Mould in Residential Homes: The Hidden Danger and What You Can Do About It
With an alarming number of homes suffering from mould and damp, it's crucial to understand the risks they pose and how homeowners and tenants can take proactive measures. In this article, we'll explore the widespread problem of mould in homes, its dire consequences, and how DIY mould test kits can empower residents to take control of their living spaces.
Mould's Hidden Costs to the NHS
A shocking revelation by BRE research shows that mould-related diseases cost the NHS a staggering £1.4bn. This figure underscores the pervasive nature of the problem and its substantial impact on public health.
Factors Contributing to Mould Growth
Every building, irrespective of its age or type, is susceptible to mould. However, with proper management, the risk can be dramatically reduced. Here are some influencing factors:
1. Overcrowding: According to the UK government's English housing survey for 2021-2022, approximately 8% of social and 5% of private tenancies are overcrowded. Overcrowding can result in increased moisture production. To put it in perspective, a family of four can produce up to 14 litres of moisture daily.
2.Heating and Fuel Poverty: Maintaining an ideal temperature is key to controlling mould. Sadly, rising energy prices have made it increasingly challenging for many UK residents to heat their homes adequately.
3. Working from Home: The post-COVID-19 world has seen a significant rise in people working from home, leading to increased occupancy during working hours, thereby raising the potential for moisture and mould exposure.
Government Initiatives and ResponsesRecent events, including the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, have shed light on the need for stricter regulations and awareness about mould and damp in homes. Efforts such as Awaab's law and government guidelines on damp and mould showcase the need for better standards.
Moreover, with 3.4 million homes failing the Decent Homes Standard in 2021-2022, there's an urgent need for widespread reforms, especially when it comes to mould and damp assessment and treatment.
The Need for Accurate AssessmentIt's evident that for effective mould remediation, the right assessment methods are crucial. While electronic moisture meter-led inspections can provide a snapshot, a comprehensive approach through building pathology is essential. Advanced techniques, such as calcium carbide tests and endoscopy, offer a more in-depth understanding of the mould problem. Needless to say, proving there is a mould problem in the first place is easy with classic microbiology - using petri plate cultures. These test what's in the airspace or on suspect surfaces. This information is often enough to validate your claims about mould and damp exposure. in other cases, destructive testing into walls, floors or ceiling linings may be needed and more advanced testing such as spore trap and viable air testing can be considered.
The Way Forward
The role of residents cannot be underestimated in the fight against mould. While certain behaviours can exacerbate mould growth, it's essential for landlords to understand the science behind mould and damp, taking into account the various external factors that may affect a resident's ability to manage them.
As the housing industry braces itself for tighter standards and regulations on mould and damp, individuals can take proactive steps to safeguard their homes.
Take Control with DIY Mould Test Kits
Don't leave your health and the well-being of your loved ones to chance. With mould.net.au's DIY test kits, you can easily check for mould presence in your homes. Our kits are not only cost-effective but also come with a lab report from an accredited lab, ensuring accuracy and peace of mind.
Get your DIY mould test kit today from mould.net.au (http://www.mould.net.au) and take a significant step towards a healthier living environment!
Cook, S. (2023) Comprehensive approach needed on damp and mould, RICS. Available at: https://ww3.rics.org/uk/en/journals/built-environment-journal/damp-mould-comprehensive-approach.html (Accessed: 11 September 2023).
DAMP and mould: Useful tools (2023) Housing Ombudsman. Available at: https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/useful-tools/damp-and-mould/ (Accessed: 11 September 2023).
English housing survey 2021 to 2022: Headline report (no date) GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2021-to-2022-headline-report/english-housing-survey-2021-to-2022-headline-report (Accessed: 11 September 2023).
Department for Business, E.& I.S. (2022) Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report: 2022, GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/annual-fuel-poverty-statistics-report-2022 (Accessed: 11 September 2023).
Department for Levelling Up, H. and C. (2023) Government to deliver AWAAB’s law, GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-deliver-awaabs-law (Accessed: 11 September 2023).
Department for Levelling Up, H. and C. (2021) Decent homes standard: Review, GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/decent-homes-standard-review (Accessed: 11 September 2023).