We spend more than 90 percent of our time inside the buildings. These buildings directly affect occupant’s health, well-being and productivity. The air inside the house can be 3 to 4 times more pollutant than outside air. Mold growth inside the house particularly makes you uncomfortable and awkward during the house parties with “that” musty smell.
In summers, Dubai is very hot with humidity averaging 90%. The root cause of the mold formation is the presence of moisture and oxygen. The moisture in the walls could be due to water leakage or condensation of humid air inside the building.
'My moldy apartment is making me sick but the agency is refusing to clean it up'- A UAE resident
Mold growth is also one of the causes of dispute between the rental agency and the tenants in the region. Indoor exposure to mold may cause nasal stuffiness, cough, headache, burning eyes, shortness of breath and headache. Studies also suggest exposure to mold may also cause the development of Asthma in some children. Some people also complain about the skin irritation & rashes upon contact with mold.
Molds can grow on any surface if moisture and oxygen are present. Usually more than 60% relative humidity (RH) is an ideal for the mold formation. While one cannot control oxygen levels inside house, the relative humidity can be controlled. Molds literally eat and destroy the item they grow on. Be it paper, cloths, wooden furniture, carpets or building insulation. Once they are infested, it is hard to control their growth until and unless the source of humidity/water is stopped. The easiest way to do this is by sealing the air leaks and stopping the infiltration of humid air into the apartment or building.
“My sea facing apartment in Dubai Marina is full of mold and musty smell”- A Dubai resident
Quite often mold issues are particularly common in the sea facing apartments. Sea facing apartments are always prone to humid air from the sea drifted by the winds. The wind drifts the humid air into the building through the leaks in the building facade. This humid air condensates as soon as it touches the cold surface. It can turn prized possessions into musty relics that only look fit for the garbage.
People tend to use the dehumidifiers instead of solving the root cause of moisture infiltration through the building façade. And hence besides the original equipment cost, the dehumidifiers add to the operational cost as well due to its huge energy consumption for its operation. The real problem here is the air leakage into the apartment that is allowing outside humid air into the building.
Hotels Hotels in warm and humid climates like middle east are more likely to have excess problems of mold and moisture than those in the drier parts of the world. Hotels + molds are a very costly affair especially when guest reject the rooms due to musty smell and discoloration. Hotels that face molds issue loses significant revenue due to loss of occupancy beside earning lower ratings and bad reputation.
“I have been living here for 2 years and I have been having mold problems in my apartment (specifically my room) for all this time, the only thing building management is doing is just sending random people to wash the filters with water and just paint over it, they literally painted 1 month ago and now it's all spotty again!” – A Dubai resident
Solutions Mold cleaning companies, simply wash out the mold from the wall instead of diagnosing the cause of moisture. Such solutions providers in Dubai provides warrantee of their work for 2 years only if the indoor relative humidity inside the apartment is kept below 60%.
By performing airtightness testing and using sophisticated techniques like thermography, it is possible to identify the leakage in the building envelope. Sealing of these leakages can eventually eliminate the condensation and mold growth.
Article by Arshad Momin - Arshad is an expert in airtightness testing and thermography. He has completed many prestigious projects such as Louvre Abu Dhabi, Nikki Beach, and Expo 2020. Get in touch with Arshad for consultation for your Hotel/ Building through the contact form at the bottom of this page.