Damp prevention to keep your house protected this winter

moisture

With the onset of winter, so are the thriving conditions for damp to arise. Condensation as well as rising and penetrative damp are the primary sources of moisture in a property. This is a perfect condition for mould the thrive in, which cannot grow without moisture. British houses are said to be the dampest in Europe. Not only can it cause structural issues to your property, but it can also affect your health. One survey found that in the UK 38% had condensation issues and 29% had mould.

Rising Damp

This is where water flows vertically up from the ground through the property’s wall structure, reaching 1.2 metres on average. This normally takes place in older properties built before the 1920’s, buildings with no damp-proof course or more modern buildings with air bricks, which can become blocked or sealed up over time. Discolouration, salt deposits, split, rotting and soft walls or skirting boards can sometimes be a clear identification for this type of damp.

To prevent this, it is essential the property has a damp proof course (DPC). This is a waterproof material that is inserted to a minimum of 150mm above the external ground level. Older houses DPC used to be made out of rock or roof felting. Now, buildings DPC’s are plastic or creams.

Penetrating Damp

Internal leaking, plumbing, or by water coming through walls or roofs is usually the cause of this issue.

Dripping or puddles of water, musty smells, mould or mildew and decaying brick are signs of penetrating damp. Furthermore, if any damp patches on surfaces become worse during heavy rain this is also a large indicator.

It’s hard to prevent but easier to treat once spotted. However, some tips to prevention are to regularly check the property. This includes checking the loft for any water coming through the roof and checking faults on the outside walls, seals and pipes. It can also be beneficial to check the moisture levels around your house with a special moisture machine. Although, to do this correctly it is best to hire professionals who know how to use and spot damp correctly.

Condensation

The most common cause cause of damp is condensation, especially in winter. Government data found that “an average of 3% of households in England had damp in at least one room of their home”. Condensation occurs when the air’s warm moisture comes into contact with cold surfaces, such as windows or walls. It can sometimes be an issue with the property itself, but sometimes from the practices of those living or working in the property.

For those living and working in the property, it is important to increase ventilation, reduce moisture and damp and to heat and insulate your property to avoid condensation.

Here are our key tips to do this.

To increase ventilation:

  1. Open windows
  2. Buy/turn on extractor fans
  3. Trickle vents (these encourage airflow)
  4. Leave gaps between furniture and surfaces
  5. Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes by opening and not overcrowding them
  6. Vent tumble dryers outside

To reduce moisture and damp by:

  1. Closing doors of rooms that produce moisture when in use, such as the kitchen and bathroom to avoid it spreading round the property
  2. Putting lids on cooking pans
  3. Drying any condensation as soon as possible
  4. Purchasing dehumidifiers to place around the property
  5. Drying clothes outside or in a ventilated room such as the bathroom and not on radiators
  6. Avoiding using gas or paraffin heaters
  7. Not leaving kettles boiling more than needed (consider purchasing an electric kettle)

To heat and insulate:

  1. Double glazing
  2. Don’t cover or block radiators, this will block the heat
  3. Heat up your home using heaters and radiators regularly
  4. Set low radiator temperatures for longer periods of time
  5. Let natural light enter

At CPL t/a Rainbow International we are experts in dealing with a wide range of damp and moisture related issues. To find out how we can help, give us a call on 0800 0304360.

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