Condensation and Black Mould

Black mould is a fungus called stachybotrys chartarum and is particularly well known due to its common appearance in homes, which are suffering from condensation problems.

Black mould is often confused with other moulds which look similar in appearance and which are less toxic to human health. The only 100% confident way to properly identify whether the mould is stachybotrys is by observing this under a microscope. As such, due to this complex identification process, if signs of Black Mould are found, this should be assumed to be the toxic stachybotrys and eradicated as soon as possible.

Where is this found?

Black mould, like any other form of mould, forms at areas which are cooler than the surrounding air, particularly around cold bridges/ and or gaps in insulation. Typically, Black mould is often seen first on window frames, and can be seen almost anywhere in the home. This may be found behind furniture, where there is stagnant, cold air to under windows, behind doors and in the corners of rooms, particularly 1st floor bedrooms.

The mould can afflict any type and age of property, the likelihood of which has been exacerbated in the last few decades, due to the obsession with providing an airtight, fully insulated home, creating the ideal conditions necessary for Black mould to propagate and grow.

The 3 linked causes being moisture generation/ differences in temperature (cold spots) and lack of ventilation.

Houses which are heated intermittently, also exacerbates condensation, causing water to be heated and then cooled rapidly within the home, resulting in surface condensation to walls and windows.

Health problems

Stachybotrys has a deservedly bad reputation due to its damaging effects on human health, by releasing toxic mycotoxins.

Black mould can cause a number of problems, and is particularly worse in the very young or elderly, and can exacerbate existing respiratory problems, such as asthma and make exposed individuals feel particularly tired and suffer from nausea.

Persistent high levels of exposure to the spores released by stachybotrys can lead to more severe and permanent ailments, damage to internal organs, mental impairment and even death.

Dealing with Black mould

If possible it is preferable that you consult with a professional if it is thought you have an outbreak of black mould. The specialist will be able to advise and carry out the appropriate measures as necessary.

A mistake when dealing with black mould is to attempt to scrub the mould off from affected walls, as this causes the mould spores to be released into the air, which may subsequently breathed in. Therefore, if possible this should be sprayed with fungicidal treatment and/or a sterilising solution and then subsequently painted with a mould resistant paint.

Also, be sure to wear protective RPE equipment when dealing with Black mould, which may take the form of plastic gloves and a face mask.

In addition to dealing with the symptoms and signs of black mould, the cause of the outbreak should be addressed. This may be to repair a water leak, drying clothes outside, to improving insulation, installing an extract fan etc. Failure to deal with the underlying causes of the Black mould will inevitably result in its re-emergence, regardless of the fungicide or anti mould paint used.