How to Get Rid of Dampness and Humidity in the Home
The Problem of Dampness In the Home
Every house can suffer from damp problems, for many reasons, but there are certain things that will work for everybody to get rid of damp once and for all. If you are asking yourself, "Why is my house so damp?" then it is often quite simple to fix the issues.
The two main reasons for dampness are:
- Moisture cannot escape
- Water is getting in
Quite often, it's your lifestyle that's causing condensation and possibly mold to build up inside your home. When I was growing up, my father was fastidious about opening a window in the kitchen, thereby not letting steam build up, and about wiping down condensation on the windows. It used to drive me mad, but now I know what he was trying to do. When I moved into an older house, I started to see what happens if you don't keep on top of moisture build-up as soon as the signs of dampness appear.
Some damp problems, like rising damp (the structural dampness inside the walls that indicates a breach in structure of a building, resulting in rain intrusion from outside or condensation from within) will need professional advice, but genuine rising damp is rare.
Below, you will find three simple solutions to prevent dampness in your home.
1) Ventilate Your Home Properly
It's common in the winter to keep the windows closed and as a result, with modern draught-proofing, water has nowhere to go.
Condensation can result from tumble drying, baths/showers, or even just your own breath! The kettle boiling and food being cooked all release steam and moisture in the air which will find the coldest spot on your walls or windows and condense. From there, it's a small step to becoming damp. Getting rid of dampness in your house sometimes means changing your own habits and adjusting your lifestyle.
All that water has to go somewhere and if it can't get out, it will pool. Maybe you have some black mould on the bathroom ceiling or around window frames. This is a sign that the water vapour couldn't escape.
One solution is to install double-paned windows with two layers of glass to improve insulation. This will help with dampness as well as reduce the loss of heat. If you are having new double glazing fitted, you might also insist on trickle vents and keep them open. These vents at the top of windows give the damp air chance to escape, but you can always close them off if and when you want.
2) Get a Dehumidifier
Really. It's that simple. A dehumidifier will suck in all the air in the room and squeeze out the moisture that causes damp and mould. The water collects in a small bucket in the unit which you empty. Move the dehumidifier around the house from room to room, wherever it seems needed. 24-36 hours in each room is enough.
If your house is old, with no damp proof course (DPC), it might not look, smell, or seem damp, but I bet it's in there! My house looks fantastic, but I put a dehumidifier into my bedroom 24 hours ago and already it's sucked nearly two pints of moisture from the air.
Stop suffering from damp today and scour the classified ads for a dehumidifying unit now. I wouldn't live without one.
You can get portable dehumidifiers that you can easily move around, from room to room or even from home to home. Our extended family shares a dehumidifier: No need for us all to own one!
There are small dehumidifiers available, too—for cupboards and small rooms, caravans, sheds, and lofts. Some will even fit on a windowsill.
Tip: if you dry your clothes indoors, a dehumidifier will suck the water out of the wet clothes as well as the room in a matter of hours! Use it if your tumble drier packs up!
3) Keep on Top of Wiping Down Mould
Become aware of where condensation collects in your house. Common places to find black mould are:
- Behind furniture, such as a sofa or a bookcase
- In the corners of rooms
- Under the window and accumulating on the window frame/window sill
- Inside fitted cupboards and wardrobes
If you just have a mild bit of mould discolouring, you can easily get rid of it by simply wiping it down with a wet wipe or a damp cloth. If it's a bit more obvious, you might need to wipe it down with a damp and mould spray. Watered-down bleach works great, or check out what products are available at your local hardware store or supermarket.
Getting rid of damp and mould in your house is something that you need to keep on top of and solve. Damp walls can affect your belongings and your health, and it's just not nice living in a damp house. Since most problems can be solved with just a short amount of time, investigating, ventilating, and getting a dehumidifier now will pay off in the long run.