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Thread: Questions on Mould

  1. #1
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    Default Questions on Mould

    I've read complaints here about mouldy houses. I've been in the U.S. for years - so perhaps I've forgotten - but I'm back in NZ every year for about a month. Granted, the last book-a-bach I rented in March smelled mouldy, but this is the only time mould has been an issue. Even then, the house just smelled mouldy. I didn't see mould on curtains, etc. Both sets of grandparents had older homes that weren't mouldy though I'd freeze to death at one Nana's house as she kept the windows wide open all winter long (Hawkes Bay).

    I've got rellies from one end of NZ to the other and have stayed in or at least visited them in their homes. Ditto with friend's homes. Never have I encountered the smell of mould nor seen any. Do I have blinders on? Am I delusional? Just how bad do you consider this mould problem to be?

  2. #2
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    I think your question might be more about damp indoors, and what people do about it, as that's what determines whether mould has a chance to form.

    You're back in NZ for about a month at what time of year? That could make a big difference to your experience.

    Also, a house may not keep out the damp or may collect condensation, but you don't see mould on curtains etc. if the people living in that house have their strategies for dealing with it day to day. Most people who complain about damp on the forum are totally new to the need for doing anything about it, and are also very likely moving into a rental property which hasn't been cared for in the same way as a house that has had long-term occupants.

    One time we visited NZ, we arrived in August to stay in a house we rented from a couple who were visiting Europe. When we got there, the house, which stands in a clearing in native bush (overhanging palm trees and tree ferns) in the Waitakeres, had been empty, unheated and unaired, for two weeks, and the first impression upon opening the door was the feel and smell of damp. All the furnishings felt clammy to the touch, as did the bed left made up ready for us. Our NZ family rallied round with advice on what to do to sort out some comfort, and how to manage things while we were there. That was okay, but it was a whole other routine that is not something we need or are used to in the UK. My point is that if we hadn't been told what to do, that perfectly nice house with decent furnishings would have been covered in mould in a short space of time.

  3. #3
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    Last trip was in March - before that it was August. I travel to NZ all times of the year, not just summer. The previous August trip, I spent a week in Napier while my cousin and I cleared out my 86 year old Aunt's home after she fell and ended up in long-term care. I found shoes in the wardrobes with an inch of dust on them that dated back to at least the 70's. The house cleaning had been terribly neglected - yet I didn't see any mould. Granted, Napier is drier than other parts of NZ but can't recall mold problems anywhere, anytime.

  4. #4
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    Well, lucky you, Dell. Your aunt's house must buck the NZ trend by being well insulated. But surely you're not saying that what you saw there, and the fact that maybe your friends and relatives are waywise in managing in the NZ climate, means that the forumites who complain about their mould problems were imagining it?

  5. #5
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    I've often read here that mould is a problem including these posts today (or yesterday). "Check inside of curtains for mould" - "people not keeping their things in built-in cupboards/wardrobes".

    Certainly I do not think forumites are imagining mould nor would I say such a thing. My question was if I am delusional or have blinders on to NOT have noticed mouldy houses in NZ. Perhaps I'll experience mould for myself when I'm once again living there full-time. I hope not. As I have not encountered it before I'd like to know if this is a major wide-spread problem so that I'm prepared.

  6. #6
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    As J&M says, it's an issue that with management doesn't need to be a problem. One flat we rented in teh UK was awful for that, and we couldn't use the wardrobe, the wallpaper peeled off. And both our houses that we owned (both pre WW1) had areas where we needed to keep ventilated to prevent mould growing (behind TV in the last house, behind a bookcase in the first we owned). In the place we are renting now then we've not had mould, but being on the edge of the water then we do have a higher moisture content in the house, and so need to ventilate more. Infact we bought a dehumidifier at the weekend and that's working really well. So inland in the UK we'd not normally have windows open in winter, you close them and whack the central heating up to keep warm. Where we are now, then we do make sure that we ventilate the areas that we're not using the dehumidifier in. It's not a big issue. But that's our place. I'm sure there are places that do suffer more than ours where a 'gentle touch' approach to manageing it isn't as easy. Ours is getting on for 50% glass, so there's a lot of light that gets in and warms the place during the day which i think helps.

  7. #7
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    We live in a townhouse, probably 10 years old, with single pane windows. Every winter's day my routine is to wipe down the windows of their condensation and open them for most of the day. We were away for 2 weeks last winter and upon return there was mould growing on the windows.

  8. #8
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    Yes, JandM is right. It sounds like the rellies you stay with deal with it. It's often a problem in rentals where the landlord fails to make the investment that reduces the problem hassle-free and the tenant fails to do what is necessary to keep the house healthy. It involves a lot of opening and shutting windows, wiping down windows (shower wipers I find useful) etc. Tricky if no one is home from dawn to dusk.

  9. #9
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    Default DBH publication on Mould

    http://www.dbh.govt.nz/UserFiles/Fil...s/ws-mould.pdf is a two A4 page publication on mould:

    'Prevention

    If you have mould growing in your home, it is important you clean it up before you dry out the house.

    Better ventilation, more heating and higher levels of insulation can prevent the growth of moulds.'



    The better ventilation also requires a right position of furniture, i.e. with a gap to the walls of around 50 mm, especially to outer walls. Also tapestries etc. are not the most suitable decoration in NZ, for the same reason.

  10. #10
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    Yes, we are frequently to be found on water patrol in the mornings, drying up windows with shower wiper, mictofibre cloth and/or windows. We usually leave the windows open on a catch during the day to air the place, have installed as much insulation as possible and improved the heating (from electric to wood pellet). We don't actually have mould anywhere but the bathroom - where we now have an extractor fan - but that's no reason not to play it safe!

    There's only so much you can do to most houses, and the rest you just deal with

    (hmm.. if we ever go away during the winter, I think those windows will be on the catch and towels left under each window to catch whatever condensation runs down... luuuuurvely...)

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