The perils of condensation
It’s easy to overlook, but much of our day-to-day activity at home contributes to condensation and resulting damp, the effects of which should not be underestimated.
Simple things such as cooking, washing, showering, taking a bath and even breathing all create moisture, which is then released into the air. Air can only hold a certain amount of water vapour, and the warmer it is, the more it can hold. But should this then be cooled through contact with a cold surface such as a mirror, a window or a wall, the water vapour will turn into drops of water, otherwise known as condensation.
No home will escape condensation completely, especially through cooking and washing, but it’s worth noting that fishtanks and plants can also be a source. It’s also important not to over-react as bedroom windows will often be misted in the morning following a cold night.
That said, if your home appears to have regular condensation or, worse still, patches of mould, there are a few measures that can reduce and eventually eradicate it. You can reduce moisture in your home by:
- drying washing outside whenever possible
- venting your tumble drier to the outside of the house
- covering pans when boiling water
- allowing kettles to boil for as short a time as possible
- maximising ventilation, especially in bathrooms and kitchens
- keeping bathroom and kitchen doors shut, even if you have extractor fans fitted
- avoiding overfilling wardrobes and allowing air to circulate within them
- insulating and draughtproofing your home
- keeping a low level of constant heating
- avoiding using portable gas bottles and paraffin heaters
Should you discover patches of mould, it is possible to treat these with fungicidal products. Wipe down your windows, frames and other affected areas with a fungicidal wash or a bleach solution. Dry-clean affected clothes and shampoo mouldy carpets. After treating mould-affected areas, you can re-decorate with a high-quality fungicidal paint. Where possible remove lining paper and wallpaper and treat the plaster before painting or papering over the area again.
It is possible to live in a damp environment without suffering any health complications, but there are proven links between damp and a number of medical conditions. These include nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation or, in some severe cases, skin irritation. People with low immunity can suffer from chronic lung illnesses and children are prone to respiratory problems when exposed to damp and mould.
Anglian Home Surveyors are leading building surveyors in Cambridge and Haverhill, so if you’re considering buying a property and you’re at all concerned about condensation or damp, why not call us on 01223 661439 to commission a full building survey?
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