Health risk mold infestation: What to do in case of mold?
The cause of a fungal infestation in the interior (so-called. intramural stress) is almost always to be found in increased humidity. Responsible for this are primarily building damages such as cold bridges, rising dampness due to missing barrier layers or wrongly executed thermal insulations. But inadequate ventilation also means that the moisture generated daily by body evaporation, washing and cooking is not sufficiently dissipated. The consequence is infestation with molds.
Tips for mold infestation – article overview:
Mold infestation often manifests itself as an allergic reaction of the body such as
Rhinitis (runny nose), Conjunctivitis (reddened eye mucous membranes) or respiratory complaints. If such symptoms persist and do not subside, fungal contamination is suspected and should be investigated.
Fungi are often accompanied by very unpleasant odors. Infestation of hidden places, which can lie deep in the building mass, is often the cause of seemingly inexplicable smells in the house. However, these sites are often not easy to find, which is why special measurement methods are used to localize the source of the infestation.
Locating mold: methods for detecting mold infestation
Mold in the home is a common nuisance with sometimes serious consequences for health. As soon as there is a suspicion of mold infestation, it is important to quickly find the causes and to remove the mold professionally and permanently.
Measurement for assessment is possible by means of various methods. Spore concentration measurements take place over the room air with special devices. The spores are deposited on nutrient media. Then cultivated in the laboratory. The statement about the kind of the fungi often allows conclusions about cause and kind of the infestation. Spore concentrations vary greatly on an annual average and are u.a. depending on the weather, wind direction and other influencing factors. It is therefore important to always carry out a comparative measurement on the outside air when measuring spore concentrations.
A new method is the determination of typical fungal metabolic products (MVOCs). These can be detected in the room air. Determine with highly sensitive special chemical analysis methods. Material examinations and contact samples provide supplementary information for damage assessment. The so-called MVOC determination (determination of volatile organic substances of mycotic origin) provides in some cases statements that cannot be made with conventional spore concentration measurements. This is especially true in the case of hidden infestation (e.g. infestation with mold).B. in cavities of the building substance) to.
The search for the causal damp spots and delimitation of the growth locations is carried out in addition with temperature and building moisture measurements. These methods also determine parameters of building physics. This can then also be used to determine possible causes of infestation. Biomess uses all the methods briefly described above with equal priority; suitability selection is made after prior inspection.
How mold can develop in the home?
There are numerous causes of mold, but all are related to moisture. Because mold spores need a moist environment in order to spread. Correspondingly frequent are therefore bathroom. Sanitary rooms affected by mold growth. But also other rooms come into question, if for example incorrect ventilation or but building defects or. renovation errors are the causes of the mold. Of course, a burst water pipe or insufficient drying time after the end of construction work can also lead to mold.
Neuralgic points are beside the mentioned damp areas above all areas around windows (faulty seals) and heatings as well as all terminations of extensions and construction-elements with the front.
However, excessive indoor humidity is most often due to improper ventilation and heating, followed by inadequate insulation of the house or apartment complex.
What to do against mold infestation?
When mold is visible, it is actually already too late. One should already act, if one discovers damp places. But if it does happen and the mold source has been located, there are several possible approaches.
1. Clarify the cause of mold. If the cause is not known, mold removal can become a Sisyphean task, because if the cause of the infestation is not remediated, the mold will always return.
2. Treat only small areas of mold by yourself. In the case of severe mold infestation and larger areas (half a square meter or more), only a specialist company should be involved. Only experts can ensure that the spores are not distributed throughout the apartment and also that the harmful metabolic products of the mold are completely removed.
3. Pay particular attention to the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom (human exhalations during the night), because a lot of moisture is produced there. A lot of trouble can be prevented if there is regular and complete airing out. Thus no humidity can settle at cold surfaces. Prevent mold growth.
How to remove mold?
First and foremost, remember that mold removers only ever eliminate the superficial problem and not the underlying cause.
And once again, it should be noted that mold should be treated by yourself only up to a maximum size of 50 x 50 cm, any area larger than this should be treated by a specialized company.
There is a good reason for this: on the one hand, mold removal is not harmless to health due to the mold spores, and on the other hand, some mold killers are also a health hazard themselves. For example, agents with the ingredient sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) not only combat the harmful spores, but also pollute the respiratory tract. An alternative would be the removal with alcohol (methylated spirits resp. Ethanol with 70 to 80% by volume).
Basically there are The following means, which can be used to combat mold: Vinegar, high-proof alcohol (ethanol) and Methylated spirits – they are considered as home remedies in the fight against mold – and even chlorine-containing agents. While vinegar is only suitable for small areas and light infestation, the latter means are also suitable for more intensive infestation.
So the question arises: mold spray or alcohol? What remedy helps best against mold?
Here our Tips on how to successfully eliminate mold:
1. Treat the affected area in no case dry, otherwise mold spores would get into the air.
2. It is not always necessary to shoot at a sparrow with a cannon. Superficial mold on tile joints and silicone seals can often be easily removed with a sponge and a normal cleaning agent clean away, but be sure to use rubber gloves when doing so.
3. Fixed mold on the plaster in living spaces (living room, bedroom, children's room or kitchen) should be treated with odorless and chlorine-free mold remover are processed. In the bathroom, chlorine-based cleaners can also be used, as they also have a disinfecting effect. However, it must be remembered that chlorine vapors pose a health risk, which is why the application should only be carried out with the window open and wearing gloves. In the case of stubborn mold, a simple respirator mask from the hardware store is also recommended.
Attention: Chlorine-containing mold removers also have a bleaching effect, so be sure to try them out on a small invisible spot first.
For dry surfaces, the
Stiftung Warentest basically mold remover made of 70-percent ethyl alcohol (ethanol). Here, however, the fire must be absolutely-. Explosion hazard must be taken into account. Therefore, because of the acute fire hazard during the mold removal with alcohol under no circumstances smoke and do not handle open fire (candle)! Open windows wide. Close the doors to other rooms. – Apply the alcohol with a rag or by spray bottle. Leave the alcohol to act for some time. Then rub the surfaces with kitchen roll paper. – Alcohol evaporates very quickly, so it is advisable to treat the affected area several times in succession. – All utensils used such as rags, sponge resp. Dispose of kitchen paper in a sealed bag in household trash immediately after use to prevent mold spores from spreading throughout the home. – If wallpaper is infested, the wallpaper must first be completely removed and disposed of, and only then can the masonry be worked on. – Since mold spores are stirred up even by slight contact, suitable protective clothing is essential. In any case, use gloves, a respiratory mask and protective goggles. Wash your clothes. Your body after work thoroughly.
Keep in mind that for large-scale mold infestations, home remedies without chlorine may reach their limits.
Mold removal with chlorine
Chlorine is a highly efficient agent, which usually also kills the invisible mycelium (thread-like cell network of a fungus), can be thwarted to a certain extent also a renewed growth. If chlorine must be used to combat mold, however, this should be necessarily from a professional The chemical substance's potential danger is enormous.
It is therefore essential to observe the following safety instructions:
Chlorine dams have an irritating effect if they get into the throat of a person. The consequence: coughing. Scratchy throat. In addition, the vapors from chlorine-containing mold removers also attack the mucous membranes, which can lead to burning eyes and itching in the nose during application. Mouth, nose and eye protection are therefore indispensable.
The combination of chlorine and acidic substances even poses a serious risk because chlorine gas is produced when they are mixed and can burn the pulmonary alveoli when inhaled.
Mold in the apartment
The landlord must be informed and requested in writing to determine the cause and repair the damage. If the landlord does not react, you can prepare an expert opinion yourself that the landlord will have to pay for later if there is a building defect. The rental associations offer such an expert opinion. Addresses are also available from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
– Invest in a hygrometer (moisture meter) if you have already had problems with mold. This can be used to determine the relative humidity in a room. It should be 55 to a maximum of 60% in the long term at a temperature of 21 °C, and even lower in winter. – Regulate the humidity of the air through proper ventilation and heating. Instead of keeping windows tilted for long periods of time, it is recommended to ventilate them two to four times a day – for about five to ten minutes. A particularly effective air exchange is achieved by cross-ventilation of the rooms. This involves opening the windows in opposite rooms at the same time as well as the room doors. Here's how to create a draft that optimally expels the humidity in your home. – In the kitchen should be installed a powerful extractor hood to remove moisture from the room air. In poorly ventilated rooms. In the cellar a dehumidifier can be useful. – Even rooms that are little used or not used at all should not be allowed to cool down too much. The recommendation is that the indoor temperature should not fall below 16 degrees, otherwise – at least in unrenovated houses – the walls would cool down too much, so that condensation and subsequently mold could form.