Restoration UK explains how to minimise your risk of damp in their blog which they have kindly shared with us.
Many homes suffer from damp, particularly as the weather gets colder. Condensation is one of the most common causes of damp, but many people are unaware of how much lifestyle factors can affect levels of moisture in their home. However, with a little care and attention, you can fight back against damp and protect your property
It may sound obvious but water in the air equates to damp in your home. Many people fail to connect the water that they use with damp issues in their home. If you have a shower or bath, the moist air needs to go somewhere. It’s best to ensure your bathroom is ventilated to ensure you don’t suffer from condensation and the dreaded black mould. If you don’t have ventilation, make sure you open the window to allow moist air to escape. And don’t forget to close the bathroom door- not just while you shower, but afterwards too, so you don’t spread damp through your home. Dry towels outside or on a towel rack, rather than radiators, after bathing: obviously, leaving them in a pile on the floor will only add to any damp problems.
Similarly, cooking is another common way that water gets into the air. Close your kitchen door and open the window while you’re cooking. Again, ventilation is key. Put lids on pans too – you’d be surprised at how much water can escape, particularly if you’re boiling a pan of water for pasta or potatoes. Other damp-sources in the kitchen can include tumble driers (if not externally vented) and self-defrosting fridges and freezers. Make sure you dry your floor after washing it too, rather than letting it ‘air dry’.
Be aware that more people = more damp. Humans are water-producing machines. The average human sweats and breathes out around 8 pints of water in twelve hours. If your home has more people living in it than it was designed for, this can lead to damp issues. Make sure you are extra-vigilant about letting air in, and dampness out, by opening the windows and, better yet, using a ventilation system.
Avoid drying clothes indoors if you can. If that’s not possible, use a tumble drier that vents outdoors, dry clothes in the bathroom with the door closed and window open, or use a drying rack in the coldest room in the house. It may take longer for clothes to dry but you’ll have less of an issue with humidity and subsequently, damp.
If you know your house has ongoing damp problems, it can be worth investing in a dehumidifier. Remember to empty it regularly – you can use the water on the garden to avoid water waste. It’s also a good way to get an idea of exactly how much moisture is in the air in your home.
House plants can be lovely to look at but can also lead to condensation, releasing around 0.5 litres of water per (medium sized) plant per week (source). Make sure you open windows after watering, or ensure the plants are in a well-ventilated area.
Fish tanks can also contribute to damp issues so don’t forget to regularly air out any room with a fish tank in it or, better yet, get it ventilated to deal with the extra moisture.
Air flow is essential when battling damp. Don’t over-fill wardrobes or cupboards, or stack your belongings against the walls: ensure there is space for air to flow. Cutting holes in the back panel of a wardrobe, and positioning it 50mm from the wall also helps. If you can, position your wardrobe against internal partition walls.
Warmth counters dampness. If you can, leave heating on at a low level. Keeping your home warm with insulation and draught-proofing will also help, as long as it is installed by an expert. NB: The wrong form of insulation can lead to more damp problems so always make sure you use a qualified expert who’s a member of the PCA.
Remember that what’s going on outside your home can affect what happens inside it. Flowerbeds and raised pathways that are next to your walls and higher than the level of your damp course can introduce damp to your home. It is easy for this to happen over time and go unnoticed, so if you have a damp issue, check outdoors as well as indoors to identify whether there are any issues.
William Morris famously said, ‘Stave off decay by daily care, to prop a perilous wall or mend a leaky roof’. Your home is almost certainly one of the biggest investments you have, so look after it. Check the roof for cracked or missing tiles or unsound chimneys; ensure guttering is clear of leaves – or ice, as the weather worsens; and ensure your pipes and tanks are insulated to avoid pipes freezing. Know where your stopcock is in case of any problems. It’s usually located under the stairs or kitchen sink.
Check the building facade: Broken or damaged pointing can allow water into your home so make sure you get it fixed before water gets in. Stormdry will help prevent water from getting in.
While damp can be annoying, paying attention to the lifestyle factors that can make it worse, and ensuring your property is maintained will help you minimise damage and avoid expensive repair work. If your home is already suffering from mould, check out our article on mould removal here.
Restoration UK offers damp proofing and waterproofing materials, wood treatments and condensation control equipment and products. They also offer free technical advice and next day delivery. For further advice, please call Restoration UK on 01509 216 323 or use their contact form to get in touch.
Disclaimer – This is a guest blog and does not represent the views of Right Surveyors Ltd or any of its associated companies or employees.