What Causes Stale Air in my Home
During the winter, as we spend more time at home with the doors and windows closed against the cold, you might start to notice the development of stale smells. This is almost always an unwelcome sign that air is not circulating properly, and that there may be a problem with damp or mould.
Modern houses are designed to be as energy efficient as possible. With double glazed windows, thick insulation in walls and ceilings, and no tightly fitted doors that prevent draughts, homes are designed to keep heat in, but they also prevent airflow, which can lead to moist air becoming trapped and getting stale, which can give rise to some of the problems that cause a stale smell.
Mould, Mildew and Damp
One of the most recognisable stale smells in a house is the characteristic musty smell that is given off by mould and mildew. Mould can grow anywhere that there is damp and with limited airflow. Colonies of mound are often found in ceiling corners, and behind wardrobes or in cupboards.
The damp environments that allow mould and mildew to grow can be found in almost any house, and have a number of causes including:
- Rising damp where moisture soaks into the building from below,
- Penetrating damp, where moisture gets into the building through cracks in walls and ceilings
- Condensation damp, where moisture from bathing and other activities is allowed to settle
Understanding the cause of a damp problem that is leading to stale odours in your home is the first step to removing them. If you have a rising damp problem which is usually indicated by patches of moisture on the lower part of downstairs walls, or penetrating damp, which can usually be seen in the form of wet patches around windows or ceilings, you will usually need to contact a builder or damp specialist in order to resolve the issues, however with condensation damp, you can address the problem by improving air flow and expelling moist air from your home.
Dealing with Condensation Damp
Condensation can be a problem in almost any home. Moisture is released into the air from many daily activities including cooking, cleaning, and even breathing – the streams of water that appear on bedroom windows on a cold morning are almost always caused by moisture that is exhaled during the night.
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of moisture that is able to form into damp including closing kitchen and bathroom doors when the rooms are in use, using pan lids when cooking, and ensuring that extractor fans are used if available.
In many homes though, these actions are not enough to handle the amount of moisture that is created – particularly during colder periods when there is less natural air flow.
To properly deal with stubborn condensation in your home, you may need to consider a whole house ventilation system that allows air to circulate in all rooms. This prevents the build up of moisture on cold walls where it can settle, soak in, and become damp patches, and in turn will prevent mould growing that causes the stale smells.
Find Out More
If you are struggling with stale smells in your home and want to prevent a minor damp problem developing into something more severe, please contact us today to book a free home survey. Our local specialists can provide advice about the best solution to improve the air quality in your home and banish stale air for good.