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Mouldy rooms could be death traps

Mould and mildew are a common sight in New Zealand homes. Somehow, we’ve come to accept speckled ceilings, discoloured walls and a powdery grey-green coating on clothes stored in wardrobes. It’s unsightly and unpleasant, but that’s not the worst of it.

The fungal spores produced by common mould species are linked to some serious illnesses. For instance, asthma is present at high rates in the New Zealand population, with this country recording the second highest prevalence in the entire world. Mould spores are a known trigger for many asthma cases.

The effects can stretch beyond wheezy breathing and reliance on inhalers. Asthma is a deadly condition that kills many thousands of people each year. In 2006, over 130 New Zealanders died from asthma attacks.

Yet asthma is just one of the health risks you face in a mouldy home without adequate house ventilation.
When the quality of indoor air is low and mould is present, people often report a cluster of nasty symptoms. One theory is that these are triggered by the mycotoxins produced by mould. Toxins generated by common mould species such as Stachybotrys can cause fatigue, headaches, joint pains, weakness, abdominal pain, urinary frequency, and a weakened immune system.

Sick home syndrome

These conditions can be particularly insidious because the cause may be hidden. Your home may be free of surface mildew but could be harbouring toxic mould under the wallpaper or on building timbers. Whether mould is visible or not, a house that’s perpetually damp creates conditions for mould to flourish all year round.
If you’re relying on extractor fans to ventilate your home, you may find that mould keeps recurring. With bathroom fans you can only shift a small part of the four litres of moisture that the average person generates each day. High indoor humidity needs more than a few extractor fans if you want to avoid regular sessions with chemically based mould sprays.

Banish mould with reliable home ventilation

By contrast, a modern house ventilation kit, such as Harrisons’ i-vent system, will dry out the indoor atmosphere and deprive spores of the moisture they need to survive. The best results come when household humidity is kept below 50% at all times. As a bonus, your house will become easier to heat.

Mould is a welcome sight on blue vein cheese, for those who enjoy the taste. Everywhere else in the home it should be eliminated for good.