Prevention is the Best Cure for Damp Problems
Damp is one of the trickiest problems to solve in any home. As with many things, prevention is usually better than cure
The problem of damp can cause no end of worry and heartache. At best, it is a nuisance, causing damage to clothes and books, not to mention those unsightly stains. At worst, it can lead to serious health issues and potentially costly structural damage to your home.
A certain degree of moisture in the atmosphere is both inevitable and desirable, and to keep it in check, a simple solution such as the installation of tubular heaters can prevent damp from getting a chance to take hold and become a problem. But what if you already have a problem with damp? Here we take a step by step approach to identification, treatment and follow up.
Identifying the problem
Issues with damp usually manifest themselves more in the winter months, so now is the time to be particularly vigilant, although having said that, you can keep a look out for warning signs throughout the year. By running through the following checks, you can find the source of the problem:
1) Place your hand against the wall, and check whether it feels very cold or damp.
2) Examine walls and ceilings for any signs of mould. It will appear in the form of black speckles, or sometimes larger discoloured areas. If the wallpaper is peeling away or paint is flaking, that is another indicator.
3) Check windows for condensation, particularly first thing in the morning. A small amount of misting is not necessarily a problem, but puddles of water need further investigation. While you are there, also check the sealant for tell-tale signs of mould.
4) Kitchens and bathrooms are particularly prone to damp. Check the grouting between tiles, as this is often where mould will manifest itself first.
5) Use your nose – if there is a musty smell, try to identify where it is coming from.
There is no shortage of specialist formulations available from DIY stores for treating mould on a variety of surfaces. Just be aware that many of these contain bleach, so always follow the instructions on the label, wear the appropriate protective gear and keep the kids and pets well out of the way.
There are also a number of traditional and natural treatments that you can try, using everything from sugar soap to vinegar.
Keeping damp at bay
With the immediate issue resolved, you can then set about implementing measures and good habits to ensure the damp does not come back.
It is important to keep your home warm. Sudden extremes or fluctuations will encourage condensation, so try to keep an even temperature throughout. This is where the tubular heaters mentioned earlier can really come into their own, as they are far more cost effective than leaving the central heating on all the time.
You can also reduce condensation by keeping the home properly ventilated and following these other useful tips.