Condensation damp is an inadvertent increasing problem in modern housing. The many improvements we have all implemented to reduce heat loss from buildings (double glazing, insulation) combined with a reduction in ventilation and more recently reduced heating of homes have resulted in condensation damp becoming the fastest growing problem our property management team encounter. However it is a problem that can be solved with a few small changes to the way we live in our homes.
The first an often biggest challenge is explaining that condensation damp is very different to the dreaded rising damp or dry rot (also caused by moisture).
Damp can be caused either by water seeping into a property from the outside or through condensation created as a result of normal, everyday activities. Excess moisture comes from leaking pipes, wastes or overflows, rain leaking through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, or from water spilling from a blocked gutter.
These causes of damp often leave a ‘tidemark’ and if this is the case, you should contact Around Town Flats, who will arrange for repairs to remove the source of damp.
If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes, it is probably condensation.
Condensation occurs when there is an excessive build up of moisture in the air inside the home. There is always moisture in the air, but people create additional moisture in their homes by:
- Cooking or boiling water
- Taking baths or showers
- Using paraffin or bottled gas heaters
- Drying clothes inside
Warm moist air condenses and forms water when it cools, for example when it touches a cold surface. In your home these are outside walls, mirrors, windows, wall tiles and even on clothes. Many of us remember exhaling our breath onto cold single glazed windows in winter and watching the glass fog over as our warm breath condenses into water droplets.
If this condensation cannot dry out, it will cause mould (a fungal growth) to form on any of the surfaces on which it settles. If you dry out the condensation then the mould has no place to grow.
There are a number of things you can do to limit condensation forming:
- Ventilate to let the moisture out, by opening a bathroom or kitchen window for a while to let the steam escape, or using an extractor fan
- Cover pans and turn down the heat when boiling water
- Switch off boiling kettles
- Dry clothes outside, or in a well ventilated room
- Do not use unvented tumble dryers
- Wipe down surfaces where moisture has settled
- Never cover up airbricks or ventilators
Did you know?
- Each person gives off around ½ litre a day in water vapour through breathing
- Washing up produces 1 litre of water vapour a day
- Washing clothes (if not in a washing machine) creates 2 litres a day
- Drying clothes indoors can produce up to 6 litres a day