Damp and mould are two words that spell trouble for tenants, homeowners and landlords alike. They can dramatically impact your health and the safety of your property, not to mention the ghastly appearance. But how can you stop damp and mould in its tracks before it becomes an increasingly dangerous and pervasive problem?
The first step you should take to avoid damp and mould in your property is to understand the root cause of these issues.
The primary cause of damp and mould is an excess of water vapour, which usually contributes to condensation. In fact, the average family of four produces thirteen litres of water vapour each day from regular activities such as showering, boiling food on the stove and steam ironing. Each of those processes involves the heating and cooling of water, which creates condensation that can linger in your home and cause damage if not dealt with promptly. With inadequate ventilation, this water vapour can stay within your home, creating damp on your permeable surfaces such as walls and floors, and can develop into mould spores.
Similarly, leaks from your roof or windows can bring more water into your home, which can exacerbate your existing mould and damp issues and create new problems.
Now we’ve examined the common causes of damp and mould, how can you determine whether your property has been impacted by these? There are a few blatant signs that indicate you may have a damp problem – your wallpaper may peel away and feel damp or cold to touch. There may also be dark stains on your walls that look akin to watermarks, especially close to areas of condensation such as windows, showers and cookers. Mould is more obvious, and typically takes the form of dark spots across surfaces – these are called mould spores. This could be accompanied by an unusual, musty smell, or a lingering cold or flu-type sickness that may be caused by close and continuous proximity to damp and mould.
Now you’ve determined whether you have damp or mould in your home, it’s time to send it on its way! Here are a few simple tips that can help you prevent recurrent damp and mould, and reduce the impact it can have on your home:
Ensure that excess moisture can escape from your property by having adequate ventilation in rooms where water vapour is most pervasive, such as in kitchens and bathrooms. This can be as simple as opening a window after cooking, bathing or showering, or switching on extractor fans if you have them.
Condensation, which is the primary factor that contributes to damp and mould, is caused by a swift change in temperature that sees warm air meet cold surfaces. Keeping your home warm and insulated is one way to ensure that this heat discrepancy is kept to a minimum. Consult your EPC for more detailed recommendations regarding where your insulation may be sub-par, and which types of insulation will improve both your energy efficiency and resilience to damp and mould.
In rooms where moisture builds up, such as kitchens and bathrooms, be sure to wipe down surfaces after moisture accumulates. This is especially important after baths and showers, and when cooking. It is also advisable to hang your washing to dry outside, if possible, rather than have the water evaporate inside your home.
Buying a portable dehumidifier unit allows you to treat humidity in each room as and when needed. If you recognise a particularly potent musty smell in one room, a portable dehumidifier can help to ease this odour and reduce the likelihood of mould and mildew from developing on furniture, clothes and sheets. What’s more, a dehumidifier can assist you in reducing dust mites and pet odours, making it a multi-functional tool for your home.
Ensuring that your home has not been damaged by storms and heavy rain, and clearing gutters from debris, is another way to prevent leaks that could cause damp and mould. Similarly, regularly checking common places where leaks can occur – such as faucets, shower hoses and supply lines – can help you recognise leaks before they cause irreparable damage.
Damp and mould can cause serious issues in your property – make sure you’re aware of how to prevent it with the help of At Home With Centrick. With weekly blogs and advice pieces on keeping your home in the best condition, saving money on your property, and increasing the value of your home in the long-run, we’re here to help you make your home the best it possibly can be. For more information, be sure to bookmark the At Home With Centrick hub and check back for more blogs every week!
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