I’m a damp expert – how to tell if you’ve got condensation, damp or a leak
A DAMP EXPERT has taken to Facebook to share how to tell the difference between condensation and damp – and how to effectively deal with both.
Jayne Walford shared her advice in the Mrs Hinch Cleaning Tips group – and revealed that some people may be misdiagnosing the problems inside their homes.
She wrote: “Dampness, condensation and mould growth in dwellings is a common problem, especially in older buildings.
“Condensation will occur when water vapour in the air meets a cold surface and water vapour then becomes liquid.
“The more moisture is produced, the slower that this is removed by ventilation and the colder the surfaces, the more likely that condensation will happen.
“Water on surfaces will encourage moulds to grow.
“How do I know it is condensation rather than another problem? It is not always easy to tell, but here are some key differences:
“Condensation is usually found on north-facing walls and in corners, in cupboards, behind furniture and under work surfaces – in fact wherever there is little air movement.
“Condensation can often be seen as water droplets on windows or water pooling on window sills.
“Condensation is often associated with mould that looks like ‘black spots’ and is typically found along skirting edges or ceiling edges.
“Other kinds of dampness, such as penetrating damp or water leaks, usually produce a more defined damp stain area.
“Rising dampness only affects ground floor/basement rooms and will often show a tidemark on external walls and solid internal walls in contact with the ground and typically only extends to a height of around 900-1000mm above the floor surface.”
Jayne also explained how to limit condensation, and consequently mould growing.
“Air can only hold a certain amount of water vapour – the warmer it is the more it can hold.
“If the air is cooled by contact with a cold surface such as a mirror, a window or a wall, the water vapour will turn into droplets of water – condensation and allow moulds to germinate.
“You can get rid of the mould by washing down with a general type solution purchased in a supermarket or fungicidal solution.
“You can buy special paints which may help prevent mould growth; however, the only permanent cure is to reduce the amount of condensation in your home.
“The way you use your home affects the amount of condensation you get.
“Keep kitchen and bathroom doors shut, particularly when cooking, washing or bathing – otherwise water vapour will spread right through the house.
“The more moisture produced in your home, the greater are the chances of condensation, unless there is adequate ventilation.
“Nobody likes drafts, but some ventilation is essential.
“In winter open the window a little, only as long as they are misted up. If you fit draught stripping, leave a space for a small amount of air to get through.”
She continued: “You will get less condensation if you keep your home warm most of the time. Heating is expensive but without it, you are almost certain to get condensation.
For those struggling with damp or leaks, she said: “If you are not sure what is causing the damp in your home, start by checking pipes and overflows and under sinks to see if there are any obvious leaks.
“Have a look outside; you may be able to see if there are slates missing from the roof, cracked render or leaking gutters or rainwater pipes.
“If you live in a new or recently modernised house or flat, don’t forget that it may not have dried out from water remaining after building work.
“It usually takes several months (depending on the time of year) for this to happen and you may need to use more heat during that time.”
Followers of the group loved the expert’s tips, with the post gaining more than 86 likes and 14 shares.
In the comments, one wrote: “Well done for taking the time to help and advise people with condensation problems to keep well.”
Another said: “Really good information – thank you.”
Someone else shared their tip for dealing with condensation, adding: “Bowl of salt on your window sills help.”
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