Dealing with Damp
Posted Jul 26, 2006
The first step is to identify where the water is coming from - rising from the ground, leaking from a bad seal in your shower, or condensation or through a hole in the roof are all common. Over the next few weeks we will detail how to best deal with each variety.
Your property will naturally generate a lot of moisture - from showers, cooking, washing up, from drying clothes, even from breathing. In a well aired house this moisture leaves the house naturally, and is only visible as a touch of moisture on the windows on cold days. If your home doesn't have much airflow, or your are generating a large amount of moisture for instance by drying clothes over radiators moisture can very quickly become a problem.
Too much condensation will become evident by large amounts of water on the inside of windows and on window ledges, peeling wallpaper, and patches of mould or mildew on walls. In extreme cases walls can even feel damp.
Initially to deal with bad condensation it is worth buying or renting a small dehumidifier. This will forcibly extract the moisture from the air and deposit it in a bucket or down the drain. Depending on the extent of the problem you may need to run the dehumidifier for between a week to several months to remove the last of the moisture that has absorbed into the walls. If you are still extracting huge amounts, you should look into other possible causes such as leaking pipes or a hole in the roof.
While you are removing the moisture, you should also work on tackling the root of the problem - extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens can help remove moisture. Keep windows open when cooking or showering. Using a condensing tumble-dryer or drying clothes outside wherever possible will reduce moisture from clothes washing. If you have trickle vents in windows, try to keep them open, if not air bedrooms every morning for a few minutes until window condensation has dissapeared.