Everyone wants their house to be a safe and welcoming place to relax, raise a family and enjoy security.
We use alarm systems to protect the home from intruders and have regular safety checks to ensure the electrical systems don’t cause any damage – but another danger is lurking in the distance.
With everything that can go wrong with a house, dampness might not seem like a big deal – but it can lead to serious consequences and costly repairs.
In this guide, we’ll reveal the dangers associated with damp and how you can prevent it from happening.
What is damp, and what causes it?
In simple terms, damp is excess moisture, and it often occurs in properties due to condensation and a lack of ventilation. However, rising damp is also an issue, with many properties dealing with its effects each year.
To successfully prevent damp, it’s essential to understand which type your house is most susceptible to.
In most cases, the dampness in your home will be down to condensation – especially if it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom. There are two forms of condensation you should know about:
Surface condensation: This form of condensation occurs when hot or damp air combines with a cold surface; it causes water deposits, which result in excess moisture.
Interstitial condensation: Interstitial condensation is often more problematic because it appears in the roof or wall cavities and is much harder to reach.
There are numerous causes of condensation. Let’s take a look at them.
Lack of ventilation
When a home or room has good airflow, it will release moisture, preventing condensation. However, homes with poor airflow often find condensation occurring alongside humidity.
Kitchens and bathroom windows are significant contributors to excess moisture, as these rooms use a lot of water each day.
Some find fans and dehumidifiers help the situation, but mold spores will form quickly if you leave the moisture to stand.
Too much moisture
Even the simplest of activities can result in excess moisture in any room. If you regularly take showers and don’t dry the floor afterward, mold spores will form. It’s the same with the kitchen or any leaks that go unattended.
Many people also have to deal with damp air when drying their clothes, so it’s best to put them outside if you don’t have a dryer.
There’s a reason mold forms mainly in the winter, and that’s because condensation occurs when warm air meets cold surfaces. If you don’t heat your home effectively, it can quickly create damp patches and lead to mold problems.
While condensation forms due to human error or changing temperatures, rising damp occurs due to rising groundwater. When this water penetrates a property’s bricks and exterior walls, it can rise and impact the rest of the property.
There are two primary causes of rising damp, including no damp-proof course or problems with the one a property already has.
We’ll explore how DPC can prevent damp later in this post.
In many ways, penetrating damp is similar to rising damp because it occurs in the property’s exterior but penetrates through the walls and ceiling.
Most properties won’t have this issue, but it is common in older buildings, so if you own a period property, you’ll have to take steps to prevent the problem.
Here are some of the most common causes of penetrating damp problems.
If a building doesn’t have a strong structure, it can absorb moisture from excess rainfall. When rain breaks through the roof or walls of your property, it can cause long-term damage that’s harder to treat than condensation.
Plumbing systems are necessities, but that doesn’t always mean they’re reliable. Minor leaks can turn into significant problems that require immediate attention, and issues with pipes can create dampness and mold throughout the home.
The primary role of guttering is to divert water away from the house, but if these gutters don’t function adequately, the water will build up, creating leaks. When excess water goes through your external walls, it will build up, resulting in damp patches.
Preventing rising and penetrative damp
Rising and penetrating damp are rarely due to human error, but you can take vital steps to prevent them from occurring.
Invest in an effective DPC (Damp Proof Course)
In its simplest form, a damp-proof course is a barrier that stops water from moving up exterior walls, making it an ideal solution for rising damp.
If your property doesn’t have a good damp proof course, small amounts of water could seep through the external walls and into the building, causing severe issues.
Investing in a damp proof can save you a lot of money in the long run and prevent excessive moisture from entering the property.
Clean or replace your gutters
Penetrating damp will come through your external walls and wreak havoc with the interior ones. The best way to ensure it doesn’t happen is by maintaining your gutters and ensuring they can still function properly.
Regular cleaning is effective, but you might need to replace your gutters if they are worn or cracked.
How to prevent excess moisture in your house
If left unattended, damp can lead to water damage and mold, so a small issue quickly becomes expensive and often requires remediation services. Luckily, there are ways to reduce condensation and prevent dampness.
Next, we’ll take a look at them in more detail.
Wipe your windows and sills daily
When you leave damp for a long time, it will inevitably turn into mold, but setting a few minutes aside each morning will make a significant difference. All you need to do is grab some kitchen towels and wipe the windows and sills to remove any excess moisture.
Some people also use fungicidal washes regularly to ensure no mold spores. You should prioritize wiping down the windows and sills during winter, especially as the cold weather often increases condensation.
Deal with bathroom moisture
If one place consistently sees its fair share of damp, it’s the bathroom. Always close the door when showering and open a window. If your bathroom doesn’t have a window, the chance of mold growth is a lot higher.
Installing an extractor fan in the bathroom is the best way to improve ventilation and air circulation. Extractor fans remove moisture from the building and move it outside the property, ensuring you won’t have to worry about condensation.
Be consistent with temperatures
Maintaining a consistent temperature within the home is essential, especially during the winter months. Cold walls are a big problem for any property, especially when combined with hot air.
The best way to reduce the risks of moist air is by keeping your central heating system stable. It doesn’t necessarily need to be hot but warm and stable enough to prevent the air from hitting cold surfaces.
Insulate your loft
It’s also important to remember that the roof is one of the major sources for condensation to form, and it often causes bigger problems because people don’t notice the damp immediately.
However, musty smells are often an indicator of mold in the loft space, and they can still damage the rest of your property.
Adding insulation to the roof keeps you warm when the temperature drops and removes moisture.
Use moisture-resistant paint
Moisture-resistant paint is great for homes with a lot of condensation because it is a barrier between your walls and the damp. However, paint doesn’t reduce moisture in the air, so it’s not a complete fix – but it will offer some protection.
Most waterproof paints contain fungicides that counteract mold and last around five years. After that time, they’ll not be as effective, but it’s easy to refresh the paint.
Invest in a dehumidifier
Without a doubt, dehumidifiers are one of the best ways to remove excess moisture from your home and reduce the chances of damp and mold. When moisture levels get too high, damp will allow mold spores to flourish on any surface.
Black mold is hazardous and can destroy your personal belongings, but a dehumidifier sucks the moisture out of the air, ensuring your property can stay dry.
There are plenty of effective dehumidifiers around and at different price points, but you should find one that suits the size of your home.
Use common sense when dealing with moist air
In many cases, a little common sense goes a long way – especially when considering how easy mold is to grow. Preventative measures, such as drying your clothes outside or using a tumble dryer, will make a significant difference.
You should also regularly use a special spray for your kitchen and bathroom tiles, dry pans after washing them, and use a kitchen extractor fan when cooking to stop steam from escaping.
Prevention is better than the cure – but it’s not always possible
Even a tiny damp patch can become a severe mold problem, so if you notice damp walls or a faint musty smell, it’s best to seek professional help.
As a specialist remediation company iFlooded Restoration deals with mold damage throughout the New York area and works on properties of all sizes.
It’s essential to understand that mold damage can compromise the structural integrity of your property and cause severe health problems for any inhabitants.
Allergies, skin conditions, and respiratory problems are all common side effects of mold, but our professional team will treat any water damage and perform emergency services to stop it from occurring.
With a 24/7 emergency helpline and a team of certified remediation technicians, we guarantee a speedy response and a combative approach to any property damage.
Please contact us today for a free quote. Our friendly team looks forward to helping you.