Are all indoor air problems caused by mold?

Because it is one of the more common issues affecting home and building owners, most people put indoor air problems down to mold. However, this is a common misconception, as mold is one of several possible factors associated with poor indoor air quality. Here at Polygon, our teams are trained to support property owners by tackling these various problems.

What is mold?

Mold is a form of fungus consisting of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and yeasts. As an element of everyday life, microbes can be found everywhere in our environment and, similarly, mold spores can be found on all surfaces, both indoors and outdoors. While the conditions in which mold grows can vary, in most cases, optimum growth climate conditions are if the relative humidity of the air is above 65% and the temperature is between +4 and +30 degrees.

The harmful effects of microbes occur when mold grows in places, such as buildings, where it can pose a health risk to humans or damage to materials. As mold grows, it can produce toxins, which in turn can cause a variety of symptoms for occupants of a property.

Indoor air problems are not always mold problems

It is often believed that mold is generally caused by indoor air problems, and focus is applied to structures in the area affected by soil moisture or moisture damage, such as subsoil or plinth structures. However, the elevated microbial content of structures is only one cause of indoor air problems within properties.

Indoor air quality can also be affected by several factors that are not necessarily directly related to moisture or moisture damage. These include:

  • Compounds emitted from materials
  • Leaks in structures
  • Abnormal pressure ratio (under pressure or overpressure) over the outer jacket
  • Deficiencies in ventilation
  • Sources of dust and fibres in structures
  • Level of cleanliness

Our research identified that the non-microbial damage mentioned above is the cause of most indoor air problems. There are several factors that could affect indoor air quality in problem properties, so the cause should not be generalized.

Mold or not, action is needed

Whether it is mold or some other factor that degrades indoor air, the situation should always be referred to professionals. If the indoor air causes, for example, allergy symptoms, respiratory irritation, headaches or fatigue, it is advisable to find out and treat the condition.

At Polygon, our experts study all factors relating to indoor air problems and moisture damage, ensuring the whole scenario is considered, investigated and resolved.

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