Dealing with Mould in Your Home

Black Mould on a Wall
Black mould growing on a wall

We spend a lot of time in our homes, and the state of our homes can have a direct impact on our health. That is why the “mould issue” should never be overlooked. Nobody wants to buy a home and then find out it has a mould issue. It can be time consuming and costly to fix, not to mention negative on your health. That’s why ever responsible Realtor should always represent their client’s best interest and ensure that the home they’re interested in is tested by a certified professional, for mould and air quality before signing the final papers.

Almost all homes, especially the older ones have a certain degree of mould inside. Basements are notorious for mould. Over the years the insulation weakens and allows for moisture to get in, creating the perfect environment for mould growth. Other times pluming leaks, heavy rain, melting of snow in spring, wet location, poor air circulation and moisture flow are the causes of this dangerous health hazard.

What is mould?

  • Mould is any fungus that grows on food or damp materials.
  • It can be black, white or almost any colour.
  • It often looks like a stain or smudge and it may smell musty.
  • It needs moisture and a material it can live on.

Effects of mould

As the mould grows it releases tiny little “spores” into the air. As we breath them in they can negatively impact our health. Some of the effects are:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Coughing and phlegm build-up
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Symptoms of asthma
  • Allergic reactions

Detecting mould

  • Most common places for mould to grow indoors are on window sills, fabrics, carpets, and walls in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas.
  • Look for stains or discolourations on floors, walls, window panes, fabrics, carpets and other indoor surfaces.
  • Also use your nose to identify if there is a musty, “earthy” odour.

Getting rid of mould

  • Clean the mouldy surface with water and dish detergent. There’s no need to use bleach.
  • Fix the underlying cause, whether due to water damage or excessive humidity.
  • When removing mould, you should wear proper protective equipment, including rubber gloves, eye protection and a dust mask.
  • You might consider hiring a professional if there is a large amount of mould or if the mould keeps coming back after you clean it. A large amount of mould is often also the result of a larger problem, such as a leak in the foundation or a major flood, which may require professional help to fix.

Home buyers! Rememebr to always hire a certified and licensed mould inspector to test for indoor air quality and mould before you sign the final papers. You can’t afford to gamble with your family’s health. For more information on mould, how to clean it and prevent it, visit Health Canada website.