Dealing with Damp in the Home

Understanding Condensation and Mould

Dampness can be a homeowner’s nightmare, leading to unsightly mould growth on walls and furniture. While the presence of mould is not only unsightly, it can also pose health risks, understanding the root cause of this issue is the key to effectively combatting it.

Our Building Surveyor, Shane Burton has shared his knowledge and suggests some simple cures for damp and mould.

The misunderstood culprit: condensation often leads to mould, how can you prevent it from taking over your home?

What is Condensation?

Condensation is a common occurrence caused by the presence of moisture in the air. When the air cools, it loses its capacity to hold all this moisture, resulting in tiny water droplets forming on solid surfaces. Condensation can be seen when you breathe on a cold day or when your bathroom mirror steams up during a hot shower. It primarily occurs in colder weather and appears on cold surfaces, especially where air circulation is limited.

Why Does Condensation Lead to Mould?

Mould thrives in damp environments and will colonise various surfaces when moisture is present. However, it’s essential to note that mould typically avoids walls affected by rising damp or penetrating damp. When dampness moves across a wall, it brings salts to the surface, which inhibits mould growth. Mould primarily grows in areas affected by condensation.

The only effective way to rid your home of mould is by addressing the underlying condensation problem to keep affected areas consistently dry.

Identifying Condensation

To differentiate condensation from other forms of damp, such as leaking pipes or rain ingress, look for the presence of a ‘tidemark.’ These often leave visible traces. Even after fixing the issues, it may take weeks of heating and ventilation to completely dry out your home, making a dehumidifier a helpful tool.

The Role of Humidity

Humidity-related problems can occur year-round, with summer being particularly troublesome. During the warmer months, air can hold more moisture, but in winter, sealed homes can trap excess moisture, leading to winter mould and dampness.

How to Prevent Condensation

Reducing condensation in your home requires proactive steps to produce less moisture:

  • Cover saucepans while cooking.
  • Avoid drying clothes inside, especially on radiators.
  • Use dehumidifiers effectively.
  • Wipe down surfaces prone to excessive moisture.

How to Ventilate and Remove Moisture

  • Use a vented tumble dryer.
  • Keep small windows or trickle vents open when someone is at home.
  • Regularly use extractor fans.
  • Close doors in the kitchen and bathroom while in use and open windows for ventilation.
  • Avoid blocking ventilation, especially air bricks.

Taking Steps Against Mould

Seek professional help for mould removal and treatment. Address the underlying condensation or moisture issue to prevent future mould growth.

Plants as a Solution

House plants can aid in managing indoor humidity. They absorb water vapour through their leaves, reducing humidity levels and creating a cooling effect. Some plants suitable for high-humidity rooms include snake plants, spider plants, aloe vera, cacti, peperomia, orchid, peace lilies, and Boston ferns. Choose the right plant for your room’s conditions and maintain them as instructed.

Understanding condensation is crucial in the battle against dampness and mould in your home. By implementing preventative measures and addressing the root causes, you can create a healthier and more comfortable living environment. House plants can also play a part in maintaining optimal humidity levels while adding a touch of nature to your indoor spaces. Don’t let dampness and mould take over; take proactive steps to protect your home and your health.