GUEST POST - How to Minimise Damp and Mould, from Restoration UK
With cold and wet season upon us, we asked our buddies at Restoration UK to knock us up some expert advice on minimising damp and mould in your home. So, without further ado:
Damp is one of the most common problems affecting property. According to a report by Shelter, 61 percent of renters have suffered damp, mould or leaking roofs- and once damp takes hold, it can cause damage to your belongings as well as your home.
Cold weather can make condensation – a leading cause of damp - worse. This is because warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Condensation tends to appear first on cold surfaces such as cold walls, pipes, and single-glazed windows. In the winter, the external air temperature is more likely to be low, meaning external walls and windows are cold. Cold air enters the building, is warmed and takes up moisture. When it then comes into contact with cold surfaces, it’s cooled below its dew point which creates condensation as the excess moisture is released. This is why condensation tends to be worse when the weather is cold.
Minimise Your Damp Risk
Many damp issues can be minimised with a few simple lifestyle changes. These won't solve construction issues, and it's still important to ensure you have appropriate damp proofing for your home. However, they will help keep damp to a minimum.
Check your roof, gutters and chimney well before Christmas to make sure there are no missing or cracked tiles or blocked gutters. It's much better to fix these problems before damp takes hold than deal with a last-minute call-out when you spring a leak.
Wipe down windows rather than leaving condensation on them. This will help you avoid unsightly (and potentially dangerous) black mould.
Clean any mould as soon as it arises. If you ignore it, the problem will only get worse. See http://www.restorationuk.com/blog/toxic-homes/removing-mould/ for tips on removing mould safely.
Cut Down on Condensation
Put lids on pans when you're cooking, close the kitchen door and use an extractor fan or open the windows. This is particularly important if you're boiling a lot of water to cook your Christmas veg. All you need to do is look at your kitchen windows after cooking and you'll see how much moisture cooking can produce.
Keep the door closed when you're bathing or showering. It's best to have an extractor fan fitted but, if not, make sure you open the windows so that moisture can escape.
Don't dry clothes indoors. If you have no space outdoors to dry your clothes, use airers rather than drying clothes on radiators. Situate them in your bathroom, close the door and use the extractor fan or open the windows to avoid damp. Alternatively, use an externally vented tumble drier.
Ventilate to Avoid Damp
If you've got friends or relatives staying this Christmas, be extra vigilant about ventilation. More people equates to more damp, as the average human sweats and breathes out around 8 pints of water in 12 hours. Open the windows or, if you have trickle vents fitted, make sure you use them. You can always air out the house when you go for a festive walk too (though obviously, make sure your property is secure). If you've got relatives who will complain about the cold if you open the windows, a dehumidifier can remove the water from the air (use the water on the garden to avoid water waste).
Make sure you allow air flow around furniture. Leave a gap behind furniture and don't over-fill cupboards as this can stop air from circulating and lead to damp and mould inside them. Don't let your belongings fester: perhaps a good excuse for a Christmas clear out instead?
Restoration UK has been providing expert advice on property renovation, conversion and restoration for over 20 years. For more information, see our blog http://www.restorationuk.com. If you need advice on damp proofing or restoration products, call us on 01509 217750 or use our contact form (http://www.restorationuk.com/contact-us) to get in touch. Follow Restoration UK on twitter and facebook.