Preventing Mould in the Workplace
There is a risk that indoor environments could develop mould in the colder seasons. Too much moisture in the air can make your home or workplace stuffy and smelly.
Condensation is the leading cause of mould.
There’s nothing worse than living or working in an environment with humid walls and a stuffy smell.
Excessive damp is not only unpleasant but also a threat to health. People spending time in damp and mouldy environments are at an increased risk for numerous health problems such as respiratory conditions, asthma or even chest infections.
You can use a few simple steps to identify the causes of damp and mould in your work environment.
The following practical tips will help you to tackle excessive moisture problems and prevent mould growth. This is how to stop mould in the office.
Common damp and mould causes and how to solve them
1. Wet shoes, coats and umbrellas
Work environments such as open-plan offices have many employees arriving at the same time every day.
During the cold and rainy months, many wet shoes and coats enter the building each day. If the office space is not well ventilated or doesn’t have a practical method of drying clothes, it can lead to condensation on the windows, which is one step away from mould.
How to stop mould caused by damp shoes and coats
The air must have enough space to circulate. Keeping the lobby area well ventilated will allow water vapour to circulate and disperse rather than collect on windows and walls.
Installing an extractor fan or dehumidifier in this office area will remove the air’s humidity, thereby preventing mould from setting in.
2. Rainwater spilling from a blocked gutter through to the window frames
Sometimes external factors are just as powerful as the internal ones. If the office building is slightly older and not adequately insulated against humidity, rain can be really damaging to the indoor environment.
Ground-level workplaces tend to be more affected with damp patches than higher floors.
How to stop mould caused by rain and damp
Having identified the moisture source, it is then crucial to take the necessary steps to remove or minimise the damage.
The first step is to provide adequate ventilation to dry the air as quickly as possible. It is highly advisable to use dehumidifiers to remove the moisture from the air.
Next, it is essential to identify whether the affected areas are safe to be managed without professional help.
If the mould is caused by rain or building faults (such as leaking pipes) and the affected area is less than one square metre, you can probably manage to clean it yourself.
Remember that mould is a living bacteria, and removing it should be done safely to avoid personal exposure to microscopic mould spores. Skin or eye contact with mould can be dangerous to your health. Make sure you use a protective mask and gloves to prevent spreading the mould pores across the entire building.
Suppose the mould is caused by sewage or contaminated water and keeps coming back. In that case, it is advisable to seek a professional who can undertake chemical disinfection of the area.
How to avoid condensation in an indoor environment
- Manage the humidity levels of indoor air. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. Condensation appears when the air cannot hold the level of moisture, and droplets of water appear on surfaces and windows.
- Condensation is always worse when it’s cold. Make sure you manage the indoor temperature and avoid humid air coming into contact with cold indoor surfaces.
- Poor airflow is the main contributor to condensation. Make sure you keep rooms well ventilated. Open the windows (yes, even in the winter) to circulate the air or even use an air dehumidifier.