Keep your home free from damp, condensation and mould
Most homes will be affected by damp, condensation or mould at some point. However, the good news is that you can solve the problems yourself by making a few changes to your habits and lifestyle.
By following this guide, you should be able to identify different types of damp, how they are caused and more importantly how to prevent damp.
Types of Damp
There are four main types of dampness that could affect your home. It is important to understand the difference between them so that you can effectively treat the problem.
1. Rising Damp
This is caused by water rising from the ground into the home. Rising damp will only affect basements and ground floor rooms. It will normally rise no more than 12 to 24 inches above ground level and usually leaves a ‘tide mark’ low down on the wall.
Rising damp will be present all year round but is more noticeable in winter. If left untreated it may cause wall plaster to crumble and paper to lift in the affected area.
2. Penetrating Dampness
This type of dampness will only be found on external walls or in the case of roof leaks, on ceilings.
It only appears because of a defect outside the home, such as missing pointing to the brickwork, cracked rendering or missing roof tiles. These defects then allow water to pass from the outside to the inner surfaces.
3. Defective Plumbing
Leaks from water and waste pipes, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, are relatively common. They can affect both external and internal walls and ceilings. The affected area looks and feels damp to the touch and remains damp whatever the weather conditions outside.
A quick examination of the water and waste pipes serving the kitchen and bathroom and the seals around the bath, shower and sinks; plus the external pipework, such as guttering will usually find the source of the problem.
This is by far the most common cause of dampness.
Condensation is caused by water vapour or moisture from inside the dwelling coming into contact with a colder surface, such as a window or wall. The resultant water drops may then soak into the wallpaper or paintwork or even plasterwork. In time, the affected damp areas then attract black mould that grows on its surface.
Condensation mainly occurs during the colder months. It is usually found in the corners of rooms walls and near windows.it is also found behind wardrobes and beds, especially when they are pushed up against external walls.
Note. Black mould is frequently seen on this type of dampness.
6 ways to deal with damp condensation and mould
1. Produce Less Moisture
Ordinary daily activities produce a lot of moisture. To reduce this:
- Dry clothes outdoors. Avoid drying clothes indoors, or if you have to, dry them on a clothes airer in the bathroom with the door closed and either an extractor fan on or a window slightly open.
- Vent tumble driers to the outside (never into the home) or buy a condensing type.
- Cover pans when cooking and do not leave kettles boiling.
- Do not use paraffin or liquid petroleum (bottled) gas heaters. They produce large amounts of water vapour and are very expensive to run!
2. Remove Excess Moisture
Always wipe the windows and window sills of your home every morning to remove condensation. This is especially important in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen - just opening the window is not enough.
3. Ventilate to Remove Moisture
It is important to remove condensation and excess moisture by ventilating rooms. You can ventilate a room without making draughts or causing it to become cold.
4. Heat Your Home a Little More
In cold weather, the best way to keep rooms warm and avoid condensation is to keep low background heat on all day rather than short bursts of high heat when you are in the house.
Good heating controls on your radiators, room thermostats and a timer will help control the heating throughout your house and manage costs.
5. Insulate and Draught-proof
This will help keep your home warm and save money on your heating bills. There are number of ways in which you can insulate and draught proof your home:
- Insulate your loft
- Buy draught excluder for every door which prevents heat from escaping
- Fill gaps around windows with self-adhesive foam strips
6. Dealing with black mould
Black mould can grow on walls, ceilings, furnishings and even on clothes and toys, which can be depressing and expensive.
To kill and remove the mould:
- Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth and throw away after. Or if possible use a vacuum cleaner and empty after. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air.
- Wipe down affected areas using a fungicidal wash or diluted bleach – remember always use rubber gloves and wear safety glasses.
After treatment redecorate using a fungicidal paint or wall paper paste – do not paint over using an ordinary paint