When it comes to your property or home, one of the greatest inconveniences is the presence of damp in walls, ceilings or floors. As homeowners or renters, we’ve all been there. We all know that musky smell and we’ve all spotted that crumbling plaster.
As a property
owner or landlord, dampness is concerning for a number of reasons. Not only does it look and smell bad, if left untreated, it can pose serious structural damage to your property and become a real hazard to the health of those living in the building.
Although dampness is a common issue in homes all over the world, it can be difficult knowing where to start when dealing with the problem. How do you prevent it, and what do you do when you discover it?
Fear not, at UK Energy Management, we’ve put together a complete guide to damp prevention and extraction.
What Causes Dampness?
Put simply, damp is caused by the presence of moisture. There are a number of factors that can cause dampness, such as condensation, rainwater, ground moisture and leaks. While the problem is usually at its worst during the winter months, dampness can be an issue all year round, leading to greater problems if left untreated.
As mentioned above, damp is a result of the presence of excess moisture in walls, ceilings and floors. It often appears in bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens as these are areas in which warm, humid air meets with cooler surfaces, depositing water upon them. This can be caused by any number of everyday actions such as cooking, showering and washing.
In addition to the actions that can lead to damp, certain environments are much more likely to experience the issue. For example, homes that are poorly heated ad experience greater fluctuations in temperature are at a much higher risk of developing damp.
Furthermore, if the home or property is also poorly ventilated, it creates the perfect environment for damp to occur. Without proper air flow, moist air has no way of escaping a home, leading to moisture being deposited on surfaces.
Signs Of Dampness
When attempting to prevent or treat dampness in your home, it is important you know what to keep an eye out for. There are multiple tell-tale signs of damp that are easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few common indicators of damp in the home:
One of the most common indicators of damp within a home is the odor it creates. Damp is famous for its musty smell, similar to that of old, rotting wood.
Mould or Mildew
In addition to the smell, another sure sign of damp is the presence of mold or mildew within your home. Look for clusters of mold in areas such as ceiling corners or edges of rooms. Often characterised by white, brown or black spots, damp and mildew are nearly always the result of dampness.
Cold or Wet Walls
It goes without saying that walls inside your home should be dry. If you notice moisture or especially cold walls in your property, its likely that there is damp. This is caused by the combination of warm, moist air, and colder, poorly insulated surfaces.
The presence of moisture or damp in your walls can also be identified by the discolouration that occurs. Look for darker patches above skirting boards and in the corners of rooms.
Similarly to its discoloration of walls and ceilings, damp can cause your wallpaper to peel or flake away, due to the moisture breaking down the adhesive. Keep and eye out for deterioration of decor as this is a common symptom of damp.
A final sign of damp to keep an eye out for in a building or property is condensation on windows and skylights. Inadequate heating and poor ventilation can lead to a build up of moisture which is most prevalent on cold surfaces such as glass.
The Dangers Of Damp
Damp isn’t just an aesthetic inconvenience; as well as the unsightly symptoms of dampness in the home, it can also lead to serious structural and health-related hazards if left untreated.
Due to the fact damp creates a moist environment within your home, it generates the perfect conditions for mould and mildew to form. Mould can pose serious risks to the health of those living in the home as well as to the building itself.
Respiratory illnesses such as asthma are not only exacerbated, but can be caused by the formation of mold within your home. Certain groups of people such as the elderly are especially vulnerable to these illnesses, making it even more important to make sure damp is treated promptly.
As important as it is to know how to spot damp and what you should do if you find it in your home, the best method of dealing with it is by preventing it entirely. There are a number of things that can be done as a homeowner or landlord to ensure your property is as damp-resistant as possible.
One of the main ways to prevent damp in any form, is by ensuring that your property is properly ventilated. Many people overlook the fact that as you increase the energy efficiency of your home, through processes such as cavity wall insulation or triple glazing, you may actually be reducing ventilation. For any questions or concerns regarding the ventilation of your home and its efficiency, visit our website.
Another sure way to reduce the chances of damp is by staying ahead of your home maintenance, such as roof repairs, gutter clearance and window seals. By staying on top of damage repair and general maintenance, there is less of a chance of moisture or water entering your home through cracks or imperfections in insulation.
As mentioned earlier, drastic shifts in climate and air temperatures can lead to the build up of condensation on windows and surfaces. Keeping your home warm in winter is a definite way to prevent damp and it reduces the chance of this temperature change. Properly installed double glazing as well as loft and wall insulation are helpful when creating these warmer spaces.
If your property has a basement, this can leave your home vulnerable to damp as they are more prone to water damage and leakage. Basement tanking is a method that involves waterproofing your sub-surface rooms by applying a membrane or coating to the structure, rendering it watertight. Basement tanking is a tried and tested method of preventing rising damp from entering your home.
Cavity Wall Extraction
In addition to home improvements such as basement tanking and waterproofing, it may be necessary to assess the effectiveness of your property’s cavity wall insulation. While there are a number of benefits to good insulation, it can become vulnerable to damp over time, putting your home at risk.
The good news is that here at UK Energy Management, we can help by assessing your insulation and finding the best solution, completely free of charge.
Eco Grant UK
Everyone has the right to a safe, comfortable and damp-free home, no matter their income or background. At UK Energy Management, we strive to help individuals access government funding for cavity wall removal services as well as the installation of new, efficient, insulation.
UK Energy Management: Committed To Helping You
UK Energy Management exists to provide free government backed grants to those in need of efficiency upgrades within their home. We provide cavity wall extraction, solid wall insulation, ventilation valves and many more services nationwide.
If you have any questions and would like to find out more about UK Energy Management’s aims and the government backed funding schemes, get in touch with us now.