Damp Can Lead to Property Damage and Health Problems

damp on wallEvery house, new or old, can suffer from moisture problems. What can you do to keep your home dry and comfortable?

Moisture is a fact of life. The air is full of water particles in the form of humidity, the ground contains water that can rise up from the subsoil and rain will affect every house in the country, wherever you live.

If your house suffers from damp problems, there are a variety of possible causes, but at heart, it will either be because excess moisture is finding its way in, for example via a leaky roof or blocked drains, or moisture cannot escape, perhaps due to inadequate ventilation.

Left unchecked, dampness can result in the production of mould, which can have a variety of health effects, including respiratory problems, throat irritation, nasal stuffiness and skin complaints. The World Health Organisation issued these guidelines regarding the potential impact of damp and mould in 2009.

Here, we take a look at five measures you can take to combat the problems of damp and mould in your home.

1) Check for a simple problem

Builders and contractors will suck the air in through their teeth and tell you damp is a tough thing to solve, but sometimes there is an obvious cause. Is the water coming from an evident source? It could be as simple as a missing roof tile, damaged flashing or a blocked drain that is causing the problem.

2) Ventilate

In many cases, the reason for dampness is that there is insufficient opportunity for the moisture in the air to escape, meaning condensation forms on any available surface. Keep a good airflow throughout the house, particularly in areas where there will be more moisture around, such as the kitchen, bathroom and utility room.

Each of these rooms should have vents and / or extractor fans. Check they are working and are not blocked by either debris or badly positioned furniture.

More broadly, it is also good practice to open the windows every day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Not only will that help ventilate, it will also make your home feel and smell much fresher.

3) Wipe it down

If the mould covers a small area, you can often get rid of it by wiping down with water and sugar soap or vinegar. The latter is effective, but the smell will hang around for a few hours. Think carefully before going crazy with the bleach. Sure, you will get rid of the mould, but bleach is highly irritating to the lungs and eyes, so you might cause more problems than you solve.

4) Dehumidify

A dehumidifier essentially sucks the moisture out of the room and collects it in a bucket, which you can then pour down the drain. It will definitely be effective, and can be a great solution in an older house that does not have effecting damp proofing. You can buy one for as little as £35.

5) Get professional help

If the above tips don’t solve the problem, it is time to call in the experts. If your mould problem keeps coming back, you could be putting your family’s heath at risk, as well as allowing serious and even structural problems to develop. The sooner you get it fixed, the better, so don’t delay.