Damp and mould can not only cause damage to your home but your health too, which is why knowing how to prevent damp in your home is important.
From keeping your home well heated to not drying clothes on radiators, there are many ways to prevent damp from forming on walls and around windows.
What is damp?
Damp is the build-up of excess moisture in a building, usually as a result of condensation or water making its way into the property. There are 3 different kinds of damp:
- Condensation damp
- Penetrating damp
- Rising damp
Condensation damp is the most common of these and is caused by moisture in the air being released onto a cold surface and forming condensation. It’s commonly found around windows but can also form on walls too.
Homes are most likely to experience damp during the colder winter months, but that doesn’t mean it can’t form all year round.
Mould can be identified as black or grey looking specks on the wall or ceiling – also look out for signs of discolouration. Around windows is a very common area for mould to form as they can be prone to condensation and high levels of moisture.
How to prevent damp in the home
The key to preventing damp from forming around the home is to keep the amount of moisture in the air to an absolute minimum and there’s several ways to do this:
Keep your home warm
Keeping your home at a consistently high temperature isn’t the answer to prevent damp forming around the home but a consistent temperature will help.
Essentially, you want to avoid sudden drops and rises in temperature and the best way to do this is with a constant low heat. Modern central heating systems include thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) that give you more control over the central heating.
Smart thermostats have made home heating easier than ever. You can even keep on top of the temperature of your home when you’re out using a smartphone.
As well as having a reliable and efficient central heating system, you’ll also want to make sure that the heat isn’t escaping, which is why home insulation is very important. Cold spots on walls, that are lacking adequate insulation will be prone to condensation. There are a few different types of insulation:
Another form of insulation is double-glazing, which are windows with 2 panes of glass rather than only 1. Between the panes of glass is a gas, commonly argon, which keeps the windows insulated and protected from the cold air outside, helping to prevent condensation forming on the inside.
If you see any condensation build-up on windows around your home, try to keep on top of it by wiping it away with towels or tissues.
Keeping your home well ventilated will allow for any moisture to escape, reducing any risk of damp forming. Ventilating your home can be done in many ways:
- Extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms
- Open windows as and when possible
- Ensure washing machines have been correctly installed
Use a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is an electrical appliance that removes moisture from the air, that moisture is then condensed and stored within the unit, so remember to empty it out regularly.
The air taken in will also be warmed up and released back into the room, acting as a mini heater. Most dehumidifiers will turn off automatically once the level of humidity in the air has dropped below a set level.
Keep an eye on walls, ceilings and the roof for signs of damage
Cracks in the walls and ceilings will allow water from the outside so it’s important to make sure any cracks are dealt with by a professional as soon as you notice one.
Position furniture away from external walls
Allow air to circulate around the room by leaving plenty of room between furniture and walls.
Don’t dry clothes on radiators
When it’s not possible to dry clothes outside, avoid hanging them over radiators as this releases moisture into the air. Too much moisture in the air and this will lead to condensation forming on the walls and windows which can lead to damp.
Keep lids on pans
Appliances in the kitchen produce a lot of moisture so it’s important to stop it from spreading around your home. To do this, keep lids on pans and the kettle, use the extractor fan during as well as after, and keep the kitchen door closed.
How to remove damp
If you’re too late in preventing damp and mould, then you should attempt to remove it as soon as possible. It’s recommended that you only attempt to remove damp and mould if caused by condensation in an area smaller than 1 metre squared, otherwise you’ll need to hire a professional.
There are plenty of products available to remove, treat and even prevent the return of mould growth. Making sure you follow the safety precautions outlined on the product (always wear goggles, gloves, and a mask), use a fungicidal spray to clean away the mould and allow it to dry. Ventilate the area well when you do this but keep doors closed to prevent it spreading around your property.
Once you’ve treated the mould, throw away any rags and have any soft furnishings covered in mould professionally dry cleaned to prevent it from spreading again.
You can redecorate the unsightly patches it may have left. There are even paints and sealants designed to inhibit the growth of mould. Again, make sure to follow the instructions carefully with this kind of product.
Need central heating advice?
Homes that aren’t at a consistent temperature are more prone to condensation than homes with an effective heating system and sufficient insulation.
Using Boiler Guide, you can get free quotes for a central heating advice from Gas Safe registered engineers based in your area by completing a simple online form.