Mold in the apartment is not only visually an absolute “no go”. Because of its high health hazard, once it has developed, it is best to remove it immediately using the appropriate means. Preferably permanently, of course.
What can cause mold in apartments and houses?
Failure to adequately ventilate living spaces over an extended period of time is certainly a factor that leads to mold growth. Especially in the cold season, when you like to keep the windows closed (it is just so nice and cozy warm), the danger is particularly high.
But moisture can also penetrate into rooms through cracks in the roof or facade and cause mold growth. It is not uncommon for mold to also be caused by old rough breaks that were merely concealed instead of professionally removed.
What are the dangers of mold growth?
A health hazard from mold in the home is now medically proven. However, how much depends on the sensitivity of the occupants. Also, not all of the approximately 100 species of mold are harmful to health. Extreme caution is required with those that form mold toxins(mycotoxins). Special laboratory tests are required to determine the hazard.
Dangers for the building fabric
The destruction of building fabric by mold can be divided into three categories:
- Category 1: Physical destruction due to thermal, static and hygric effects
- Category 2: Chemical destruction due to pollutant loads, binder reactions or salt damage.
- Category 3: Biological destruction due to biogenic influences
All destruction processes are directly or indirectly based on an excessively high moisture value. Moisture in the masonry negatively affects the wall temperature as well as the moisture content and the room temperature. Thus, in the case of mold infestation, the most important factors for a comfortable and healthy indoor climate are negatively affected.
Dangers for the residents
Damage to internal organs, skin and mucous membrane reactions, and severe respiratory illnesses can be triggered by mold infestation. Headaches and even migraine attacks are also possible. Often the path of the disease begins unnoticed with insomnia, concentration problems, listlessness and similar symptoms.
How to avoid mold?
Inside the rooms must always be well ventilated. It is best to properly cross-ventilate 3 times a day for 3 to 5 minutes. After an energetic renovation with corresponding complete windows, a ventilation concept should be created together with the architect. If the humidity rises above 65%, ventilation is generally required. Very helpful in this regard is the constant measurement of humidity with a hygrometer.
If the bathroom does not have a window, turn on the ventilation more often so that the high humidity can be removed. If no one is home, the bathroom door can be left open. Thus, the humidity is distributed a little. It also can’t hurt to inspect the rooms 2 to 3 times a year for initial signs of mold. This will at least prevent the progression of any infestation. Drying laundry indoors is also an absolute “no go”.
How to get rid of mold?
If ceilings and walls are affected by mold, it is advisable to hire professionals to investigate. It may be necessary to expose the cavities behind the casings. Cavities behind ceilings and walls also often need to be uncovered. In many cases, this is the only way to reach and eliminate the source of mold. Before the cavities can be resealed, complete drainage (possibly with a room air dryer) and removal of the mold with special agents is required. Actively infested wood is almost impossible to rehabilitate and must be disposed of in most cases. Initial and superficial mold growth can be removed with ethanol (methylated spirits).
Always wear a mouthguard and protective gloves. The Federal Environment Agency advises against the use of solutions containing fungicides (fungicides). It is not yet known how long these active substances remain indoors and possibly cause additional damage to health.