Dampness in the home can be a major problem. It can cause mould on walls and furniture and make timber window frames and floors rot. It can encourage the growth of house dust mites and increase the risk of respiratory illness.
Causes of dampness
Before you can treat damp and mould in your home you will need to find out what is causing it. Dampness can be caused by:
- Condensation – this is the most common cause of damp homes.
- Penetrating damp – this is when rainwater gets in due to leaks in pipes, roofs, walls and windows.
- Rising damp – this is when moisture enters from the ground through the walls and floor.
If you have penetrating or rising damp you may need to employ a contractor to carry out works.
If you rent your property, contact your landlord about damp problems. They will need to find out what the problem is and arrange to get it fixed. If they refuse to carry out works you can contact us for advice.
If the dampness is not caused by penetrating or rising damp then it is most probably due to condensation.
How does condensation cause mould growth?
There is always moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. When the air in our homes is saturated and cannot hold any more moisture then it drops that moisture.
The amount of moisture the air can hold depends on how hot or cold it is. Warmer air can hold more moisture and colder air can hold less moisture.
When warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces it can no longer hold all of the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. This is condensation. It appears on cold surfaces like walls, windows and places where there is little movement of air.
What can I do?
If you reduce the amount of condensation in your home you can prevent dampness.
Produce less moisture
Following some simple tips will greatly reduce the amount of excess moisture in your home. You should cover pans in the kitchen and use and extractor fan if you have one. Try to dry washing outside, or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and keep a fan on or window open.
Ventilate to remove moisture
If you remove the moisture from your home it will have less chance to condense. If you have trickle vents on your windows you should keep them open or keep a small window ajar when someone is in the room.
You should ventilate kitchens and bathrooms to remove excess moisture.
Insulate, draught proof and heat your home
If you keep your home warm then you will get less condensation. If you insulate and draught proof it will also save you money on your heating bills. You may be able to get a grant to insulate your home.