Mould and Moisture

Overview

According to Health Canada, Canadians spend more than 90% of their time indoors ... This is why it can't be said that good indoor air qualityis a luxury.

Here is some information that may interest you about mould.

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A wall can hide plenty of surprises. There is always mould in the air. It is therefore normal to find the same types of mould in houses as those found outside, at comparable or lower concentrations. Yet, according to the provincial health watchdog, l’Institut national de Santé publique du Québec (INSPQ)1 a third of Canadian houses do not meet this criterion. In this group, a third of the houses are contaminated at levels ranging from weak to very high.

In order to grow, mould needs moisture.

That’s why, as much as possible, it is important to control the level of moisture in a house, to maintain humidity levels of around 30%2 during winter, and never above 55% in the summer. It's also important to ensure there is no water leakage, in which case, risk of contamination is much higher.

  1. INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA SANTÉ PUBLIQUE DU CANADA, «Rapport scientifique: Les risques à la santé associés à la présence de moisissures en milieu intérieur», Québec, Novembre 2002. p.12
  2. Ibid., p. 9

Did you know that mould can damage your health?

Learn more about the symptoms of prolonged exposure to fungal contaminants

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Answers to your questions

Over the years, our clients have asked us many questions about mould. Here is a list of frequently asked questions and our answers.

  • What does a mould need to live?

    Mould doesn't need a lot of nutrients to live. It needs humidity to develop. Maintaining its relative humidity at more than 50% and keeping materials moist for too long can promote mould growth. Mould generally thrives in temperatures around 25°C, but some thrive at much lower or much higher temperatures. Mould can grow well on cellulose-based materials (paper, cardboard, plasterboard, wood) because it feeds on organic matter inside these materials, but it is also able to grow on the surface of plastic, glass, concrete, and other materials if the environment is favorable (presence of dust on the surface). Mould does not discriminate. It can be found in the plants in your house, in your textiles, and in your food. Mould is present in all houses to varying degrees.

  • How does mould spread?

    Mold is spread by the spores it releases into the air (which are its means of reproduction). You can think of mold like tiny white dandelion which releases its seeds with parachutes. Like dandelion seeds, spores can move on air currents to spread through the air to find a place to grow.

    On the other hand, if there is mold on a wall in the basement, it will not necessarily extend all the way to the first floor. The air quality on the ground floor could be affected, but mold will not necessarily grow, especially if there is no moisture present.

  • What are mycotoxins?

    They are chemicals that are produced by moulds (microscopic fungi). Basically, moulds generate mycotoxins to defend their territory against other organisms in their environment. These toxins can cause symptoms in the occupants of spaces with mould contamination. A mould can generate different mycotoxins.

    For example, Aspergillus fumigatus generates more than 8 different toxins. This mould, like many others of the Aspergillus type, is also a mould that can lodge and develop in the lungs, causing a disease called aspergillosis.

  • How do you recognize mould?

    Molds have an impressive array of colors that varies depending on their species, stage of development, etc. They are not limited to brown or black as commonly thought, but can be white, beige, purple, blue, and even pink. They usually have a fibrous appearance and can even look like dust on a wall (small circles).

  • If there is visible mould, is the air in my home contaminated?

    No. Just because there is mould on a wall doesn't necessarily mean there is contamination in the air. If the materials are not moved, if the vacuum cleaner has not just been used, there may be no mould contamination in the air. This depends on the affected area. An air quality test can detect the presence of air contamination. In addition, our comprehensive service allows us to define the severity of the problem, and provide the necessary procedures to remedy the problem.

  • Did you know that a "basement" smell does not actually exist?

    If it is present, there is a visible or hidden problem creating it (source of infiltration, presence of mold, rotten wood, etc.). Likewise, moisture has no odor. What creates the "damp" smell are usually the bacteria, yeasts and molds found. They can give off odorous chemicals (microbial volatile organic compounds, C.O.V.M.). If there is an odor caused by the presence of organic growths, it is possible that the air quality is affected. An air quality inspection will help you see more clearly.

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If you have mold in your home, it can be dangerous to your health. This situation happens very often and sometimes without you realizing it right away. Know that it is not difficult to get rid of it, unless you deal with the problem quickly. If you need the services of an indoor air quality specialist, you can count on our know-how.

General Information

The main places and rooms in the house where mold is most likely to appear are :

  • Wet rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom or toilet;
  • The bedroom;
  • A cellar or crawl space.

Mold needs moisture to grow. It's a fact, mold is actually always generated by a significant amount of moisture. If you have them at home, it's a safe bet that you also have a concern for humidity.

The different causes of the presence of mold in a dwelling

To be able to eradicate mold, you must first focus on the moisture problem. The origins of the appearance of moisture are many and varied. The main ones are mold by capillary rise, by water infiltration as well as by condensation moisture.

What is hair lift?

Hair growth is a relatively common cause of mold, which is particularly noticeable in old homes. The capillary rise is actually moisture from the ground and that passes through the basement in the walls. This occurs especially when the walls are not properly sealed.

Mold due to water infiltration

Water infiltration is mainly the result of moisture problems in a house façade. This certainly leads to the presence of mold. As you probably know, the façade is subject to the vagaries of time. When it rains and the façade does not become completely dry again, the internal walls will soak up moisture. This therefore promotes humidity inside the building.

Old houses with dilapidated facades are the most affected by water infiltration. Rainwater is easily introduced through degraded joints or cracks in the façade. To avoid infiltration, the application of a protective layer on the façade is recommended.

Mold caused by condensation moisture

Finally, condensation humidity, another factor contributing to mold growth, results mainly from the fact that the hot air cools, but also from the air that is exhaled. This is the case, for example, when you cook. Hot steam is produced and it attaches to the windows and tiles of the room. It is the same when taking a bath or shower.

When this moist air is not released outside the home, it will condense and settle against the walls. It is then that they will moisten and you now know, a damp wall is a significant vector for the development of mold.

In any case, to protect you from the inconvenience caused by the spread of mold, we are at your disposal to help you improve your indoor comfort and the quality of your air. Having more than thirty years of experience, we offer you a complete expertise to detect the presence of the slightest moisture and mold in your home.