Mold – a natural part of our environment
“Mold is a natural part of our environment to which humans have adapted and become accustomed over time,” explains Andreas Kraus, a building surveyor at DEKRA. A single moldy tile joint in the bathroom certainly looks bad, but it does not present a serious health risk. It’s a different story when mold in the home has spread so much that it causes a physical reaction in the body.
“It often affects people who have weakened immune systems. As a result, mold infestations in homes are unhygienic and must always be prevented,” says Kraus. If the spores spread throughout rooms, it can lead to health problems like allergies or chronic respiratory conditions for those living there.
Permanently high humidity in the home
“One of the main problems that often causes mold spores is permanently high humidity that is not allowed to escape,” explains the expert. He points to showering, cooking, washing, tumble drying and exhalation as the major sources of this. But water can also evaporate through houseplants or an aquarium.
“There are two decisive factors for preventing excessive humidity in homes,” says Kraus. “On the one hand, we have to prevent excessive humidity arising in the first place. But it is also important to ensure sufficient heating and allow humidity to escape by opening the window and airing out the home briefly a few times a day.” He gives the following tips for effective mold prevention:
Air out your home. The best way to protect your home against mold is simple: open the window. Air out all the rooms in your home for a few minutes several times a day by opening the doors or windows to get the air circulating as much as possible.
Turn the heating on. During the cold months, make sure your home is sufficiently heated so that the surrounding structural elements do not cool down. This also prevents water vapor in the air from condensing.
Don’t leave windows tilted. Don’t try to ventilate rooms by leaving the windows tilted for hours on end. Not only does this prevent a sufficient exchange of air, it also causes the surrounding walls to cool down. This leads to condensation, creating the ideal conditions for mold.
Ventilate your bathroom properly. After showering, many people often make the mistake of leaving the bathroom door open and allowing humid air to flow into the home. Instead, ventilate your bathroom using an extraction fan or by opening the window. If using a window, make sure it is wide open and not just tilted. For this reason, don’t block the windowsills in the bathroom.
Unheated rooms. Humid air from the kitchen or bathroom can spread throughout the home and condense on the cool walls, creating the ideal conditions for mold to grow. Keep doors to unheated rooms like the bedroom closed.
Don’t get steamed up in the kitchen. Get rid of the steam created while cooking immediately via an extractor hood or by opening the window, before it spreads throughout the home.