There’s nothing attractive about mould. Most renters visit multiple properties before they choose the one they’d like to live in – and unsurprisingly, they’re usually quite selective.

Guest post by Bye Mould

The presence of mould can make an otherwise stunning property look disgusting. It could also suggest a more severe problem such as structural damage.

That aside, mould is potentially dangerous to the respiratory and immune system, causing breathing problems and even triggering an asthma attack in some cases.

Mould is caused by condensation and excess water on walls, typically due to a temperature differential between the inside of a property and the outside. This is usually an issue in the cold winter and autumn months when tenants turn up the heat to warm the house. Unfortunately, you can’t control what tenants decide to do while living in your property -some like to dry their clothes inside, which can cause excess water on walls.

Dehumidifiers are roughly the size of a standard portable heater and remove water from a room to reduce the likelihood of mould.

Here are some more ways a dehumidifier can save you money:

  • Getting rid of mould (professionally) can cost a lot of money and eat into your profits
  • Even if the mould is removed, it can still return – this is due to the temperature differential issue
  • A tenant could sue you for renting out a property that is dangerous to their health
  • Long-term mould can cause structural damage to walls and the beams in the roof – this is expensive to fix.

As with most devices, dehumidifiers aren’t created equally. Choosing the right one will save you another trip to the shop. A dehumidifier sucks air and cools it to remove moisture. Some dehumidifiers then dump the water into a bucket or internal basin. The ‘dry’ air is then pumped back into the room.

Here are some things you need to consider when selecting a dehumidifier:

  • The size of the room you want to dehumidify
  • The method of collection. (Will your tenants be happy to empty a dehumidifier, or would you prefer the unit to do that?)
  • The energy rating of the dehumidifier. (Older dehumidifiers can be as expensive to run as a portable radiator. Some tenants won’t be happy about an increase in energy consumption.

Some dehumidifiers also come with advanced features which enable you to ‘set and forget’.

  1. Filter indicator

A dehumidifier needs to be cleaned. This is because it absorbs water and bacteria from the air. The more moisture in the air, the more often it needs to be cleaned. A filter indicator tells you when it is time to clean the filter. Failing to clean the filter affects the effectiveness of your dehumidifier.

2. Auto humidistat

Ideally, a dehumidifier needs to be adaptable to suit changing humidity levels. The auto humidistat feature senses the humidity levels and shuts operation once the humidity level is reached. This saves on energy bills. Dehumidifiers without this feature can take too much moisture from the air, thereby making it feel uncomfortable.

What else can you do to prevent and remove mould?

Mould is usually caused by the temperature differential between the inside of the property and the outside. However, mould can also be caused by a leaking pipe or leaking roof. This can cause structural damage to the property. Renovating a roof, for instance, can be a pricey fix.

Poke the mildew areas with a stick, and if some of the concrete or plaster crumbles, it would suggest leaking into the walls. In such a situation, a dehumidifier could reduce the mould and mildew on walls, but the property’s structure could be rotting away.

Mould is a fungus and can spread rapidly. Therefore, a minor mould path inside the wall can spread across a significant section over time. Knocking down a wall to build a new one and change the wires is neither fun nor cheap.

Remove it yourself

In minor cases, mould can be removed using one part bleach mixed with four parts water. Because this can be dangerous to your health, wear a mask (to protect your respiratory system) and gloves. Don’t mix bleach with ammonia because it produces deadly fumes. Open all the windows in the room and dip a sponge in the bleach solution. Get to work scrubbing the affected area, and dry it off with a disposable towel. After removing the mould, leave the windows open.

When in doubt, ventilate.

Good ventilation is an excellent way to keep mould at bay. The bathroom and kitchen are especially prone to mould. Advise your tenants to crack the window open when cooking or after taking a shower. Ventilation reduces the temperature differential between the inside of the home and the outside. As a result, less condensation builds up on walls and metal. Therefore, the opportunity for mould to develop is markedly reduced.

Use an extra fan

Another way to protect a kitchen from mould is to use an extra fan. This removes the moisture caused by cooking.

Choose a suitable sealant. 

Notably, without proper maintenance, a property degrades over time. Cracks in walls and the roof can occur. This can cause water to build up, thereby increasing the likelihood of mould. It is worth investing in a solid sealant to seal the cracks, which allow moisture and water to get into the property. In extreme cases, this would act as a temporary solution until you acquire a professional’s services.

In conclusion

Mould usually affects properties without human habitation for extended periods. It is worth checking up on your locked-up rental properties every month. I am yet to meet a tenant (or landlord) who likes mould – it affects health, makes properties look dirty and can affect the structural integrity of your property. A dehumidifier, scheduled mould removal and other everyday practices are a small price to pay for long term prevention.

Bye Mould
Bye Mould

Bye Mould is an independent United Kingdom-based dehumidifier review website. The website sources products to review first-hand to provide the most reliable, up-to-date information for users in the UK. Bye Mould was set up by Brian Kingsley and his wife, who built the website after noticing a lack of quality dehumidifier reviews on the internet.