It has been an exceptionally wet year so far. Thanks to La Niña, the Australian summer has produced above average rainfall across the country. All the extra rain causes moisture to persist for longer in the air and in the ground which can cause problems for homeowners.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are underestimating the damage water can cause to their home, or the extent of expensive repairs they may have to undertake down the line. Many also fail to realise how easily preventable these problems are if regular inspections and maintenance are carried out on the property.
Prolonged dampness can lead to indoor mould growth (fungal) and creates a conducive environment for termites and timber pests. Mould exposure can also lead to severe human health effects, and especially for people with Asthma or a mould allergy.
What can cause a high moisture reading?
There are several ways water and moisture can enter into your home. If it’s a result of a persistent downpour, most commonly it will be seeping through the basement floor. Hence this is the first place you should inspect for moisture.
However, other common areas creating excess wetness and steam include the bathroom and the kitchen – showering and cooking frequently adds moisture to the air in your home.
Wet spaces in your home are particularly vulnerable to water damage and need to be regularly inspected for mould growth. You need to find the source of moisture, eliminate it and make sure you remove all the mould and mould spores.
In the bathroom, mould on wall sheeting, ceiling tiles and flooring may be caused by poor waterproofing or leaking taps, pipes or by fault of plumbing leaks. These issues can all cause significant water damage to cabinets and floors.
During an inspection you should always pay specific attention to areas underneath shelving and inside cupboards as well as along the wall skirting. Theses are areas where signs of overflows or mould build-up from leaks can go unnoticed.
Untreated mould and dampness can damage wood in form of either stains or growths. In worse cases it can contribute to more serious decay and cause irreversible damage to hardwood floors, window-frames, and other wooden fittings.
There are also causes that might not be so obvious to people. These include poor ventilation, inadequate insulation, contaminated air-conditioning system and poor building practices or low-quality building materials.
How to control & prevent moisture in your home
You should make it a habit to check for any presence of mould. You can do this by checking your roof for any roof leaks and the brickwork after wet and stormy weather. This will ensure water is not getting in through any new leaks. You should also regularly check on your ventilation throughout your home and possible sources of moisture.
Adequate ventilation is crucial in controlling humidity and in increasing the indoor air quality. It might be as easy as letting out trapped moisture through opening a window, or turning the fans or aircon on. This is especially important in wet rooms and during particularly hot and humid months. Investing in a good quality humidifier is also a good remedy for trapped moisture.
If water is in fact entering your home from the outside, you may have to spend some time on simple landscaping to prevent further damage. If the leak is extensive, you might have to hire someone to do some professional waterproofing.
For smaller issues, put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground.
When should you have a moisture reading and mould inspection?
At Inspect My Home, our qualified building inspectors always check for signs of elevated moisture during a building and pest inspection.
Even though yearly inspections are highly recommended, there are other occasions where you might want to call in professional between regular visits for peace of mind.
- You had a mould issue in the past and are not sure it’s completely gone.
- Your home has endured extra wet and story weather lately.
- You recently bought a new home, or thinking about buying a particular home.
- To determine how “bad” the problem is.
- You bought second-hand or antique furniture (often carries mould).
- You are experiencing mould-related health symptoms like asthma attacks or skin irritation from contact with mould.
In case you find yourself in any of the above circumstances, you should get in touch with your local Inspect My Home inspector as soon as possible.
Contact Inspect My Home
Inspect My Home is one of Australia’s largest and most trusted building and pest inspection companies.
Our team of professional property inspectors are trained to carry out thorough pre-purchase property inspections.
All services are followed by an easy-to-understand report, emailed 24 hours after the inspection.