Preventing Damp During Autumn and Winter
As the weather starts to cool in the autumn months, it is important to do all you can to prevent minor issues with condensation developing into more serious damp and mould problems during the colder weather.
Cooler temperatures outdoors create more of a temperature gradient around windows and exterior walls that can cause an increase in the amount of condensation that forms inside your home. The amount of moisture that air can hold is lower at low temperatures, so although domestic heating will tend to keep the middle of rooms and the areas around radiators warm, cold pockets can form in your home and these are where you are most likely to see damp patches start to develop.
How Condensation Leads to Damp
Condensation forms when the amount of moisture in the air is too high. At a typical room temperature of 20C, air can hold around 17grams of water per cubic metre, but at 10C – the kind of temperature that you will find around windows, the amount of water falls to around 9grams per cubic metre of air. As the air releases moisture, it forms droplets on a surface – condensation.
On non-porous materials such as glass windows or tiles, condensation will remain on the surface where it can be wiped away or allowed to evaporate as temperatures rise, however if the condensation forms on a porous surface such as a wall, it can soak in and begin to saturate the underlying plaster leading to a damp patch developing.
Why Damp is a Problem
Over time, a damp patch in a wall can cause the plaster to crumble away, as well as leading to paint and wallpaper peeling away to leave an unpleasant mess. Damp affected plaster will need to be removed and replaced, which can be a costly process.
A worse problem as a result of damp is the growth of mould. Mould thrives in damp conditions, especially where there is limited air flow such as behind furniture or in cupboards. As mould grows, it releases spores into the air, and these can aggravate allergies and the symptoms of asthma. Some species of mould such as Stachybotrys Chartarum – also known as Toxic Black Mould release mycotoxins that can affect health and result in serious illness.
Dealing with damp, or better still, preventing it from occurring in the first place will stop mould from growing in your home and protect your house from damage.
The most effective way of preventing damp is to stop condensation.
Many of our daily activities contribute to the amount of moisture in our domestic atmosphere including cooking, bathing, and drying clothes. Things you can do to reduce the amount of water vapour getting into areas where it can lead to damp include keeping the kitchen and bathroom doors closed when in use, and opening windows to vent as much moist air outdoors as possible.
During the winter months, it is not usually practical to leave windows open for long periods, so extractor fans are usually needed.
Modern extractor fans such as the EnviroVent Cyclone 7 are particularly effective in reducing condensation and damp because they feature a humidity sensor that means they start to work as soon as high levels of humidity are detected, so they prevent the build-up of moisture in the air before condensation can form.
Find out More
If you are worried about the effects of condensation and damp in your home this winter, please contact us today to book a free home survey. Our local ventilation specialist will identify any damp and condensation issues in your home and provide advice about the best thing you can do.