Damp is a word that homeowners, quite rightly, have come to dread. Damp can cause significant damage to your home and seriously affect the health of all members of your household. 30% of English households reported an issue with condensation, damp or mould in their home in the year 2016-2017 according to the English Housing Survey. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to prevent damp. We take a look at the causes of damp and how to prevent damp in your house…
What is damp, and what causes it?
Damp is caused by excess and unwanted moisture that forms as a result of condensation, leaking pipes or external moisture getting into your home. 38% of UK homes were built before 1946, and their history and character shape our communities; unfortunately, it also makes them prone to damp. Damp can affect newly built homes if the water used in the build process is still drying out and can be the result of leaks or other water maintenance issues in homes of any age.
Knowing how to spot the common signs of damp ensures you are better informed about how to prevent damp in your house. Look out for:
• Walls that look wet are cold to touch or paint/wallpaper that is lifting off.
• Ceilings that are stained or discoloured.
• Windows with condensation or small puddles of water on window sills.
• Mould or mildew appearing on walls, ceilings or surface or a musty, damp smell.
Damp affects your home and health
If left unchecked damp can cause damage to brick, concrete and wood structures and damage furnishings and belongings inside the home. Damp also affects the health of all household members. NHS UK advises that if you have damp and mould in your home, you’re more likely to have respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. It can also affect your immune system. For your family’s health, it is essential to know how to prevent damp in your house. Here are some methods for how to prevent damp in the different areas of your home…
How to prevent damp in bathrooms
Bathrooms are prone to damp due to a large amount of moisture and condensation created when you have a shower or bath. Understanding how to stop condensation levels building and making this part of your daily routine is the most effective method for how to prevent damp in your bathroom. Do this by:
• Opening windows during and after bathing or showering and ensure the bathroom door is closed.
• Wiping down all surfaces and tiles
• Increasing ventilation with a professionally installed extractor fan
How to prevent damp in bedrooms
Condensation in bedrooms may often be overlooked, especially if the room is not in use. Reducing condensation is the best method of how to prevent damp in bedrooms. Start by:
• Opening the window for 15 minutes each morning and wiping off condensation regularly.
• Keep room heating on a low steady temperature.
• Avoid putting furniture directly against the wall and make sure cupboards aren’t over-filled.
• Use a dehumidifier to reduce water content in the air.
How to prevent damp on ceilings
Damp on ceilings may be caused by condensation inside the home or by roof or pipe leaks around the home. A patch of discolouration on the ceiling that appears suddenly should be checked by a professional to identify and treat the cause. Other ways for how to prevent damp on ceilings are:
• Use clothes airers in a well-ventilated room instead of drying clothes on radiators.
• Keep lids on saucepans when cooking in the kitchen.
• Heat all rooms of your home at a low but steady heating temperature.
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How to get rid of mould on walls permanently
When internal walls become wet, they are an ideal breeding ground for damp mould spores which affect air quality in your home and are bad for your health. It is important to know how to stop condensation and damp building up on walls and, if you are already affected, how to get rid of mould on walls permanently.
NHS UK advises only removing mould yourself if it is caused by condensation and covers an area less than 1×1 metre or 3 x 3 feet. You can do this by:
• Mixing one part bleach to four parts water.
• Using a damp cloth gently scrub and wipe the mould until the mould is gone.
• Once finished, dry the area well with a soft cloth and throw away or thoroughly disinfect all cloths used.
When to call a professional
The presence of mould means there is a problem caused either by leaks, rising damp or condensation created by day to day activities like cooking or drying clothes. If you are unsure of the cause of damp in your home or notice damp areas suddenly appear it’s important to contact a professional tradesperson. Specialist damp proofers can assess and diagnose the problem, conduct repairs and recommend ongoing solutions to improve your home environment. Checkatrade is an entirely free service that puts you in direct contact with a professional tradesperson who has passed strict background checks. Remember if you are unsure about the cause of damp or how to prevent damp in your home, find a local professional today using Checkatrade.
Preventing damp is priority #1
The most important reason to know how to prevent damp in your home is for you and your family’s health and wellbeing. A 2006 Shelter study found that children living in damp, mouldy homes were between 1.5 and 3 times more prone to coughing and wheezing than children living in dry homes (4). In contrast, a well ventilated, damp-free home looks and smells good and is better for the health of everyone in the household. Try our tips and remember to seek advice and support from a professional tradesperson verified on Checkatrade if you are unsure of the cause or how best you can prevent damp in your home.
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