Tips To Reduce the Chance of Mould in the Home

Many properties suffer from some level of mould and mildew during winter. It is important to remember that our normal day to day living contributes to mould and mildew build-up in a property.

The coating of condensation on the bedroom window when you wake up in the morning is what you breathed out overnight. Once you factor in cooking and showers, the average family produces around 8 litres of moisture every day. That’s a lot of water to add into your home and if you don’t ventilate the property on a regular basis the moisture level continues to build up, leading to mould and mildew.

The Tenancy Tribunal has ruled that there is a responsibility on both tenants and owners to help prevent mould in a rental property.

TENANT RESPONSIBILITY

Here’s how to get your home as dry and safe as possible on a tight budget.

PREVENTION

The best thing you can do is keep your windows and doors open as much as possible to let the house dry out and ventilate.

Wipe down any condensation on windows and sills, and leave a gap of at least 10cm between furniture and outside walls. Keep your wardrobe and drawers cracked open too.

Put your mattress on a bed base, or if you can’t afford it, make sure you at least stand it on its side during the day.

Don’t dry laundry indoors if you can help it. If you think about how much wet laundry weighs when you hang it up and then how light it is when dry you will get an idea of how much water is put in the room – approximately 5 litres of water comes out of a rack of clothing when it dries – that’s like tipping half a bucket of water on your floor!

Keep pots covered on the stove, and always use extractor fans.

Cut down on any indoor plants – when you water them this eventually ends up as moisture in the room.

A fire, heater or heat pump will help a lot.

Dehumidifiers, which suck out the moisture and warm the air, are cheaper at about $1.20 to $2.40 a day when running nonstop.

REMOVING MOULD

Do a regular and thorough check for mould so you can get rid of it as early as possible.

At $8 or more a bottle, forget about the brightly packaged mould removal potions at the supermarket. Use white vinegar or diluted bleach which works fine, and it’s literally five times cheaper. Wipe the surfaces down with vinegar or bleach or if nothing else is available use warm soapy water, although this will not be as effective at removing mould.

LANDLORDS RESPONSIBILITY

Landlords are required by law to provide a “safe and healthy home”. In order to assist with ventilation there should be security stays on some or all windows so that you can leave windows open during the day. If you as the tenant feel there should be more, contact your property manager to discuss.

Notify your property manager promptly of any non-functioning extractor fans such as in bathroom or kitchen.

If you notice any particular leaks or moisture under or around the property, notify your property manager promptly so this can be investigated and remedied wherever possible.