Damp in winter is a common problem because the temperature goes down and we all have the heating on to compensate for it; Especially if have young children in the house. And while a little black spot of mold on the wall might not seem a reason for real concern, it is a problem that can escalate. Plus some people can suffer from health problems due to the spores from that black mold as well as from the increased moisture levels in the room. So what can you do to combat damp in the winter and still create a cozy home in the winter?
The Condensation Issue
Condensation is often the most common reason for damp in homes and is something we all see at one stage or another – it doesn’t always lead to damp. But it is more common in the winter. That’s because we have the windows and doors closed, the heating on and this is the perfect conditions for condensation to occur.
Another winter problem is that air in the home can’t hold as much water when the air temperature is colder, so it releases it onto walls, surfaces, and furniture much easier. That means those overall moisture levels are a lot higher than normal, especially near kitchens or bathrooms where that moisture filled air is created.
Other types of damp
Two of the other main types of damp are also common in winter due to the weather conditions – rising and penetrating damp.
Rising damp is caused by groundwater rising up through the brickwork. Normally the damp proofing in the form of the Damp Proof Course (DPC) will stop this, but if something goes wrong or this isn’t present, then the higher moisture levels in winter can cause rising damp. It often causes tide marks on walls, peeling wallpaper or flaking paint and also black mold.
Penetrating damp tends to come from above when a weakness in the weatherproofing of the house lets water in. A crack in the brickwork, a broken roof tile, these are common causes of penetrating damp, and it often causes damp patches on ceilings and the top of walls as well as in the loft.
Both can lead to the growth of black mold and more serious conditions such as wet and dry rot. They can also create health problems for people living in the house.
Dealing with damp in winter
All of this might make damp sound like something unavoidable in winter, but this isn’t the case. There are steps we can take to handle many of the problems and reduce the risk of a damp issue in our homes.
- Reduce moisture
By reducing the moisture in the home, you reduce the problem of condensation. There are little steps to take for this such as putting lids on pans, ensuring the kitchen is well ventilated and using extractor fans. With the bathroom, have the window open a crack to let the moist air out and keep the door shut to stop it escaping that way.
- Dry clothes outside
It can be difficult but where possible, dry clothes outside. When you dry them inside, the moisture evaporates into the air and causes condensation. So whenever there’s a bright, dry day get those clothes outside to dry.
- Ventilate and heat
The ventilation and heating in your home need to create balance. You want air to circulate with windows open a little. Also, ensure furniture isn’t against the wall and even open cupboards or wardrobes a little. Also keep a consistent temperature in the home, even in rooms that you don’t use very often.
Keep Damp away
There are a few simple steps to take to reduce the risk of a damp problem during winter. But if you do notice a problem, it is important to get some help as quickly as possible to stop things escalating into a major damp issue.