It is cold outside. We are getting the rain we pray for and even some snow flurries in Jerusalem. Most likely you are warm sitting in your apartment. Your heating is probably on to the maximum as the electric company is reporting a surge in electric use. A few days into this weather pattern you begin to see mold.
Mold grows in damp areas. When it is cold outside and you have heat on inside, you end up with condensation on your walls. A wall between rooms in your home (known as interior walls) will not get mold. It is only the exterior walls that have the contrast in temperature between the warm inside and cold outside that get the condensation. If you have a mirpeset above you it is very likely you will also have condensation on your ceiling and mold will form on your ceiling in addition to your walls.
We know we get mold from dampness caused by condensation. What can we do about it? One way is to avoid condensation. You can do this by not having the cold meet the warm air. That’s right; don’t turn on your heat. You will freeze in your own home, but without the condensation you won’t get mold.
Most likely that is not the solution you want; in fact it should not have to be this way. If your home were built properly there would be insulation in the wall. Many of the newer units being built today have Styrofoam insulation built in to the walls. This places enough of a barrier between the outside cold and the warm inside to prevent condensation and mold does not grow.
What to do if you live in a place without insulation and you want to run heat? Do you really need to be concerned about mold? Is it unhealthy or just unsightly? If you are renting is it your problem or your landlord’s? Should you move if you have mold? These are some questions we get on a daily basis during this weather.
Mold does not affect most people. However, mold can be very unhealthy for infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly and anyone with respiratory disease or severe allergies. Even for these people mold is usually only problematic in a bedroom or another room where they spend many hours. Mold in a bathroom or laundry room that you are in for just minutes at a time is more unsightly than unhealthy.
To avoid the health issue all you need to do is clean the mold. This can easily be done by wiping away the mold with bleach. Since this type of mold is only growing on the surface from condensation, the mold simply can be wiped away and the health problems are avoided. The catch is that this is not a one-time solution; mold will grow back within days. It is best to wipe down the areas with mold every three days to avoid health problems. Of course, once the weather clears up, it is not so cold and you don’t have your heat on, you will not have to deal with cleaning mold. One thing to be aware of is that mold can be behind areas that are not easily seen. You may need to move a closet, a bed or anything else against the outside walls to clean the mold behind these areas as well.
The best option is to have your house painted with anti-mold paint. This will prevent mold from growing on the surface of the new paint. It does not last forever, but is guaranteed for five years and often is mold free for up to seven years. At that point mold again begins to form and you need to do this work again. A good percentage of our work is going back to customers where we painted seven years ago and it had been mold free all this time. Although Israeli paint companies make excellent paint, they still lag behind the USA paint companies in mold prevention. The Israeli anti-mold paints tend to last for one year. We use anti-mold paint imported from the USA for the best and longest mold prevention.
There is so much more to discuss about mold. We did not even touch on mold caused from plumbing leaks or water penetration. These are more serious problems that need to be addressed even prior to painting with anti-mold paint. We always come prepared to evaluate the situation with a moisture meter, to determine if the walls are wet from water from an actual leak or if it is from condensation where our solutions are effective.
Nachum Eilberg of Walls R Us Painting, will be happy to answer any painting related questions. Please submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and perhaps your question will be published in a future issue of Bizness Magazine. Nachum of “Walls R Us Painting” can also be reached at 052-611-9500 or by visiting the company website at: www.wallsruspainting.com