when we are trying to achieve better energy efficiency. If we do not improve the ventilation along with these measures, we will create poor air quality environments.

In respect of tenanted property, the new Homes (Fitness for human habitation) Act 2018 has raised the bar for action against Landlords for not acting on these issues which includes how a property is ventilated.

The problem we are all faced with is how our seasons and weather patterns change every year. We can literally have a dry winter, a cold winter, a mild winter or a wet winter. Dry and mild will reduce the number of issues around black mould but cold and wet can see an explosion. So, its possible to feel like you have a property that works absolutely fine and all of a sudden, throw up a random issue. This can be down to a set of unique circumstances, a change in occupancy usage, a change in the property.

As our housing arrangement change and we become a society that rents more then black mould issues are set to become a bigger challenge brought about by unpredictable weather patterns.

For advice and solutions or to arrange a survey, contact us today.

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