There are many homes in the UK which have damp of some kind and every home is at risk of it. There are a few different reasons for damp to appear, some are easier to rectify than others.
Dampness can cause mould on walls, furniture and fabrics. It can damage wall plaster and cause timber window frames, floors and skirting boards rot. It can peel away paint and wallpaper, cause a musty smell, grow dangerous mould, and even damage the structure of a house. It can increase the risk of respiratory illness and can aggravate skin conditions. It also encourages the growth of house dust mites. All in all its not a nice thing to share a house with.
Condensation is the most common reason for damp and mould to appear. It tends to get worse in cold weather. There is always some moisture in the air, even if you can not see it. As the air gets colder, it cannot hold all the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. This is condensation. You notice it when you see your breath on a cold day, or when the mirror mists over when you have a bath or shower.
Condensation occurs mostly where there is little movement of air and can be found in corners, on or near windows, in or behind cupboards or wardrobes and often forms on north facing walls. The warm air inside the house hits the colder glass, walls or other surfaces which creates the condensation.
There are a few ways you can avoid condensation;
• In the colder months, try and keep the home at a steady, consistent temperature. You want to ensure your surfaces don’t get cold enough to create condensation. It’s a good idea to set timers for your heating to turn on periodically throughout the day. Insulating your home will also help keep a level temperature.
• You should ventilate the rooms in a house by leaving doors open so air can circulate. This prevents moisture building up. If you have vents on your windows, open them to help the circulation of air.
• When doing something that creates a lot of steam or moisture – such as bathing, showering or cooking – it’s best to close the doors of the room and open the window. That way the moisture doesn’t spread around the house, but escapes outside instead. Fit extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom to help remove steam from inside.
• Drying washing indoors will cause condensation. If possible, always hang clothes outside to dry even in winter, as long as its not raining! If it’s not possible, it’s a good idea to invest in a tumble dryer. These contain the steam and moisture created when drying clothes, rather than drying them through evaporation into the room.
• If one area of the home is particularly prone to damp and the issue keeps returning, anti-mould or moisture-resistant paint is good at protecting your walls from damp damage. It isn’t much more expensive than traditional paint and comes in a wide variety of colours.
• If you are getting damp behind certain items of furniture, pull them away from the wall slightly during the colder months to ensure a good air flow around them.
If you can’t stop the condensation using the above tips then use a towel to dry windows and sills each day. Also wipe over any other surface that appears to be wet such as walls. This will help avoid mould.
I hope this helps!
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