With winter firmly behind us, the arrival of lighter evenings and the clocks having gone forward, many people may be thinking about giving their property a spring clean. Cold and wet weather often cause issues in premises, leading to damp, mould and most commonly; condensation. Affecting one in five properties, condensation most commonly occurs between the months of October and April.
While we come to the end of the condensation season, it’s important for people planning property maintenance to address issues that could have arisen from moisture presence over the winter months. Homeowners, for example, will often find mould, including black mould growth around windows, on skirting boards and ceiling corners if condensation or damp problems have been left unattended for a few months. Spring offers an opportunity to sort this out and prevent lasting damage.
When it comes to examining your property for the effects of condensation, it’s important to know what to look out for, and where. If you’ve noticed condensation repeatedly appearing on walls and ceilings, it often means the situation could soon deteriorate if not addressed. The root cause of any condensation issue is most likely to be a lack of air ventilation in a property. Modern buildings are designed to be highly energy efficient and are well insulated, often with double glazing and draught excluders. However, this can seal airborne damp – ‘humidity’ – within the property, increasing the chances of condensation developing.
Condensation can often be resolved with simple lifestyle changes such as opening windows throughout the day, and using extractor fans as often as possible. Other small changes such as covering pots when cooking and keeping the bathroom door closed when taking a bath or shower can also help. Residual black mould can also be cleaned up using over the counter black mould cleaning spray.
If condensation remains a problem despite your best efforts to improve ventilation, then arranging a professional survey with Peter Cox is a safe way to ensure that your condensation problems are identified and rectified before any further damage is caused.
Depending on the extent of the issue, technicians may recommend our unique Warmerwall anti-condensation paint, which can dramatically reduce condensation from forming on interior walls and ceilings. It is a specialist water-based emulsion that acts as a thermal barrier between cold wall surfaces and the warm humid air found in the atmosphere. As a result, walls and ceilings treated with the paint will be more resistant to the build-up of moisture and other problems associated with condensation such as mould and fungal growth. This can also potentially save money on energy bills and at the same time help homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint.
Because mould is so common, many of us may assume it’s not a problem. However, as well as it being unsightly, regular and long-term exposure to mould may aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma or provoke allergic reactions. Black mould is one of the most common types of mould to appear in places regularly affected by condensation. It is easy to identify as the wall surfaces will be damp and covered in black spots. Other tell-tale signs of black mould include a damp musty smell, and in some cases, building occupants may even complain of skin rashes depending on an individual’s physiological reaction to the mould.
Positive pressure ventilation is the best control measure against black mould. It works by forcing clean, dry air from outside the building back into the premises, gently pressurising the property. This means humid, damp air will be forced out through gaps, under doors and around windows where normally draughts find their way into the home. Within six hours the air inside the property can be completely changed. As the humidity levels begin to drop, moulds die back and cannot continue to thrive.
To supplement the positive pressure system, we may recommend installing a heat recovery fan in humidity ‘hot spots’ like bathrooms and kitchens. These typically recover 75% of the heat which would normally be lost to the outside.
In order to keep moulds caused by condensation at bay, the most effective solution is to prevent the build-up of humidity in the first place. If this proves difficult by simply increasing ventilation – then it’s best to call the experts who can professionally treat problem areas.