Everyone knows that if they have a large hole in their roof, or leave their windows open during a thunderstorm, they will end up with soggy carpets. But they are far less familiar with some of the other causes of damp – and, just as importantly, how to combat them.
Here are our top 10 tips on how to reduce condensation:
1. Good ventilation is the key
It is always better to have the odd gust of cold air through the house than let condensation take a grip. Make sure you air rooms well, even in winter, and if you have a recurring problem with condensation, invest in a humidifier. Anything that inhibits good ventilation, such as blocked chimneys, increases the risk of condensation.
2. Watch out for the physical signs of condensation
These range from a build-up of moisture on windows to peeling wallpaper to damp patches on walls. If left untreated for too long, condensation can create mould growth which has potentially harmful implications for your health, as well as being unsightly. Don’t forget that many Victorian properties do not have damp course or cavity walls, so it is important to be aware of the risks from damp.
3. Dry your clothes outside, weather permitting, as wet laundry is a well-known source of condensation
If you must dry them indoors, leave the door of the room open, so that the air can circulate freely and prevent condensation forming. You should also leave the windows open a crack, even in winter.
4. Install an extractor fan in your kitchen
You should also make sure, when cooking or boiling a kettle, that the door of the kitchen is kept shut, as far as possible. This will stop the condensation spreading to other parts of the house.
5. Cover pots when cooking with boiling water on top of the stove
This will reduce the steam produced and prevent condensation forming. You should also either open a window or use an extractor fan while cooking – and continue to do so for 15 minutes afterwards.
6. If you have a washing-machine or tumble-dryer, make sure that they are properly vented
A lot of moisture can escape into the atmosphere in a short space of time.
7. Leave a small gap between your furniture and the walls
This is a trick people often miss because the temptation is to maximise space by having sofas and cupboards flush against the wall. But leaving a gap enables the air to circulate freely. Otherwise condensation can form at the bottom of the walls with mould resulting in the longer term.
8. When running a bath or having a shower, leave the window open a little
Otherwise unless you have an extractor fan installed in your bathroom, the steam of the hot running water can quickly re-form as condensation.
9. When the weather is cold, try to maintain a constant temperature in your home
It is the interaction of cold and warm air that releases moisture.
10. Do not stuff your cupboards and wardrobes so full that the air cannot circulate inside
This is a sure-fire recipe for damp and mould.
Understanding more -
Condensation tends to be slightly more common in older properties than new-builds, although it is regularly found in both. Preventing and combating condensation – which basically occurs when warm air comes into contact with cold surfaces – is mainly just a question of vigilance and common sense. Yet if the problem recurs, you may need to adopt more aggressive counter-measures. Rising damp used to be a subject of comedy. It provided the title for one of Britain’s best-loved sitcoms. But actual rising damp can hit homeowners hard in the wallet and adversely affect their health. Rising damp, as the name suggests, is caused by groundwater finding its way into a home through stonework or brickwork. It can be combated through a modern, properly maintained, damp-proof course and make sure you have a certificate to show that the damp-proofing has been done to a high standard, as when selling your house - this may be wanted! Maintaining the fabric of the exterior of your property is also advisable. Always remember that water can get into a property through its walls as well as through its roof and floors. Poor pointing or damaged masonry is often a harbinger of damp problems further down the line, so look out for potential weak spots. Check that your guttering is in order! If your guttering is defective and rainwater streams down the side of the building, it will only be a matter of time before the water finds its way into your home. So check your guttering regularly and, if there are blocked drainpipes or other problems, deal with them sooner rather than later. Watch out for black mould. Another warning sign to householders that they have a damp problem is black mould forming on either external or internal walls. The mould is not just unsightly, but potentially hazardous, because it attracts mites and, in extreme cases, could cause respiratory problems (You can get simple mould eradication kits online to combat the problem).
Remember that damp has internal as well as external causes. If you are boiling a kettle or having a shower and the windows mist over, it is a tell-tale sign of condensation. It is one of the most common forms of damp in the home, and its harmful consequences are often overlooked. You need to be on your guard to stop excess condensation from doing lasting damage. Consider installing ventilation aids. When there is moisture in the air inside a property, the best way to stop it lingering is through ventilation. Make sure you air rooms well, even in winter. Opening windows will often do the trick, but in kitchens and bathrooms, where the problem is usually most acute, ventilation fans can help speed up the process.
If you remain vigilant and think proactively you will save yourself the stresses and strains – not to mention the financial costs – of unwanted damp in the home. If you do have any concerns about damp at your property, we here at Hawkins Sales & Lettings are on hand for any questions or queries that may arise.