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What Kind of Damp Do I Have?

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What Kind of Damp Do I Have?

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Feb 24, 2021

There are several different types of damp and these can affect your home in different ways.  Knowing what kind of damp your home suffers from helps you deal with the cause of the issue and prevent if from happening again in the future.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) any kind of damp can be damaging to health.  They state that:

 “Exposures to biological agents indoors are a significant health hazard causing a wide range of health effects. Dampness is a strong and consistent indicator of risk for asthma and respiratory symptoms related to indoor environmental conditions.”

The NHS in the UK support this, saying that mould, which is often seen because of damp can contribute to allergic reactions, eczema and other skin conditions and affect the immune system.

Beyond this, if left untreated for long periods, damp can damage the fabric of your home.  Decorations and furniture can become mildewed while window frames and other woodwork can rot.  Damp in walls can cause the plaster to crumble and fall away. 

The most common cause of damp in homes is condensation and is a problem in around 1 in 5 UK homes.

Condensation Damp is caused when the moisture in air comes into contact with a cold surface such as a window or exterior wall.  The moisture in air comes from cooking, bathing, drying clothes, and even from breathing – we have all woken up to see droplets of water on the bedroom window on a cool night!

To resolve problems with condensation damp, it is important to address the causes directly.  Allowing steam from cooking or bathing to remain indoors is a major cause of damp, but it is easy to resolve.  Good ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens can be achieved with a modern extractor fan.  The Cyclone 7 range from EnviroVent features humidity sensors that allow it to react automatically to the amount of moisture in the air so that it can expel moist air more quickly and prevent condensation from forming.

Whole house ventilation systems such as Positive Input Ventilation or Mechanical Extract Ventilation are a step up from a basic extractor fan.  They provide circulation of air through all rooms.  This improves air quality overall, but more importantly, prevents damp from occurring in rooms away from the main sources of moisture.  Good ventilation will help to stop mould from developing behind furniture if you ensure that wardrobes and other large items are kept more than two inches away from exterior walls.

The other types of damp that commonly affect homes are rising damp and penetrating damp.  These are when water from outside the building “leaks” in.  With rising damp, porous bricks suck moisture out of the ground like a sponge and it rises up to around 4 feet above ground level.  You can often identify rising damp due to a tide mark appearing a little over a metre above floor level or due to peeling wallpaper at the bottom of the wall and rusty nails in skirting boards.  Rising damp requires building work to be conducted in order to resolve the problem.  An impermeable layer of plastic needs to be fixed into your exterior walls as a damp course.  Modern building regulations require this, so rising damp is less likely to be a problem in newer houses.

The final type of damp that you may encounter in your home is penetrating damp.  This can have many causes such as leaking pipes, broken gutters and even leaks around windows.  Sometimes penetrating damp can be straightforward to repair, but as with all types of damp, you should speak to a specialist to find out how serious the issue is rather than just tackling it yourself.

If you are concerned about the health risks of damp in your home, please arrange a free survey today.  Our local ventilation specialists will visit your home and assess the situation.  They will be able to provide you with advice about what you need to do in order to resolve the issue forever.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.

During the free survey we will

  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

Arrange a FREE Home Survey now