Damp is an issue which needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. It looks unsightly, it can smell bad, and worse of all it can cause serious and lasting damage to the very fabric of a building.
It’s no secret that some parts of the country are wetter than others. Here in the North West, we are blessed with a bit more than our fair share of rain. While that’s good for some, it can cause problems for others – especially if you own, or live in, an older property.
So, here is our guide to damp in your house and what to do about it.
Keep on top of maintenance
Prevention is always better than reacting to an issue after it’s become serious. Doing regular maintenance, especially on the roof of your house is the best way to keep on top of any damp issues before they get too bad.
If possible, get on your roof once a year and check for missing tiles, check the guttering is clear and free of obstructions, and make sure the brickwork and the pointing is all in good condition. If it’s not possible, do a visual inspection with binoculars. If there is any sign of trouble, get the professionals in to sort it and check the condition of nearby insulation.
Keep your home warm
Central heating is a system that operates throughout a property. To protect your house from damp, make sure you heat every room so as to avoid any cold spots which can attract damp.
Condensation occurs when hot air containing moisture comes into contact with a cold surface (like a window). If you keep all the surfaces warm, then it follows that there will be less opportunity for condensation to form.
Keep your home well ventilated
Modern houses are built to be as airtight as possible. Having a well-insulated property is great for your energy bills, but it can cause problems with damp.
You should try to provide an escape route for moisture in the air. This can be as simple as leaving a window open at strategic points in the house. When you’re cooking food, make sure to put lids on pans and remember to turn the cooker hood extractor fan on. Check your washing machine and tumble drier are properly connected with ventilation.
Allow room for air to circulate
Following on from the previous point, part of having good ventilation is also about letting air move around without obstacles.
Have a few inches gap between furniture and walls so that air can move around freely. Purchase curtain rails that stand out from the wall by several inches, so that air can flow behind and around. Leaving internal doors open can also help by creating a “through draft” permitting airflow right through the house.
Do wet jobs on dry days
If you need to do any particularly wet jobs, do them on dry days when you can comfortably leave a window open.
This is things like mopping the floor, washing windows, painting and decorating, or drying clothes inside. Plan ahead and consider where any excess moisture will go, and how to prevent it from accumulating indoors.
If you have a serious problem with damp, there are various government-funded schemes which may apply to you. Some people will even be eligible for free insulation and a new heating system if you are on certain government benefits or have long term health conditions. If you are a tenant, your landlord may be also entitled to heating and insulation grants.