Why tackle damp and condensation?

Damp homes are unhealthy homes. Damp can lead to mould which is not only unpleasant to look at, but can cause respiratory problems.  Tackling damp and its causes should be a priority in any home which suffers such problems.

How to tackle damp and condensation?

The most important aspect of controlling damp in homes is dealing with the source of the problem. 

Causes

Damp can be caused by a range of things such as:

  • structural problems – which allow damp to work its way in through the roof, walls or floor of the property. These would need to be dealt with professionally.
  • how a home is used - for example, drying clothes on radiators and not having effective extraction in kitchens or bathrooms can raise the humidity levels.  When insulation levels are inadequate (for example single glazed windows or a lack of insulation in walls) then moisture in the air condenses on the cold surfaces.  If moisture does not have a chance to evaporate again quickly then the risk of mould develops and the spores from the mould can present serious health issues.
Dealing with the causes
  • Clothes should be dried outside on a line. If this is not possible then they should be isolated in a spare room with some ventilation or a dehumidifier. Tumble driers are an option but they use a lot of electricity and so are expensive to run and cause carbon emissions.
  • Doors to bathrooms and kitchens should be kept shut when in use (and for a while after). The rooms should have extractor fans fitted venting to the outside.
  • Trickle vents above the windows, particularly in bathrooms and bedrooms, can provide the necessary ventilation when it’s required. Note that many older houses have more than enough ventilation anyway through gaps and cracks!
  • Most lifestyle changes cost little or nothing to implement
  • Upgrading ventilation or insulation may cost a few hundred pounds
  • Structural problems can be more expensive to resolve.
Costs and savings
  • Most lifestyle changes cost little or nothing to implement
  • Upgrading ventilation or insulation may cost a few hundred pounds
  • Structural problems can be more expensive to resolve.

Home Energy – Damp and Condensation (L1)                                     WinACC November 2014

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