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Damp: How and Why?

Damp occurs when there is excess unwanted moisture in the air that has no way of escaping. Excess moisture can be caused by steam when cooking, drying clothes inside the home and perspiration caused through showering and bathing. Any building or plumbing problems that allow water/moisture into the property can lead to damp problems. Condensation is the most common cause of damp in many houses, in particular in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. It occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces causing water to be deposited on the surface. Rising damp is one of the most debated forms of damp. It occurs when natural ground water around a property rises up through brickwork and up the wall.

EXCESS MOISTURE

Moisture gets into the air in our homes through everyday activities like cooking, washing, showering and drying clothes. Through these activities alone, one person can contribute four pints of water to their home’s environment in just one day. With double glazing and insulation, it becomes extrememly hard for this moist air to exit your home.

POORLY HEATED HOMES

Warm air can hold a greater amount of moisture than cooler air. This means that the temperature of the air in your home and of the impermeable surfaces has an impact on the amounts of condensation you may experience. Homes that are under-heated can increase condensation. Also, dramatic increases or decreases in temperature can also increase condensation. It is therefore important to consistently heat your home, increasing the average temperature of surfaces.

POOR VENTILATION

A home suffering with poor ventilation is prone to condensation and mould growth. Adequate air flow allows warm, moisture-laden air to escape from the home. However, if the home is lacking in ventilation, this warm air will deposit moisture on the coldest surface available – this is commonly windows or outside walls.

Living with Wet Walls

The NHS explains that contact with mould spores can leave you more susceptible to developing a range of different health conditions. The most common of these health conditions are listed below. If a house is cold over extended periods, condensation, damp and mould may begin to develop. This can result in an increased frequency of colds, flus, other respiratory infections, circulatory problems, diabetes and even arthritis. This then leads to an increased number of visits to doctors and therefore an increased use of pharmaceutical treatments. Some of these conditions can lead to more severe illnesses like asthma and pneumonia. Bad insulation is documented to compromise people’s health. Skin rashes are caused by an allergic reaction to mould spores. This allergic reaction can affect people who are already prone to skin breakouts, such as those suffering with eczema, as well as individuals who don’t have an underlying skin condition. The stress of living in a mouldy home can be high. There is the damage to your possessions, the unattractive appearance and smell, and the concerns around its impact on your health and that of your loved ones. Some people may feel overwhelmed by it and not see a clear resolution or are concerned about the financial costs. Research also suggests that mould toxicity, a condition that occurs when mould toxins accumulate in the body, can also lead to symptoms of depression, anxiety, attentional problems, brain fog and insomnia.

How to Combat Damp

Condensation is the most common type of damp and is also the easiest to fix. It can often be solved cheaply and quickly, and sometimes without the need for professional help. Condensation can be treated by reducing air humidity or keeping surfaces above dew point temperature. Humidity is reduced by cutting the amount of moisture available or increasing ventilation by opening windows, etc. Tumble dryers should be vented to the outside if not of the condenser type, and clothes drying indoors is best avoided.

Penetrating damp is caused by water leaking through walls. It tends to happen as a result of structural problems, such as faulty guttering or roofing, or cracks in external walls. Penetrating damp can be caused by water leaking from gutters and downpipes on the outside of your home, so examine them for cracks. Fixing them could solve the problem.

A Dry House; A Happy You

The heat loss of a building has a significant effect of the Energy Assessment and performance of a building, this is reflected in the Energy Performance Certificate that a building is rated with. In fact, only using the heating when you need it is actually better for your bank account overall, as you’re saving energy. Your home is constantly losing heat and energy to the world outside, so when you keep the heating on all day, you’re losing energy all day too. If you only heat your house when necessary, then you’re losing the minimal amount of heat. You’re not likely to need your heating on when your curled up under a duvet while your sleeping, or when you know you’re going to be out of the house. Try timing your heating so that it’s warm when you wake up or come home. In fact not heating your house through the winter or colder months can cause real issues for buildings, especially if it has been heated previously, flooded or has a lack of ventilation or has damp problems. When the temperature drops, cold air outdoors, can increase the problems with condensation in the home. That could mean damp walls as water vapour condenses on them, which will not only increase heat loss, but could also cause structural or cosmetic damage that will have a cost attached to them.The weather in the UK maybe not extreme but it is cold and wet rather than what other northern regions experience of cold and dry. There is no place like home and feeling cold in your castle is made even worse by rain on the outside and damp on the inside. Condensation which can actually be really problematic and have health effects. It is caused by excessive moisture and differing temperatures between the outside and in. Mould needs good humidity to thrive and storing open containers of fluids in rooms with heating on will cause higher then normal moisture from evaporation. Black mould growth and mould problems are something that is found in excessively damp homes and needs to be eradicated for the occupants to remain healthy. One of the best solutions to condensation is to heat up your home. Central heating is a perfect way to heat your home and stop fluctuating temperatures that cause condensation.

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