Damp can be a common problem, particularly in older properties, and can lead to health problems.
House dust mites, which thrive in areas of poor ventilation, warm temperatures and high humidity, can trigger asthma. Fungi spores and mould are also more likely to form on damp surfaces, and can be allergenic.
When water vapour in the air lands on a cold surface it forms condensation. The more moisture that is present, the colder the surfaces, and the slower that the moisture is removed, the more likely it is that condensation will form. In general, condensation is usually located in corners, in cupboards, on north facing walls and behind furniture. It is also linked to mould that is more often found along the edges of ceilings and skirting boards. This mould can be removed by cleaning with a bleach based solution or specific fungicidal solution, and can, to some extent, be prevented with the application of special paint. However, the best way to eliminate mould growth for good is to reduce the amount of condensation that forms in your property.
You can take a number of steps to eliminate condensation, the first being to let air circulate freely in your home via an open window; even in winter! Make sure that, when cooking or bathing, you use an extractor fan if you have one, and avoid allowing pans and kettles to boil longer than they need to. It also helps if you keep your property at a consistently warm temperature.
Take care when drying clothes indoors, especially on radiators. If you do need to dry your clothes in this way then don’t forget to open a window. Tumble dryers should also be vented to the outside. Chimneys should never be blocked up completely; if you do decide to block up a fireplace then fit an air vent. You can also avoid condensation by keeping furniture away from external walls.