Black mould

Since I started my painting business, I have visited flats and houses where, no matter what the financial background of the owners, they all have a serious problem called black mould. I had to raise this issue because people often associate mold with poverty, but the situation is more complicated than that.

What are the health effects of mould?

* Asthma and nasal and sinus problems such as shortness of breath and coughing

* Eye problems such as sensitivity to light and red eyes

* Irregular changes in body temperature, night sweats

* Fatigue, weakness

* Numbness and tingling

* Severe muscle cramps, joint pain

* Indigestion, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, changes in appetite

* Excessive thirst and frequent urge to urinate

* Dizziness

Prolonged and untreated mold can be deadly. Sadly, a two-year-old boy died of respiratory failure in Rochdale, England and at least 7,000 people in the United States died from mold and fungal infections in 2021. 

Why is this happening?

More often than not, the lifestyle of the occupants and the negligence of the homeowners results in mold in every room. Let me dig  a little bit deeper here. It is winter and cold and sometimes you are only home in the early evening, so you have decided to turn down the heating to save money.  But less heated or unheated rooms could be the hotbed of mold. Condensation is the process by which water vapour in the air and turns  into liquid water. Cold spots is where moisture starts condense, even if you have external insulation ( sometimes poorly done) or double glazed windows, this can still occur. Condensation occurs when you breathe,  when you cook, when you use a washing machine or tumble dryer, when you dry your clothes on a radiator or drying rack, when you bathe or shower.

If you are sensitive to the cold and don’t want to air the rooms by opening the windows for 5 to 10 minutes well that’s a personal choice, isn’t it? Cleaning is also very important, such as wiping the water off the glass of the windows, and dealing with the mold once it appears.This is not a super-secret that the majority of people in Hungary will use a treatment called Szavó, which is a pretty effective stuff. Please note: Try not to rub the mould when it is dry as this will release millions of mould spores into the air – read the label carefully.

However if the source of the problem is not found, then it is going to be an uphill battle. Not only will you be wasting your money, and time, but will you be  also be risking your health. I’ve seen places where the central heating is so limited that it can’t heat the rooms sufficiently, or the old building’s ventilation doesn’t work. In another case the filter of the bathroom extractor was  so clogged  that the whole ceiling was covered in black mould. There was an example where the central dehumidifier was deliberately removed and when they used the jacuzzi, guess what, mold started to grow.

Most of the time, the bed, the couch, the sideboard, crib, etc. almost all the furniture is pushed up against the wall, so if you take my advice, leave 10 centimetres between the furniture and the wall.  This will allow these areas to breathe and you will be able to spot mould much quicker and easier. Dehumidifiers will only help to reduce the humidity so that mould can’t grow, but they won’t work wonders themselves.

What to do?

When someone contacts me by phone or email with mould problems, I usually ask for pictures of the current situation. This gives me a better understanding of the location of the mould and then I ask a few more questions. But before I jump into my car  I let them know that I only use anti-mould liquids and paint, which is much more expensive than an off-the-shelf paint, and secondly I charge 10.000.- huf for the site visit, inspection and detailed quote.  This covers my gas, parking, time at the site and my time in preparing the detailed quotation. Based on our agreement, I will do the preparation and then the painting. That takes a few days. If you go with another painter who is available and offers you a better price, make sure you do not cut corners as this could lead to  frustration and potential illness in the long term.

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