What do you do if you have mould problems?

Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you fix the problems and avoid risking your health.

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Assess the situation

It comes down to getting information from competent people. Please note that in Quebec and in Canada, there is no organization that governs the field of air quality. In this case, it is important to make sure you get information from the authorities or from competent people who have a specialization in the field (microbiologists, mycologists, chemists, hygienists, etc.). To ensure that they have training and accreditations on molds and on air quality, make sure that these people are part of a professional order or association.

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Protect your health

Protecting your family is essential . If you suspect a problem in your home, installing air purifiers or air extractors can be a way to ensure that the air in your home remains relatively healthy.

If the problem can be contained, seal the space (for example a wall or a space like a room) in order to limit the air exchanged with the rest of the living area. In this case, it might be important to check the degree of contamination in your home by having air analyses done — just because you can see what looks like a problem, doesn't mean the air is contaminated. And just because the problem doesn't look serious, doesn't mean there isn't air contamination . It is better to refer to experts who can offer you support and advice.

Remedy the situation

Usually, an air quality expert will recommend actions that require you to follow certain strict protocols to correct the situation.

This protocol proposes a scale to quantify the intensity of the work that will be carried out in your home. It is important not to do any reconstruction work until you have first verified that the source of the problem has been completely corrected. The protocols, if followed precisely, should help restore healthy living spaces. The different visible contaminations are divided into different degrees as follows:

  • Level I = Small circumscribed areas (1 m2 or less - 10 ft2)
  • Level II = Medium circumscribed areas (1 to 10 m2 - 10 to 100 ft2)
  • Level III = Important circumscribed areas (greater than 10 m2 - 100 ft2)



Quality control

Subsequently, if you have had "decontamination" work carried out, (because you have established, using air testing, that there was indeed a problem of fungal contamination or humidity in the home) you should preferably redo the analyses to "check" the work that has been done, and thus ensure that no traces of contamination remain . Some companies specializing in decontamination will even offer you a guarantee by having an external company do analyses at the end of the work to demonstrate that they have done the job well.

Watch out for improvisers!

Many companies will tell you they can do the decontamination job. However, many of them are not accredited,  or are unfamiliar with the field of mould and the risks associated with it. Always make sure that companies have special certifications like the Institute for Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration ( IICRC ) or other important associations. A company that guarantees its work, recommends the installation of HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting) filtration for the filtration of fine particles such as mould and debris, and favors the installation of confinement zones, should be given preference.

Indoor Mould growth is unacceptable according to recommendations published by Health Canada in 2007 which state:

1




Control humidity


Control humidity in buildings and promptly repair all water leakage in order to prevent growth of microbes.

2



Decontamination and cleaning


Thoroughly clean all mould growth
in residential buildings. These recommendations apply to all species
of fungi growing in buildings

What not to do?

Here are some things to avoid any time you have problems:

  • Never clean large areas of mould with bleach

    Bleach is as toxic, if not more so, than moulds. If you want to do this, use 1 part bleach in 9 parts water or use a product called TSP (trisodium phosphate) available at hardware stores to remove mould.

  • Do not demolish the walls or any other contaminated structure if you have not installed the appropriate protection beforehand

    In addition, if the contamination is significant, it is preferable to entrust the demolition and decontamination to an expert who is familiar with decontamination protocols and who will be able to preserve the integrity of the building without endangering its occupants.

  • Do not just spray the area with fungicides

    This will not fix the problem at its source, it will only temporarily reduce it. Also, if you are using the UV system, be aware that mould will probably die, however, even when it is dead, it has mycotoxins (fungal toxins) that can impact the health of occupants, so the problem will not be fully resolved.

    In this situation, if you have any symptoms associated with mould, they will not go away.

  • Do not paint over mould to remove it.

    This will only temporarily cover up the problem which will return since the cause will not have been eliminated.

    On the other hand, if you fix the problem at its source, and new materials have been installed, it may be advantageous to paint them with anti-mould paint, which will be a little more resistant than conventional paint.

  • Don't ignore the problem!

    If you decide to not fix the problem because you don't think it matters, think again!

    Mould is only one factor to consider. If mould is present, it means that your property is deteriorating. Over time, the situation will get progressively worse, leading to more and more health risks for those who live there.

    In addition, a problem that is not properly resolved could turn into a hidden defect that can come back to haunt you.

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In order to remedy mold problems in your home, you must first detect the source of the problem, in other words the origin of mold. Only then can you overcome the proliferation of these and find appropriate solutions.

Practical solutions and tips to combat mold in a home

To preserve your health while fighting mold that pollutes your indoor air, the few recommendations below will be of great help to you.

·      A well-ventilated interior

In the first place, you will be able to protect yourself from many problems if you equip your interior with a good ventilation device. For example, you can install an air vent on your windows or a fan in your bathroom.

To avoid spending too much energy, opt for a mechanical ventilation system. With this kind of device, combined with a heat recuperator, your indoor air will be of excellent quality. At the same time, you will save money on your bills.

·      Remedying capillary rise

As a general rule, to overcome the capillary rise, it is enough to inject a special chemical liquid into the façade. For this, holes are drilled under the façade. The liquid thus injected will cause a chemical reaction inside the façade. This will prevent the absorption of moisture at the level of it.

·      Stop water infiltration

If the mold present in your home is caused by water infiltration, it will be necessary to renovate the facade. To consolidate it, you can soak it with a water-repellent product that will prevent moisture from seeping into your home. Alternatively, you can add insulation or decorative coating.

In any case, as soon as mold is detected in your home, it is strongly recommended to take immediate measures, in order to avoid the development of these particles. These can greatly harm your health. Hence the importance of removing them.