A company in Australia that has developed a software tool to detect moulding and cleanroom maintenance has said it is “ready” to use it in homes across the country.
“This is an exciting technology and one that’s going to be extremely useful to anyone who’s ever been in a home or a building where moulding has been a problem, because you can literally see it on the inside,” Cleanroom Monitor founder and CEO, Ian Firth, told Business Insider.
“Moulding is an extremely prevalent problem in homes, and a lot of times we have no idea what’s happening, and so it can be very, very difficult to find out what’s going on.”
The technology works by monitoring the surface area of a moulding surface with an optical microscope.
“If there’s a lot more mould on the surface, you can get an idea of what’s occurring on that surface, and that can tell you what’s causing it,” Firth said.
“That’s the kind of thing that’s really useful to us.”
Firth and his team also said the technology could be incorporated into homes for cleaning, as well as in homes for maintenance, or in homes as a service to other people.
The company has been able to test the software on its own moulding moulding machine and says it was able to detect the presence of mould in its testing chambers by measuring how much mould was in the air.
It said its software can also be used in a laboratory, but it has not yet tested it out on homes or buildings.
“There’s still lots of work that needs to be done in order to really understand the impact of mould on a home and its residents, and how we can use this technology to help mitigate this issue,” Footh said.
Firth has been in contact with Cleanroom monitor since March 2017, and he said he was able initially to test his software on the machine by placing a piece of moulding material onto the surface of the machine and measuring the area that was exposed to the mould.
“At the time I was doing the testing, I didn’t realise that mould was really an issue,” he said.
But as he started to investigate the problem, Firth realised that mould on his own mould was causing problems.
“So I was kind of shocked to find that mould would be getting on the other side of my machine, and it was really a surprise,” he explained.
“It was a pretty dramatic surprise, because the mould wasn’t there when I was testing.”
“We realised that it wasn’t the mould on that side of the mold that was causing the problem.
We just thought that the mould that was there was just in front of it.”
Footh was able, then, to determine that mould in the test chamber had actually moved and caused the mould to move.
He was able then to figure out what was happening with his own machine and, after a few weeks, he and his co-founder, James Smith, decided to test their own mould detection tool.
The team tested the product in a number of different environments and found it worked well, with the biggest impact on houses where mould had been present for a long period of time.
“Our testing environment actually did show that moulding could actually get on the sides of our mould detection machine, but our test results didn’t show this,” Futh said.
The main advantage of using mould detection technology in homes is that it can detect mould that is coming from outside, such as from outside your home.
The software is able to recognise and then remove mould from your own house, and if the mould is in a moulded area, the software will show you.
“The problem with the mould detection system is that you need to be able to see it because you need the mould in order for it to work,” Fith said.
However, it’s important to remember that mould detection systems are not foolproof.
Futh noted that mould can still grow in houses with no mould, and there is still the risk that mould will form inside the home itself.
“One of the main problems with mould detection is that if you’ve got mould in there and you don’t see it, then you may be in trouble,” Foth said.
He also said that it would be helpful to use mould detection in homes where mould has been present, or where there is a risk of mould growing inside the house.
“You can’t actually remove mould unless you know what’s there,” he added.
Footh also said there were other issues with mould in homes that he thought needed to be addressed before mould detection would be a viable option for people.
For example, Futh pointed out that mould could grow inside houses without mould being present, and could then become more problematic if you had mould in your home, or if you were in a house with mould that you didn’t want to