Mould Survey in Suffolk
Sysco Environmental Ltd was requested to carry out a mould survey in Suffolk regarding indoor air quality in relation to biological contaminants. The reason behind the investigation was to assess the indoor air contamination by fungal spores and to identify any areas of existing fungal contamination and water ingress. The property is a single-story domestic building with brick external walls and a pitched roof. The roof appears to be in good condition and there is no sign of any faults to the brick walls. The building consists of a sitting room, dining room, lounge, kitchen, bathroom, toilet, two small cupboards and two bedrooms. The occupiers have been living in the property for the past 2 years and the building has a long history of condensation and mould problems in the listed rooms. One of the building occupants has suffered from symptoms associated with fungal exposure such as watery eyes, headaches, fatigue and respiratory irritation.
Sampling and Moisture Mapping
Samples of airborne moulds were collected into spore traps using a high flow air sampling pump which were collected over a 10-minute period. Samples of viable moulds and bacteria were collected onto agar plates using a high-volume microbiological sampler, these were collected over a 1-minute period. The master bedroom has carpeted floor, plastered brick walls with a plaster ceiling. The windows in the room are modern double-glazed units. There are signs of significate condensation on the windowpanes and evidence of mould on the bottom 50cm of the walls. The wooden skirting boards surrounding the room show elevated moisture and is at high risk of developing wood rot. The smaller bedroom has carpeted floor, plastered brick walls and a plaster ceiling, like the master bedroom, the windows are modern double-glazed. There are no signs of significate condensation on the windows, but this room was unused prior to the investigation. The wall behind the furniture seems to be affected by elevated moisture and mould contamination. The wooden skirting boards show wood moisture; however, they appear to be in good condition with minor surface mould contamination.
Conclusion and recommendations
The results of the mould survey and moisture mapping show that the master bedroom is dramatically affected by rising damp. Although the rest of the property isn’t necessarily greatly affected by significant rising damp, the air sampling results indicate that the indoor air of the property is affected by elevated Penicillium/Aspergillus spores- these moulds are linked to water damage. The findings of the assessment show that the temperature of the north and west walls of the master bedroom are significantly below the dew point; in turn causing substantial condensation. This condensation can be blamed for the mould contamination seen within the bedroom. It is strongly recommended to remove the mould contamination from the affected walls. The water damaged plaster to the bottom of the walls should also be removed and a water impermeable membrane should be applied. The external walls of the master bedroom should be insulated in order to prevent the north and west walls from getting so cold. It is also important to ensure that the property is adequately heated to approximately 18 °C to prevent condensation.
You can carry out your own mould tests by using our Mould test kits which can be purchased here.