No matter how well insulated your home is, the colder weather will always cause moisture build up in your home. To prevent property damage and health issues caused by seasonal damp, check out our top tips below!
Why is condensation worse in winter?
In the colder months there’s 2 main factors that contribute to higher moisture in your home.
The first one is that the temperature in your home is likely to be a lot higher than it is outside. The cold air makes your homes walls and windows colder. When the moisture in the warm air in your home comes into contact with this cold surface, it condenses into a liquid rather than a vapour. This is also why it’s called condensation!
The second reason is that the moisture levels in the air are likely to be higher and around for longer. For example, heavy snow cover or continued rain means that the area outside your home is wet for a long time. When it rains during summer, the water is quickly dried (sometimes in as little as a few hours). This means that it doesn’t have the same time to be able to saturate the air and be introduced into your home through opening doors and windows and on shoes and clothes. As well as this, you’re no longer able to dry clothes outside so you’re releasing all of that moisture into your home when you dry clothes indoors.
Why is damp a big deal?
While many people know that damp can cause a distinctive smell and some patches of mould, it’s actually an incredibly damaging force. From the structural integrity of your home to your health, it has wide reaching and severe impacts that cannot be understated.
On the ‘mild’ end of the scale, damp can cause wallpaper, plasterboard, and paint to become discoloured. This can spread to affect your soft furnishings and fabrics like your sofa, cushions, blankets, mattresses, clothes, curtains and more.
If left unattended it can crack paint, peel wallpaper, and damage your plaster. If it is still left to develop it can damage the interior of your walls, damage your pointing, compromise the integrity of your masonry, and rot wood.
That’s not all! Unattended damp can have implications on your health as well. Black mould is a fungus that usually isn’t too far away where damp is found. It thrives in moist environments and spreads spores through the air.
While everyone is at risk from the effects of mould spores, some people are more sensitive, including:
- Babies and children
- Older people
- People with skin conditions like eczema
- People with respirator issues like allergies and asthma
- People with a weakened immune system
Exposure to mould can cause trouble breathing, a tight chest, coughing, and wheezing. These symptoms can develop into a complex respiratory infection if the damp is left unattended. This infection can even become chronic if the mould exposure is long term.
Another common health complaint caused by mould is skin rashes. It has the symptoms of any allergic reaction, including dry, red, and cracked skin, a raised, itchy red rash, and itchy, red, watering eyes.
A study in 2007 even found that damp, mouldy homes may be linked to depression.
How to minimise excess humidity
One of the best ways to maintain the moisture levels in your home is using a dehumidifier. You can set your desired humidity level (we recommend between 40-50%) and let your dehumidifier do the rest!
Depending on your budget and your needs you can choose a model that simply removes moisture from the air as you would expect, all the way up to a smart dehumidifier that can be controlled from your phone.
Some models even have a laundry mode which means you’ll dry your clothes more quickly than on an airer alone, but using less energy than a tumble dryer.
In rooms where higher moisture is more frequent and expected, like your bathroom or kitchen, installing an extractor fan is a great way to maintain humidity levels. It will make quick work of excess moisture from showers or cooking before it has chance to settle.
Maintain your temperature
Keeping your home at a steady ambient temperature will help to prevent condensation when compared to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. This could be simple as leaving your heating on a low temperature during the day, or keeping it on at night rather than letting unused rooms cool completely.
Wipe away condensation
While this tip won’t prevent condensation build up, it will help to prevent damp and mould in your home. Regularly use a cloth to wipe away condensation on your windows and walls. A great time to do this is first thing in the morning as this is the time when condensation is likely to be at its highest.