Humidity and mold in your Cyprus home

Влажность и плесень в жилье на Кипре
18 June 2020 Irina Zholnirova

If you have never lived by the sea, then the high humidity and problems it creates can come as a complete surprise.

Why is your home so humid?

Unpleasant dampness appears in home as a result of two factors: external and internal.

External one is the weather. Dampness can be caused by:

  1. wind from the sea
  2. precipitation and cloudiness
  3. diurnal temperature and pressure variation

Dealing with external factors is not so easy, especially if the wet weather lasts for several days. The only way out is to install a home dehumidifier.

Internal factors affecting air humidity are human activities. We line dry clothes, take a bath or shower, boil water for tea and soup and yep, we all just breathe. If moisture does not leave the apartment through open windows, it becomes stuffy and damp.

Internal factors include construction mistakes: bad ventilation, poor insulation (if any), improper positioning of windows, and so on.

The most difficult time comes when external and internal factors merge together. For example, in a cramped apartment they line dry laundry and cook at the same time while it's raining. Then your skin literally becomes damp.

But the feeling of dampness is not the worst thing caused by moisture. Mold is much worse and it becomes a real scourge of poorly ventilated apartments.

How does mold form and why is it dangerous?

Mold is a fungus spread by microspores. Mold loves humidity and closed windows, therefore it appears in damp houses and apartments in Cyprus.

The fungus can be different types, of which the most harmful is the one that lives on the walls.

Dark, grayish or whitish spots on furniture, walls, ceiling, even on the floor look ugly and pose a health hazard!

  • Black mold contains carcinogens that cause cancer
  • Fungal spores can provoke respiratory diseases, even bronchial asthma
  • Allergy sufferers feel uncomfortable in a moldy environment
  • Fungus weaken immunity, especially children one
  • Finally, some types of fungus cannot be removed, and serious repairs have to be done again.

Do not think that mold appears only in the Cypriot winter as it can appear even on hot summer days. Therefore, the dryness of the room must be ensured year-round.

In general, living in a humid room is unpleasant. The skin gets wet, the nose clogs up, you don't want to touch anything. Therefore, it is better to find property in Cyprus where such risk factors are minimized.

Property area searching based on dryness

It is obvious that the entire coast of Cyprus has high humidity. But this does not mean that absolutely all seafront houses and apartments are damp. It's just that housing should be designed, built and equipped in accordance with the local climate features (more on this below).

It is a big mistake to think that there can be no humidity in the high mountains of Cyprus.

Of course, there is not so much humidity at an altitude of several hundred meters. But it happens that a cloud “gets stuck” to a mountain. Then the whole area is covered by a humid fog, which can last for several days. As an example, the Troodos mountains are often shrouded in clouds.

If we talk about the foothills, then humid seabreeze can be there as well. And the clouds can be met here.

What can be concluded from the above? The foothills and mountains are drier than the seacoast of Cyprus, especially in the summer season. In winter, high in the mountains, it snows instead of rain, which also excludes severe dampness. But if you want to live closer to the sea, you need to carefully choose your real estate.

How to choose an apartment in Cyprus without high humidity?

One of the main recommendations when buying a home in Cyprus (this also applies if you want to rent for a long time) is to make a deal during the cold season. When it's wet and windy outside, it's harder to live in a property without renovation. Drafts, not insulated rooms, mold spots will become a problem in winter.

If in doubt, avoid the first floors. They are the darkest, and that means they are more likely to have mold.

What you need to pay attention to in the apartment in Cyprus:

  • Bathroom ventilation. There must be at least a small window or a well-functioning ventilation hole
  • Kitchen. This is also a place of high humidity. thus the kitchen area should be well ventilated, and condensation is unacceptable on the windows
  • Internal slopes on the windows. If there are gaps, there will be condensation.
  • External corners and walls. There should be no drafts or cold places, the ceiling and floor in these places should be dry, clean and even
  • Flooring. If it is swollen somewhere, it can be due to dampness.
  • Walls hidden by furniture. They are poorly ventilated, which means that mold can insidiously hide behind them.

The real estate is better to be inspected during or immediately after heavy rains. Rainy season lasts from the end of December to the end of February. Any leaks and stagnant damp air in a bad apartment will be easily noticed.

How to choose a house without high humidity in Cyprus?

The same rules apply to the choice of a private house as for an apartment in Cyprus.

They can be supplemented with the following points:

  • Check the basement if you have one. Often dampness accumulates below, spreading mold along the floor and walls.
  • Check the attic. Any changes in color, ceiling surface or stains can indicate a leak.
  • Check the condition of the ventilation system. If the house is not new, find out how long ago it was cleaned
  • Clarify all points regarding heating, as the rooms should be heated evenly
  • If possible, order a thermal imaging survey at home as it can show walls cracks and other problems that are not visible to the naked eye.

Take a look at the whole property . Pay special attention to dark places where there is no sunlight (storerooms, basements, low-light rooms). Assess the condition of the doors, if they have any holes, because in winter they should save the home from cold and condensation.

Five ways to get rid of mold naturally

Everybody who lives by the sea in Cyprus knows this problem: in the winter they want to wash their clothes, then line dry clothes while it's raining. And even the most pleasant apartment turns into a damp cave.

Then mold spots appear in the most unexpected places. They can be found on wallpaper, on the ceiling, on towels and upholstered furniture, inside wardrobes.

Fortunately, almost all cases can be fixed:

  • Mold is removed from tiles, linoleum, plastic and any non-porous surfaces with bleach, chlorine-containing substances, a solution of vinegar or citric acid (1 teaspoon per glass of water)
  • Wallpaper, plaster or paintwork affected by mold must be removed, this is done so that the fungus does not go deep into the walls. After removing the moldy area, the wall is thoroughly dried, treated with a special anti-fungal agent.
  • The wood can be treated with an antifungal spray purchased from a hardware store. You can make it by yourself: 1 teaspoon of tea tree, lavender or grapefruit essential oil for a liter of water. The mixture is poured into a spray bottle and sprayed onto the affected surface
  • Upholstered furniture is saved with a solution of non-aggressive / gentle bleach and water: 1 liter of mixture for 5 liters of water. After this, it is advisable to dry the furniture outdoors under the direct sunlight. Another option is a baking soda solution, but it can leave whitish streaks on the fabric.
  • If mold appears on your clothes and dry-cleaning is not an option, you can use lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide. You should be careful with the latter as it gives a slight lightening effect. Silk cloth can be salvaged with ammonia diluted with water
  • The most radical method is to call a special service that saves the properties from the fungus. This method is ideal for problem cases.

If the mold is over, and the unpleasant smell remains, there are a couple of good ways to get rid of it too.

First: put dry wood charcoal in the dampest and coldest places of housing for several days.

Second: use a mixture of lavender, tea tree, coniferous or citrus essential oils in the form of a spray or in an aroma lamp.

Mold prevention in Cyprus

There will be no trouble with mold if you follow simple rules.

There are not so many of them as it might seem at first glance:

  • warm up the rooms evenly in winter
  • avoid condensation in the bathroom and kitchen
  • treat problem spaces with a special antifungal solution
  • ventilate the room regularly
  • spare the money for a dehumidifier
  • clean the air conditioner regularly (it also accumulates spores)
  • do not place furniture close to walls, leave here a small gap
  • check clothes, especially those that are little used and usually lay in closets
  • destroy any piece of mold right away, otherwise it will instantly spread to neighboring surfaces.

Dampness is a problem only if you are not prepared for it. Experienced owners keep their home in order and avoid the fungus.

Read more:

  • How to prepare an apartment or house in Cyprus for sale (link)
  • Real estate hot deals in Cyprus: where to look and how to avoid fraud? (link)
  • Mortgages in Cyprus (link)
  • Renovation in a rented apartment in Cyprus: all the pros and cons (link)
  • Sale and purchase of property in Cyprus. Most important things to know (link)
  • Types of property in Cyprus (link)
  • Recommended appliances and furniture to be in a rental property (link)
  • How to look for your dream home in Cyprus (link)
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