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Buildings 2015, 5(1), 149-162; doi:10.3390/buildings5010149

Heater Choice, Dampness and Mould Growth in 26 New Zealand Homes: A Study of Propensity for Mould Growth Using Encapsulated Fungal Spores

1
School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Manawatu Campus, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand
2
School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Albany Campus, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
3
Building Research Association of New Zealand, Porirua 5381, New Zealand
4
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, P.O. Box 210 60, SE-100 31 Stockholm, Sweden
5
Institute of Environmental Biology, JDC Corporation, Kanagawa 243-03, Japan
6
Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington 6021, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: George Baird
Received: 27 November 2014 / Revised: 9 December 2014 / Accepted: 21 January 2015 / Published: 2 February 2015
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Abstract

The relationship between the use of unflued gas heaters (UGH, N = 14) and heat pump heaters (HP, N = 12) located in the living rooms, and mould growth on the living room and bedroom walls, of 26 New Zealand (NZ) occupied homes was investigated during winter. Two methods were employed to evaluate the potential of mould growth on walls: (i) measurement of daily hyphal growth rate using a fungal detector (encapsulated fungal spores); and (ii) estimation of fungal contamination based on a four level scale visual inspection. The average wall psychrometric conditions were significantly different between the two heater type groups, in both the living rooms and the bedrooms with the UGH user homes being colder and damper than HP user homes. The UGHs were found to be a significant additional source of moisture in the living rooms which dramatically increased the capacity for fungi to grow on wall surfaces. The average daily hyphal growth rates were 4 and 16 times higher in the living rooms and in the bedrooms of the UGH user homes, respectively. Results from both mould detection methods gave good agreement, showing that the use of a fungal detector was an efficient method to predict the potential of mould growth on the inside of the external walls in NZ homes. View Full-Text
Keywords: New Zealand homes; heater usage; psychrometrics; mould growth; fungal detector; visual mould inspection New Zealand homes; heater usage; psychrometrics; mould growth; fungal detector; visual mould inspection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Boulic, M.; Phipps, R.A.; Cunningham, M.; Cleland, D.J.; Fjällström, P.; Abe, K.; Howden-Chapman, P. Heater Choice, Dampness and Mould Growth in 26 New Zealand Homes: A Study of Propensity for Mould Growth Using Encapsulated Fungal Spores. Buildings 2015, 5, 149-162.

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