Condensation is prevalent during the colder winter months with the
presence of black mould, wet walls and musty smells. If left unattended the cost of condensation damage could be high; however by having a condensation survey / inspection carried out, we can help you resolve the problem by advising of cost effective solutions which are advantageous, particularly for landlords, tenants, letting companies, property management agents, & housing associations.
Condensation (damp black mould as some people call it!) is caused by high humidity levels within a property and insufficient ventilation, and although it can be apparent during the summer, it is a more obvious problem during the cold winter months.
Moisture vapour in warm air is released as moisture droplets when it comes into contact with cold surfaces. (known as the dewpoint temperature where the air can no longer hold the moisture as vapour). It is apparent on non-porous material such as windows, tiles and painted walls. It is less noticeable on porous material such as wallpaper, soft furnishings, carpets and clothes as these absorb the moisture and it is usually the appearance of mould growth which first alerts the occupants of a property to the problem.
Common signs of condensation dampness found on walls in homes.
Black mould growth – which typically occurs on cold external walls and windows, in poor ventilated areas especially on walls behind furniture and in corners, in UN-ventilated cupboards, wardrobes or corners of rooms and black mould growth can appear at both floor and ceiling height.
What are Mould and Mildew and Why Do They Occur on Walls?
Mould is a kind of fungus that develops from airborne spores. It usually grows in damp, warm conditions without much airflow, which is why household bathrooms and loft spaces often suffer from mould. It is often simply caused by humid conditions and lack of ventilation, but sometimes mould on walls can be due to plumbing leaks, both inside and outside the property. Badly insulated heating pipes can also cause a build-up of moisture behind the walls. Mildew is the name for the most common type of black mould on walls, characterised by spots that can then spread over larger areas if left untreated. To find out if you have mildew on your walls, apply some bleach onto the affected area with a cloth. If the dark colour fades after a few minutes, it’s mildew. If not, the patch is probably just dirt.
Causes of Condensation
Air in occupied buildings will always contain moisture from activities such as bathing, cooking and washing/drying clothes. Moisture will also enter a building due to the evaporation of water penetrating from the outside caused by building defects. If this moisture is not vented to the outside, the humidity within the property rises and leads to black mould on bedroom, kitchen walls, and ceilings.
Some common modern day problems which cause condensation damp, especially in older buildings which are being refurbished or modernised are:
- Installation of double glazed window units without the appropriate provision of supplementary ventilation.
- Installation of showers, Jacuzzis, & saunas with insufficient provision of extractor fans.
- Tumble driers which are not vented to the outside.
- The blocking of existing vents designed to vent air to the outside.
- The sealing of roof voids by the installation of insulation, preventing an adequate through-ventilation via the roof vents in the eaves.
- The blocking of windows or vents to basement areas.
- Drying clothes on radiators.
- Using paraffin or flue less calor gas heaters.
Will dehumidifiers help stop condensation?
De-humidifiers can reduce condensation effectively when rooms are warm and damp, but are of limited benefit when they are cold and humid. In domestic buildings, simple lifestyle changes that lower humidity and/or keep surface temperatures above “dewpoint” will tend to provide a more practical and less expensive long-term cost effective solution. Similarly, whole-house ventilation systems, which can have a role in controlling condensation dampness, should not automatically be seen as the answer.
If you need to know how much it costs to carry out a specialist condensation survey / Inspection to a property which you let out or own for signs of any condensation & dampness related issues then contact Damp Aid to request a survey for condensation
Click this link to learn more about Avoiding Problems and useful information on condensation for the homeo
Condensation is a real problem and where it persists a specialist surveyor should be engaged to explore the cause of the problem and provide advice or propose solutions. We have listed just a few of the possible methods of controlling the problem below.
Simply heating the air is unlikely to be a satisfactory solution, not only on grounds of cost, but also of practicality. Unless cold surfaces are eliminated, condensation is almost inevitable. Any remedial action, therefore, must involve both a lowering of moisture levels and the elimination of cold surfaces.
Improved heating and ventilation coupled with specific action in relation to cold spots will usually result in a significant improvement in conditions, although there may be circumstances in which alternative methods are required. A modest but constant background heat is preferable to intermittent heating since this will help to maintain a higher ambient temperature in the fabric of the building.
The installation of a small extractor fan in a kitchen or bathroom will carry away moisture-laden air from the two areas most responsible for condensation with minimal running costs. This is now required by the Building Regulations in new constructions. Extractor fans are now available which incorporate a humidistat which will control the operation of the fan within certain humidity limits. It is also possible to install fans that have an integrated heat exchanger. These have the advantage of providing effective ventilation while reducing heat loss from the property.
Condensation specialist surveyors will inspect your home / tenanted property to identify the cause of the condensation and black mould problem and provide a condensation specialist dampness report detailing the extent of the problem, along with condensation control and black mould solutions to solve the problem.
Damp survey, timber survey for house purchase, combined damp and timber survey, specialist timber and damp reports for mortgage providers, damp-proofing quotation and woodworm treatment are provided by Damp Aid UK in the following North West, Midlands and South East regions / areas.