Damp and condensation is a common problem in many homes today, even in homes with modern efficient central heating systems. It can often lead to mould forming on walls and in wardrobes, running windows, and for people suffering from Asthma, poor air quality can be a particular problem.
Understanding the reasons for dampness, condensation and mould are essential if the problem is to be solved and an effective remedy put in place. Misdiagnosis of the reasons for dampness in homes can lead to expensive and ineffective remedial work.
Three homes, all with the same combination of factors - cold walls, insufficient ventilation, and high levels of humidity produced by everyday living.
We all get used to the characteristic smells of our own homes, but it’s not until we return from an extended period away - like a holiday - that we get a sense of how it feels to a visitor.
We can also become used to the stale air and humidity levels in our own homes, even when it's far in excess of what would be considered a healthy environment. As part of our desire to make our home more energy efficient many homeowners have taken action to reduce draughts and in doing so reduced the amount of fresh air coming into the home.
Condensation is not just responsible for the development of unsightly mould. Certain micro-organisms thrive inside damp buildings, including bacteria, fungi, moulds, mites and yeasts - and all can make people ill. Humid conditions encourage the spread of microscopic dust mites – a cause of Asthma and allergic symptoms
Whether through well intentioned ‘improvements’ or other changes some of the most common problems with old houses that reduce air circulation are:
Many older homes have dampness and mould forming at the bottom of walls. In many cases these have had a remedial damp proof treatment designed to prevent rising damp, which has made little or no difference. Often this work includes disruptive and expensive removal and renewal of plaster coatings when the real problem has been excess humidity and condensation on cold walls in the effected room.