Damp Leads to Expensive Damage, and Exposes the Family to Health Risks
A damp house is more than just an inconvenience. The consequences can be severe on your wallet, and also your health.
The UK has a reputation for its wet and miserable weather, so it is easy to dismiss the concept of dampness as a consequence of living in this green and pleasant land. However, when damp moves from the outside where it belongs and takes up residence in your home, it can lead to a whole catalogue of problems.
Any damp specialist will tell you that water is incredibly pervasive. If there is the slightest way for it to get in, it will do so, and once it starts its work on your property, it needs expert attention to get rid of it.
Where does damp come from?
The simplest questions are often the hardest to answer. Damp can come from just about anywhere, and finding the source is not always easy. Broadly speaking, though there are two possibilities – it is either coming in through some breach, such as a leak in a pipe, chimney breast or window frame; or, more commonly it is coming from within, in the form of the condensation we create in our day to day lives through showers, cooking and so on.
What damage can it do?
At its mildest, damp might create unsightly marks of walls, floors and property such as clothes and books. Those black or white mould spots can be cleaned away if you get to them quickly, but that is addressing the symptom, not the cause. Left to its own devices, damp can lead to rot within your home, which can ultimately end up costing thousands to put right.
What are the health risks?
Even the cost of property damage pales into insignificance when compared to the potential health risks to you and your family.
The most common health problems caused by living in a damp home are ones that affect the respiratory system. In part, this is due to the moisture in the air, but problems are exacerbated by microscopic bacteria that thrive in warm, damp conditions and will be all over your house. A study conducted as long ago as 1997 found that people living in damp homes were twice as likely to be asthmatic as those who did not. Other respiratory ailments that are correlated with a damp environment include bronchitis, chest pains and breathing difficulties.
What to do?
If you have a damp problem, the best advice is to call in the experts quickly. The most important thing, though, is to guard against damp getting an opportunity to take hold in the first place. The following three tips will help:
1) Be vigilant
A damp patch on the wall is not going to disappear by itself. Ignore it, and you will only create worse trouble down the line.
2) Fresh air
In a well ventilated home, condensation is given little chance to take hold. Open the windows every day, even if it is just for a few minutes. The house will feel ten times better with some fresh air, anyway.
3) Check the vents
If you find the kitchen or bathroom is especially prone to condensation, check the air vents. They sometimes get blocked – and of course if there is an item of furniture shoved up against one, it is never going to work!