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Property Ladder - Is Your Home a Haven For Bacteria? - November 2017 Issue

AS flu season sets in there are measures we can take to ensure our homes and offices don't become a breedingground for bacteria and viruses.

According to Sally Fok, co-founder and MD of EcoAir, excess moisture in our homes can encourage bugs to thrive. And she has provided Home Finder with some top tips on how to restore humidity to optimum levels in order to ensure a healthier winter this year.

"Airborne microorganisms thrive in humid conditions" says Sally. "The survival and breed rate of bacteria and viruses will escalate as soon as humidity levels rise above 60% and this level of humidity is not at all uncommon in our homes during the colder wetter winter months, especially in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, or garages.

By turning on the heating and closing doors and windows during winter, we significantly reduce air circulation, causing moisture generated inside to become trapped indoors. Moisture from rain and melting snow can also enter our home through windows, floors or walls-particularly in older buildings.

In the meantime, condensation of moisture on cold surfaces such as windows, ceilings, floorboards and walls, due to the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, is a major cause of trapped excess moisture in all homes throughout the winter.

The most essential measure we can take to reduce humidity in the home, according to Sally is to ensure it remains ventilated. This is as simple as opening windows and using vent fans when cooking and washing as this allows the air to circulate is a quick way to release trapped humidity.

Dehumidifiers can also successfully restore and maintain the correct moisture levels in the home. They work by extracting moisture from the air, therefore preventing the growth of microbes. Once humidity levels in the home are brought down to below 60%, airborne bacteria and viruses will not only stop breeding, but will struggle to survive.

To control heavier cases of condensation on windows, it is advisable to bring the humidity down to 40% during the winter months.

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