Steam Disinfection of Internal Windows and Frames for Condensation Management and Mould Control

Cameron Jones 

Director, Biological Health Services, Toorak, VIC, Australia

 

Introduction

Unwanted dampness inside buildings can occur because of rainwater, accidental leaks, human activities or from intrinsic problems caused by building design or construction materials. This poster reports on a practical intervention focussing on mould control in a newly constructed building used for social housing that has had multiple adverse amenity and OHS occupant reports regarding condensation-mediated dampness and mould growth indoors.

Methods

Indoor air quality and mould inspections were performed on a small subset of problem apartments representative of the building. A pilot decontamination program treated 12 apartments using steam disinfection in conjunction with HEPA air extractors and a portable dehumidifier before extending this to a further 28 apartments. Steam could be easily applied to both clean (abrasively dislodge with pressure) and disinfect (vapour contact time) mould affected surfaces; while the HEPA extractors removed airborne particulate matter over a two-week period.

Results

The ability of steam to penetrate hard to reach areas of the frame, screens and sills, minimised mould re-growth over a 12-month period. Steam + HEPA were regarded as ‘make-safe’ works since fundamental building issues remained. Residents were questioned after the interventions and they self-reported: better health, less mould smell, fewer headaches, few infections, cleaner appearance, windows easier to maintain.

Conclusion

Environmental cleaning (steam + HEPA) used no chemicals and was considered a positive intervention that simultaneously removed all of the window-localized mould returning these areas to an ‘as new’ condition; whilst also educating residents about the importance of improved ventilation and use of disinfectant wipes.

About the College

The ACIPC is the peak body for Infection Prevention and Control professionals in the Australasian region. Our stated vision is the prevention and control of infection in our communities. We commenced in January 2012 bringing together the various State and Territory infection control associations formerly in AICA (The Australian Infection Control Association) to support and encourage collaboration across Australasia.

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