What Causes Rising Damp?

Posted on: March 1st, 2020 by Jane F

Damp comes in many different forms but out of them all rising damp can be considered as the most disturbing. Just so you know, rising damp is a major problem not only in the UK but also in the whole world. This is among the primary reasons why building materials like concrete, bricks, and stone end up decaying. Even during the initial phase, rising damp can cause damages on external finishes and produce unpleasant odours. But, what is rising damp in the first place? What causes this worldwide phenomenon?

Rising Damp – A Quick Definition

Rising damp refers to slow movement of water that starts from the walls’ bottom portion to the higher portion. This concern is common not only in older buildings but also in new houses with flaws in construction. 

This takes place once the moisture coming from the ground rises up to the gaps in between bricks and through the tiny cracks in the masonry work. This can also be because of the water’s adhesive property that lets it move upwards while pulling other droplets with it. This process is what you call capillary action. 

Once moisture deposits in a building’s walls, this can result to significant damage to its overall appearance after some time. This is why it is important that you detect what causes rising damp to prevent further damages. 

Rising Damp and Its Causes 

Dampness is directly related to the existence of mould in different parts of the building affected by moisture. It is not a secret that mould has a very high growth factor with the ability to quickly spread when the conditions are favourable. It is also among the primary reasons behind damp concerns since this encourages moisture to spread. 

Many people might assume that damp is coming from the walls. However, more often than not, this comes from the ground. This means that rising damp takes place once the moisture that sits under the structure comes out as humidity. 

Signs of Rising Damp 

There is no need for you to be an expert so you can diagnose damp problems. However, it will help if you know the signs of rising damp to know if your home needs a rising damp treatment. Watch out for the following telltale signs of rising damp to help you determine if that damp you noticed in your house is really a rising damp or if it is only a water splash caused by leaking pipe. The most common symptoms of rising damp include the following:

  • ïSkirting boards that are starting to deform 
  • ïWood frames with signs of rot
  • ïBubbling plaster 
  • ïPaint starting to come off from the walls 
  • ïMould growth on furniture and wall
  • ïWhite powder showing up on walls 
  • ïTidemarks on walls 

Solve Your Rising Damp Problem Today 

Rising damp isn’t a problem that you can just take for granted. For this reason, it is always best to get the help of professionals who can diagnose the issue and solve it in the most effective way. 

Negative Health Effects Caused By Mould

Posted on: February 15th, 2020 by Jane F

You might not realise it but you are actually exposed to mould spores every single day, often by breathing or touching them. Since mould is naturally found both indoors and outdoors it is almost impossible to live in a completely mould-free environment. 

As mould grows, spores get released to the air making it easy for you to inhale them without you knowing it. People who end up inhaling large amounts of spores might get sick. Due to the different health concerns they pose, it is important that you prevent mould from growing inhabitable areas.

Mould and Its Effects on Your Health 

Most types of mould can have adverse effects on a person’s health. Mould tends to produce irritants, allergens, and sometimes even toxins that might cause adverse reactions in a person. A mould reaction will depend on the amount that the person has been exposed to, the person’s allergies or sensitivities, and the person’s age. The similar amount of mould might not cause any health issues in one individual but might result to negative effects in another. 

Mould expose can cause various symptoms. A sensitive person who has inhaled or touched mould or mould spores might suffer from allergic reactions including sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, nasal congestion, skin itching rash or dermatitis. 

Mould can also set off asthma attacks in a person with a mould allergy and can cause shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing. A disease such pneumonia might also develop following mould exposure although this is not common. 

Different infectious diseases from mould can also be experienced by a person with a weakened immune system, like people who are immune-suppressed or immune-compromised from drug treatments. There are also some forms of mould known to cause some infections in people with compromised immune systems. These infections might affect the eyes, skin, lungs, and other organs. Such infections are regarded as opportunistic and don’t affect people with healthy bodies. 

Mould and mVOCs 

One more source of irritation from being exposed to mould comes from the substances called mVOCs or microbial volatile organic compounds. These are compounds formed through fungal metabolism that get released straight to the air. They often give off unpleasant or strong odours. Being exposed to mVOCs from mould can irritate the respiratory system and the eyes and is also associated to symptoms like nausea, nasal irritation, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. Effects of these mVOCs are not yet totally understood with research still in its early stages. 

Mycotoxins and Mould 

Mycotoxins are metabolites that are potent substances that some types of mould produce. People could get exposed to these mycotoxins through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. Most moulds, including the species often found indoors, can produce mycotoxins. 

If You Need Help and Advice Regarding Mould Contact Us or Visit Our Mould Removal Page.

Just because toxin-producing mould has been identified to exist indoors doesn’t mean that the occupants of the building suffered from mycotoxin exposure or that these are present in the first place. This is because mould doesn’t produce these under all conditions. These substances can cause various adverse effects on human health but additional studies are required to identify the risk they pose in indoor environments. But, it is recommended to avoid exposure to mycotoxins and mould as a whole. 

Roles and Responsibilities of a Mould Specialist

Posted on: February 10th, 2020 by Jane F

The main job of a mould removal specialist in the UK is to make sure that human health is not compromised or affected by the presence of mould in a building. 

While mould can grow and thrive in all buildings, this is found to be most common in older buildings that have been modernised with additions like double glazing. This prevents air flow and makes building less efficient when it comes to coping with dampness and humidity. Any kind of building, be it commercial or residential premises can get affected. 

There is numerous legislation on mould as it is considered a public health concern. Mould is numerous types of fungi, some of these can be hazardous to both human and environmental health. At the least, they can cause eczema, asthma, and exacerbate allergies. Serious conditions include infection and pneumonia. 

The job of mould removal specialists is to recognise and analyse these hazards to air quality and make or suggest improvements to a building’s mould remediation system. It can be preventative or curative if a problem is determined. They can also give suggestions on how to install or improve extractor fans or just advise employees on simple actions like keeping the windows open. They can even work hand in hand with building engineers to enhance a building’s structure to address the worst issues caused by mould. 

Qualities of Mould Removal Specialists in the UK

A mould removal specialist can safely remove mould from different locations in a home, business, or commercial building. Similar to most technical jobs, there is a specialised set of skill expected from a mould removal technician because of equipment and biohazard concerns. Below are what it takes to become a mould removal specialist in the UK. 

  • ïAbility and willingness to work well as a team member and follow a supervisor’s instructions.
  • ïCapacity to handle physically demanding jobs like moving appliances or furniture during a household removal job.
  • ïBeing available on-call in case of emergency situations. The working hours might differ depending on the location, company, and specific industry. 
  • ïCapacity to work on a scaffold or ladder and overhead for a long period of time.
  • ïAbility to carry out work in different temperatures wherein temperate might get extreme.
  • ïCompetency to service, maintain, and use different types of equipment needed for mould removal like power tools and fans. 
  • ïAbility to render effective communication and offer exceptional customer service when performing mould removal at the work sites. 
  • ïAbility to correctly use self-care and personal protective equipment to stay protected against exposure to bio-hazardous contaminant. 
  • ïWillingness to complete the necessary certifications and participate in different training seminars. 
  • ïIdentify moisture readings with the use of moisture meters and calibrate instruments on a regular basis. 
  • ïKnowledgeable in inspection and identification of mould, willingness to work constantly on professional development. 

Mould removal specialists in the UK usually need an understanding in subjects related public health, health & safety and biology to deal with the causes and effects of mould in residential and work spaces. 

If you need advise regarding mould in your property please get in touch or see our mould removal page. http://www.firefloodlondon.co.uk/mould-removal-london-damp-specialists/

What is Black Mould and is it as Dangerous as Everybody Says?

Posted on: January 25th, 2020 by Jane F

Toxic black mould is often talked about these days. As government legislation mandates that all new homes be well insulated the occurrence of mould and other condensation related issues is increasing. 

Stachybotrys chartarum, otherwise known a black mould (or mold) is a fungus that mainly grows on surfaces with high moisture content. It’s particularly prevalent in areas of high condensation such as bathrooms and kitchens. It may also occur in any area of high humidity. Often times people dry their washing on clothes horses and radiators in the living room, the evaporation 

of condensation from the clothing and subsequent condensation onto surfaces can make for a breeding ground for black mould. It is especially prevalent on plasterboard and wallpaper. 

This type of mould grows extremely slowly but can be quite hard to get rid of. Although black mould is perceived by many as toxic it does not always produce mycotoxins, mycotoxins are what are thought to cause associated ill health effects. 

Mould and more specifically black mould has been as associated in recent years as a possible cause for chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as ME. CFS sufferers often continually feel ill without any apparent cause. In a study published by The U.S National Center for Biotechnology Information, 93% of patients tested positive for mycotoxins. 

In the documentary movie “Moldy”, biohacker Dave Asprey, sufferer of long term health effects due to mould, explores the various causes for mould in our environment and the effects it can have on humans. The people interviewed in the movie suffered from symptoms like rapid weight gain, memory loss, sore joints and breathing difficulties. While these are not common scientists think that some people may be genetically predisposed to mould allergies. 

If your home has an infestation of black mould it is important that you deal with it. The important thing is to not agitate the mould by scrubbing or agitating the surface where it is present. This can cause spores to be released into the air where they can be more easily breathed in. 

In fact it’s best not to tackle mould like this by yourself. Here at Fire Flood London we have extensive experience dealing with mould issues. We’ll use a special fungicidal PH plus solution to soak off slime moulds, reducing the amount of spores released into the surrounding environment. 

After this process is wise to use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) scrubber to completely remove any mould spores from the air inside the property. This not only improves the air quality but reduces chances of mould re-growing. 

We may also use a HEPA vacuum carpets and soft furnishing where applicable.

We’ll also make recommendations on how you can prevent the mould returning, these are often inexpensive solutions and sometimes just simple advice that is easy to follow. 

Although a cause for concern, any time of mould is treatable. If you’d like us to inspect your property and offer a solution with no obligation, get in touch today. 

When a Flood is Totally Out of Your Control: A Burst Water Main

Posted on: January 21st, 2020 by Jane F

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. You’ll maintain your property, regularly inspect internal pipes and lagging but when a victorian water main bursts there’s just? no way to prepare for it. 

That’s exactly what happened recently in the North London neighbourhood of Finsbury Park. It was the morning of Tuesday the 8th of October when the century old pipe work decided to give way flooding nearly a square kilometre in ankle deep water, causing the evacuation of many homes and leaving many more without running water. 

Queens Drive was the most effected by the flood, many of the homes in the street are lower ground flood level flats, the flood water did major damage, many occupants had to be re-housed by Thames water while flood cleanup and decontamination works were undertaken. 

Thames water spends hundreds of millions of pounds every year in leak detection and prevention. Much of the network of water pipes running under the city is more then a hundred years old.  They can’t catch everything before it becomes a problem. 

A large company like Thames water will have there own flood cleanup services that deal with the initial impact of an event like this. It’s rare for flood restoration companies to be involved at early stages like this but because of the sheer scale of restoration works we find we are often called in by home owners and tenants to finish jobs property. 

The beginning of any large flood is normally chaos, eighty Firefighters from the London Fire Brigade were called in this instance to try and remedy the situation. Because the initial task of stemming the flow of flood water it may be several days before your property is inspected by your water provider. 

In the case of Queens Drive Thames Water estimated that around 150 dwellings were affected by “external or internal water ingress”. The longer flood water is left to sit on properties the more damage it can do. Many of the residents of Queens Drive had to wait days for Thames water to assess the damage and start to restore their properties.

With approval from insurance companies Fire Flood London can quickly tackle pumping out flood water, drying, decontamination and repairs of a property. We have been carrying out water damage restoration in London for over 30 years and have developed a range of services to take on any jobs big or small.   

We can also attend to a property once a water companies own engineers have vacated to finish the drying and cleaning to a higher standard. 

If your property needs urgent attention after a flood please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 020 8340 8338

Housing Associations Fail to Treat Mould Problems

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Jane F

It’s an all too common problem, left untreated a mould infestations can quickly spread. Often the most vulnerable members of our society are the affected by this.

More often than not the management responsibilities of council property is handled by a third party. Because mould seems like a cleaning issue that a tenant should be able to handle themselves housing associations and their maintenance providers are usually slow to do anything.

Professional mould removal services are needed to assess the extent of the infestation, identify the root cause of the problem and recommend a remediation protocol.

While harmful for everyone, mould spores can be particularly dangerous for children and those with weaker immune systems. It’s also a scary sight to see it quickly accumulating on walls and ceilings.

Pensioner John Ibbitson from Hull (article linked above) had completely stopped using his shower because of the extent of the mould issue in his bathroom. At the age of 74 he’d been reduced to washing in the sink, fearing that the mould would exacerbate his arthritis and cancer. 

Lisa Dyer from Potters Bar in Hertfordshire was forced to move herself and her three children to the living room of their flat, fearing the mould in the bedrooms would cause health issues for her young family.

Many think just cleaning the affected areas with an anti-fungal solution will solve the problem. Unfortunately things are not usually that simple. Mould grows on damps surfaces, finding the source do the damp is often the first step to fixing the problem.

Mould spores don’t just adhere to surfaces, they circulate in the air. Specialist equipment like air scrubbers will need to be used to reduce the spore load and make the air safe to breath.

If you have a mould issue please give us a a call for advice and a no obligation quote to remedy the situation. You can find out more about our mould removal service at the link below.

Mould Removal Services