Mould is frequently found in apartments with moisture issues. It is potentially a health hazard and can cause serious illness to some people, especially those with weak immune system.
There are over 100, 000 different types of mould in the world but experts believe that there are more yet to be discovered. Mould refers to the type of fungi whose body structure is mainly composed of thin walled thread-like filaments. It uses the filaments to absorb nutrients from organic matter. Mushrooms and yeasts also belong to the group fungi. Some of the common moulds in apartments include Cladosporium, Alternaria, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.
About 20% of the human population is sensitive to mould and may experience mild allergic reaction to severe symptoms, such as difficult breathing or other complications with their lungs. Once it has grown in an apartment, it produces and releases spores in the air. These spores travel very easily through the air. In summer tens of thousands of spores infiltrate into the apartments from the outdoors. These spores settle in dust and quickly germinate and grow into mould when moisture become available.
Spores will not germinate unless there is moisture available. Therefore, its growth is an indication of moisture issues in the apartment. In addition to moisture mould requires the following to grow:
- Nutrients: Nutrients are readily available since mould is able to utilize wood, fabric, wallpaper, drywall and other organic material present in apartments.
- Air: Like other living organisms, mould requires oxygen to grow.
- Warmth: Mould can grow under a wide range of temperature. However, for most common indoor mould the optimal temperature for growth is around 25 oC. At very low temperature mould growth is very slow.
Mould is highly versatile and can grow in a variety of areas and feed on just about anything organic. Since it thrives in moist conditions, removing the source of moisture is the primary way to control mould growth. Moisture that originate from activities such as cooking and showering can be reduced by using a dehumidifier. Use of bleach is generally not recommended. Poor ventilation encourages mould growth since it results in moisture accumulation.
Keeping your apartment dry and ventilated is the best way to control mould growth. In bathrooms and kitchens, use exhaust fans or open windows to reduce the accumulation of humidity. Mould is an irritant to some people but in many cases, it’s just unsightly.