Excessive moisture in your home might be a problem. It can find its way into the structure of the building, causing it to degrade over time. Worse, it can provide exactly the habitat which several species of harmful fungus need to thrive.
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What is damp?
‘Damp’ is a term which refers to a build-up of moisture in a particular part of the home. In some cases, it can result from a leak – but this isn’t always so. For example, if your bathroom isn’t properly ventilated, you might find that you run into problems with damp, even when everything’s nicely sealed. The same goes if you’re drying clothes indoors, perhaps by turning the heating up. All of the moisture has to go somewhere – and it will often end up soaking into the walls.
What is mould?
Mould is a kind of fungus which feeds on dead material. It needs moisture to live, which is why it often develops in damp places. If you can see black patches spreading across the walls and tiles, the chances are good that you’re looking at mould.
So, how does mould get there? It actually reproduces by releasing tiny spores into the air. These spores eventually settle in a place where there’s warmth and moisture, and a new colony is established.
This is why mould poses a health problem: these spores can trigger allergic reactions. In some vulnerable people, the effects can be very serious. As such, it’s a good idea to get on top of moisture problems before mould becomes a factor.
There are several ways to deal with damp. The best is to make sure that your home is well-ventilated. Any areas of your home where moisture is going to be created, like the shower or the hob, should have an extractor fan nearby. Increase the amount of airflow in your home in general.
You might also use an electric dehumidifier. This is an excellent option if you’re drying clothes indoors, since it’s cheaper to run than a tumble-dryer.
If your pipes are leaking, then moisture problems are inevitable – even if the leaks are very small you should replace faulty plumbing and heating equipment. Deal with sections of pipe that develop faults, and protect them proactively, too. Pipes that run through exposed areas are vulnerable to freezing up – so clad them appropriately.
Using your heating system
If you don’t have a means of improving the ventilation situation, then you might deal with mould in the short-term by heating, and thereby drying, the offending space. Just be aware that, when the surface cools down again, it’ll once again attract condensation.
Getting rid of mould
You might find off-the-shelf mould-removing formulas at major supermarkets, and from specialist online vendors. On the other hand, if the problem is severe, you might call in a professional. Just be aware that you need to tackle the underlying causes of the excess moisture if you want a mould-free property in the long-term.