A Guide to Improving Indoor Air by Addressing Mould

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The UAE’s unprecedented rainstorm has raised serious concerns about indoor air quality, particularly due to mould growth following the recent flooding. Mould, which can be either visible or unnoticed, significantly contributes to indoor air pollution. Microbial pollution comprises hundreds of species of bacteria and fungi that thrive indoors, emitting spores, cells, and fragments that we breathe in. Mould growth thrives on and is exacerbated by excess moisture and dampness in indoor spaces. Exposure to these fungal allergens, toxins, and irritants, is linked to adverse health effects, including respiratory symptoms, allergies, and asthma. Addressing mould growth helps us protect our health and wellbeing by improving indoor air.

What to Look Out for in Your Living and Working Spaces

  • Spot the growth of ‘visible’ mould: Looking for discoloration or patches on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.
  • Notice any smells – musty: Mould often emits a distinctive musty odor.
  • Pay attention to any mould mites or mould beetles crawling on surfaces: These small insects are indicators of mould presence.
  • Note any respiratory symptoms or changes in overall health and wellness: Symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath can be signs of mould exposure.
  • Check for water damage: Persistent dampness or water stains can indicate mould growth.
  • Inspect hidden areas: AC ducts, areas behind furniture, inside closets, and under carpets are prime spots for hidden mould.

How to Address the Growth of Mould Indoors

  • Don’t touch – bring in a mould expert: Professionals can inspect, isolate, tackle visible mould growth safely.
  • Identify the source: Testing the environment relative to the mould index helps explain indoor performance.
  • Dehumidify: Using dehumidifiers can reduce indoor humidity and keep moisture in check.
  • Add purifiers to collect pathogens: HEPA filters are effective in capturing airborne mould spores. However, filters need to be handled with care as they carry, and could potentially disperse, biological and chemical agents.
  • Increase ventilation and dry spaces: Airing out indoor spaces and drying up moisture inhibits mould growth, especially after leaks and flooding.

Preventive Tips and Tricks to Curb Mould Growth Indoors

  • Heighten ventilation: Increasing the air exchange rate for more circulation by cross-ventilating is crucial to curb mould growth. Note – In the event of high outdoor humidity, avoid opening windows to ventilate, and opt for adding fans where needed.
  • Tend to excess moisture and dampness: Keeping indoor environments dry is key.
  • Clean and disinfect regularly: Routine cleaning can prevent mould from taking hold.
  • Maintain your AC units: Regular maintenance of  HVAC systems and AC units can prevent mould growth within ducts and coils.
  • Repair leaks promptly: Fixing any leaks in roofs, windows, and pipes prevents moisture buildup.
  • Insulate properly: Proper insulation can reduce condensation on cold surfaces.
  • Monitor indoor temperature and humidity levels: Keeping indoor temperatures between 21°C and 25°C and humidity levels between 40% to 60% can deter mould growth.

Regular maintenance, good ventilation, and professional mould assessment are important strategies in preventing and managing mould growth.

Visit www.takeabreath.ae to start taking action on improving indoor air in your homes, offices and beyond.

Contact us at ask@goumbook.com if you have any questions.

Environmental Protection Agency
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Lung Association on Indoor Air Quality
World Health Organisation