How to prevent mould in Condominiums
1- Flooding. Any water damage not taken prompt action will result in mould growth.
It’s common to get flooded in condominiums and while is not often from inside your unit, most times comes from apartments above and out of your control. Washrooms, laundry and kitchens are usually the most affected due to plumbing pipe runs that go through all floors. Regardless of the source of water damage, avoid any potential mold growth by always cutting the damaged area, inspect the cavity and dry the area within 3 days to avoid any mould growth. Any damages from above to your property like flooring, furniture, cabinets are your responsibility and not covered by the condominium corporation. Make sure you have insurance to cover those situations. Going away? Make sure you shut the water off. Check your washing machine hoses, make sure they are steel braided hoses; often the rubber ones fail and burst over time. Fix all plumbing fixtures as soon as they start leaking. Check under kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets for plumbing leaks. Mould will only growth if the organic material is wet for over 3 days. Dehumidifiers and air movers are a great help on first 3 days; you can rent them on big box stores. Wet laminate flooring will grow mould underneath if not removed promptly and will require remediation.
2- Window condensation.
Mould will grow on the dust, drywall, casings and sometimes flooring near windows that have condensation in winter months. Most Often is not a building or window defect but attributed to living conditions. Condominiums do not circulate fresh air and often the accumulated humidity generated from cooking, washing, and breathing exceeds the dew point causing the coldest surfaces (windows) to sweat the moisture, especially in very cold days. Always keep humidity below 50%. A hygrometer to read humidity levels can be purchased for less than $30. Use the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans for longer periods of time after cooking or bathing. Mould will only grow if excessive moisture penetrates the materials, so dried them promptly. Use a dehumidifier to help reduce the humidity. Warm the windows by allowing the heating system to reach the windows. An air mover can be used to warm the windows and stop the condensation however humidity must be controlled.
3- Fan Coil heating and cooling equipment.
Due to lack of maintenance often we find mould growing in the insulation inside the fan coil units. The majority of fan coil units in Ontario are made by Unilux or Temspec. They all have a paper lining on the insulation which is an excellent source for mould to flourish due to the moisture generated by the evaporated coil in air conditioning season. The higher the use of the air conditioning system, combined with the lack of proper maintenance (only filter changes) causes the mould growth. Often persons allergic to Aspergillus or Penicillium have substantial allergies reactions and only find the source upon air quality testing. We have a page on the common mould problems found in Condominium fan coil units here Fan Coil Unit Mold Remediation