How to avoid damp this winter: Top Tips
As the winter nights start to draw in and the temperature around Hatfield drops to only a few degrees Celsius, it’s important to ensure your house is kept warm, for your own personal health and to keep your house running in order!
Cold weather typically tempts homeowners to conserve as much heat as possible in order to stay warm, which means people shut windows, preventing the warm air that flows around your house from escaping. Because of this, condensation will begin to form on surfaces, particularly around windows and doors.
Your Students' Union know a thing or two about how to look after your house - after all, we do run a Lettings Agency for students at the University of Hertfordshire who are looking for safe, affordable housing off-campus in Hatfield. The team have put together a list of top tips on how you can avoid damp and condensation this winter.
What types of dampness are there?
- Caused by water rising from the ground into the home. The water gets through a broken damp proof course or through the natural brickwork if the property was built without one.
- Rising damp will only affect basements and ground floor rooms
- Usually leaves a ‘tide mark’ low down on the wall.
- More noticeable in winter.
- If left untreated it may cause wall plaster to crumble and paper to lift in the affected area.
- Will only be found on external walls or in the case of roof leaks, ceilings
- Only appears because of a defect outside the home, such as missing pointing to the brickwork, cracked rendering or missing roof tiles
- Will normally appear as a well-defined ‘damp-patch’ and feels damps to the touch
- Caused by leaks from water and waste pipes
- Affected area looks and feels damp to the touch
- By far the most common cause of dampness
- Caused by water vapour or moisture from inside the dwelling coming into contact with a colder surface, such as a window or wall
- Affected damp areas then attract black mould over time that grows on its surface
- Mainly occurs during the colder months
- Usually found in the corners of rooms, north facing walls and on or near windows. It is also found in areas of little air circulation such as behind wardrobes and beds, especially when they are pushed up against external walls.
Condensation and Mould Growth
Condensation is often due to habits and lifestyles and is something that can be reduced. Condensation causes black mould growth. The amount of condensation in a home depends upon three:
- How much water vapour is produced by the occupier
- How cold or warm the property is
- How much air circulation (ventilation) there is
For mould to thrive and survive it requires four elements:
- Moisture – obtained from condensation
- Food – such as wallpaper or emulsion paint
- Suitable temperature – courtesy of the householder
- Oxygen – courtesy of Mother Nature
By dealing with causes of condensation you will automatically deal with the problem of mould
Top Tips for how to deal with mould
Did you know your Students' Union runs a Lettings Agency for students at the University of Hertfordshire who are looking for off-campus housing in the local area? They have put together a list of top-tips on how you can avoid mould and condensation this time of the year.
1. Produce less Moisture
- Dry clothes outdoors wherever possible – if you don’t have an outside drying area, dry them on a clothes airer in the bathroom with the door closed and either an extractor fan on or a window slightly open
- Vent your tumble driers outside or use a condensing type
- Cover pans when cooking and do not leave a kettle boiling unnecessarily
2. Remove Excess Moisture
Wipe the windows and window sill of your home every morning to remove condensation. This is especially important in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen – just opening the window is not enough.
3. Open the Windows
Open windows slightly to allow warm (but moist) air to escape and let in (but dry) air. Dry cool air is actually cheaper to heat than warm moist air!
- Always open a window when using the kitchen or the bathroom and close the doors to stop moisture in the air from spreading to other parts of the house. Keep the window open for a short time after you have left the room.
- Open bedroom windows for up to one hour after you wake.
- Leave space between the back of furniture and cold walls.
- Do not completely block chimneys and flues – fit with an air vent.
3. Heat Your Home a Little More
In cold weather, the best way to keep rooms warm and avoid condensation is to keep low background heat on all day rather than short bursts of high heat when you are in the house. Good heating controls on your radiators, room thermostats and a timer will help control the heating throughout your house and manage costs.
4. Insulate and Draught-proof
This will help keep your home warm and save money on your heating bills.
- Insulate the loft up to a depth of 250mm
- Consider secondary or double glazing
- Consider cavity wall insulation
- Draught-proof windows and external doors. When draft proofing, do not block permanent ventilators or rooms requiring ventilation.
5. Kill and remove the mould
- Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth or if dry use a vacuum cleaner. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air.
- Wipe down affected areas using a fungicidal wash or diluted bleach
- Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant but it’s also great for cleaning especially on mould or mildew.
- After treatment, redecorate using a fungicidal paint or wall paper paste – do not paint over using an ordinary paint.
If you want to pop in and get some more advice on how you can protect your home against mould this winter, pop in and speak to a member of the LetSU team, your Students' Union Lettings Agency.
This December, your Students' Union Lettings Agency will be releasing the official list of houses available to rent in Hatfield for 2018/19. With a range of 1, 2, 3 4 and 5 bedroom houses available, all close to both de Havilland and College Lane, and both safe and affordable, LetSU is one of the leading Lettings Agency’s in Hatfield, and only serve students at the University of Hertfordshire.
For more information, visit their website at letsu.co.uk.