Recently, the impact of the rising energy bills has been hitting everybody. Day-to-day expenses and bills are skyrocketing and people are being forced to make difficult decisions. One of the knock-on effects of this price hike has been the unprecedented growth of mould in homes across the UK. But how have rising energy bills had an impact on mould growth?
There is one major cause of mould growth that has been affected by the energy crisis: moisture. Mould spores use oxygen to grow, so moist surfaces are the perfect breeding grounds for mould. Walls and windows – especially in the bathroom – can easily suffer from mould growth.
Keeping your house warm is the first step to combatting mould growth. Moisture evaporates in warmer temperatures, keeping walls and floors dry.
The second step is making sure your house is well-ventilated. Once moisture evaporates into the air, it needs to flow outside. Otherwise, the moisture will return as condensation on high surfaces like ceilings.
Keeping your house warm and making sure that it's ventilated, is very difficult for some at the moment, given the high costs of energy. The cold weather during the winter season only makes this harder.
Many people have been using less central heating than they usually would since the price hikes began. This keeps energy bills down, but it can have unintended consequences. More moisture will stick around in the home after taking a shower or boiling a kettle, since there’s no heat to evaporate it.
Some have stopped using tumble dryers for the same reason – to save on electricity bills. Instead, they air dry their washing inside the home. This, again, introduces more moisture into the environment that isn't evaporating.
During harsh winter conditions, people are also much less likely to open their windows, since we want to keep what heat there is inside the house, not let it out. However, this lack of ventilation means moisture has nowhere to go, even if it evaporates. Together, a lack of heat and a lack of ventilation contribute to ideal conditions for mould growth.
According to the Daily Mail, Britain is suffering from a 'mould epidemic'. In 2022, around 4.7 million private renters battled issues with mould. Tight budgets are commonly cited as the leading reason. While renters and homeowners are curbing their energy usage, landlords are sometimes less inclined to maintain or repair their properties, even when it’s their legal obligation.
Unfortunately, there's no quick fix solution for mould growth. The first step should always be to remove active mould from your home as soon as possible after spotting it. After this, there are a few best practise tips for tackling mould during difficult times.
The best way to perform regular mould checks is to identify the vulnerable areas in your house. Nobody is expecting you to check every nook and cranny, every week, for signs of mould growth. Instead, ask yourself which rooms produce the most moisture, like:
It's likely that mould will fester in these kinds of places first before moving on to other areas of your house. If you notice condensation or moisture building up in these rooms, dry it straight away with a towel or cloth.
Once you've dried the affected area, you can go one step further and clean it with antibacterial spray. If you're really worried about mould growth, this will provide some extra protection.
Keep in mind that the walls around windows can also build up condensation after a shower. Ceilings will also be a challenge, as the hot steam from a shower naturally rises and become a breeding ground for mould. For some, cleaning and drying ceilings is very difficult, or even not possible. In these cases, ventilation is the best solution.
Ventilating to reduce mould during the energy crisis might seem daunting. You don't want to spend more money on energy for a dehumidifier, but you don't want to let the cold winter air in, either. With some careful consideration, you can find a balance and minimise the effects of the cold.
For starters, you might want to consider using extractor fans selectively. These are usually found in bathrooms and sometimes above hobs in kitchens. Some bathroom light switches link to the extractor fan, but you can turn them on and off manually. Use extractor fans after a bath or shower, or while cooking up a meal. Check them once in a while to clean them out and make sure they're working at maximum efficiency.
The cost of running an extractor fan is relatively low, but this still might not be an option for some people. In these cases, you'll want to consider opening windows after moisture in the room builds up. To cut the cold off from the rest of the house, close the door and remember to close the window again after a little while. Even though it will impact temperature, it's the most cost-effective way of ventilating a room.
If you’re a landlord, or own a commercial property infested with mould, you might not know where to begin. You can’t be expected to survey your properties on your own and standard cleaning services won’t be equipped to deal with sustained mould growth. That’s why CPL t/a Rainbow International offer extensive, professional mould and damp removal services. We specialise in identifying the causes of mould growth, like leaking pipes or damaged ventilation. We fix the problem, then use a variety of tools and methods to eliminate mould from your property once and for all. We will provide recommendations for any works required to prevent the problem from occurring again.
If you’re interested in our mould removal services, feel free to get in touch today by calling us on 0800 030 4360, sending us an e-mail, or by visiting our contact page. We take every individual situation into account and will always try to find the best solution that suits your budget and needs.