Getting rid of the damp in your home can sometimes turn into a personal mission for some people. It’s about wanting to live in a safe and pleasant environment.
But how can you effectively remove dampness and prevent mold from developing in the first place? That’s what we talk about in this post. We look at all the ways you can eliminate unwanted moisture from your property, helping you enjoy it more. Here’s everything you need to know:
Find Out What’s Causing The Damp
The first step is to find out what’s causing the dampness. If you can identify it, you can solve it.
Dampness can come from multiple sources, so it can be tricky to find. Possible sources include:
- Cracks in your roofing that allow rainwater to enter
- Problems with your guttering, causing rising moisture to creep up your walls from the foundations
- Cracks in your walls (less common except in areas with subsidence)
- Broken pipes
- Faulty appliances that leak in places you can’t see
- Condensation in your bathroom and kitchen due to insufficient water vapor extraction
Interestingly, the best way to find out the cause of dampness is to use your nose. If you can smell something musty, hidden away in a corner, investigate it further. Rip out appliances and check pipes. Look at the walls to detect moisture or rising dampness.
You can also use a moisture meter. These devices used by building professionals and tradespeople tell you the moisture content of a part of your home (and they don’t cost much). Having one of these handy lets you do a self-survey, reducing costs while identifying areas that require your attention.
If you don’t feel like that, you can also try feeling your walls. Moving your hands over them will quickly reveal the presence of dampness. Either you will have moisture on your hands, or they will feel cooler than they should to the touch.
Finally, you should check your ventilation systems. The bathroom and kitchen should have extractor fans (or equivalent), and your walls should also have passive vents in them for regular exchange of air. If you don’t have that, then mold will quickly take hold because your home’s internal surfaces will be constantly wet.
Banish The Damp
The next step is to banish the damp. How you do this depends on the source of the problem. Here are some general rules of thumb:
Ensure Your Guttering Is Up To The Task
The first step is to ensure your gutters are up to the task. Make sure they have sufficient capacity to deal with the extremes of rainfall in your area. If they don’t, it can cause water to pool around your home’s foundations, preventing it from draining water.
Make sure you visit the website of any brand you want to use and research them thoroughly. Double-check their credentials and find out if they have products that can accommodate all the water from your roof.
Heat Your Home
Another approach is to heat your home and maintain a consistent temperature. Keeping it to around 70°C throughout the year can discourage mold from developing by eliminating lingering moisture.
If the temperature is lower than that, your home is more prone to condensation. Moisture can build up on the walls and in the air, making it more likely to settle on cold surfaces exposed to the outdoors, like your windows.
Get A Dehumidifier
Another way to control moisture is to invest in a dehumidifier. These are a great addition to homes that don’t have chronic moisture problems but suffer from poor ventilation in the kitchen and bathroom, or that don’t have a separate area for drying clothes.
Place the dehumidifier somewhere central in your home, like the landing hallway, and leave it on 24 hours a day for the first few weeks to draw moisture from the environment. Then, you can switch it on whenever you take a shower or put clothes on the radiator. The dehumidifier will remove moisture from the air quickly enough to prevent pockets of mold from forming, and protect you and everyone else in your home.
Fix Roof Issues
If your roof is allowing water into the home, fix it immediately. Leaving it will cause more damage and may result in your building falling into disrepair.
Roof leaks are often a simple fix, but if the issue is on the outside (and not accessible from the attic), you’ll need a roofer. Getting a professional to come over and sort out the problem can be an excellent way to protect your property long-term and prevent any more issues from cropping up.
Remember, roof leaks can do more damage than merely lead to dampness. Problems can also destroy your home’s insulation, reduce efficiency, and even cause interior ceilings to collapse.
Keep Furniture Away From The Walls
Another tactic is to keep furniture away from the walls. Moving it into the room’s center prevents wall condensation from leaching into fabrics or wood, stopping it from becoming a mold source.
Most professionals recommend leaving around six inches between the wall and the back of the furniture. This space will promote airflow, preventing water from building up and providing mold with ideal conditions.
If you can’t keep furniture away from the wall (for example, in a fitted kitchen or bathroom), get a handyman to install proper ventilation. Air should be able to move through all areas to prevent damaging water from building up.
Dry Clothes Outside
Drying clothes outside isn’t always an option. But if it is a possibility where you live and the weather will permit it, take advantage of it. Drying outdoors prevents wet air from circulating throughout your home and causing moisture to build up in multiple locations.
You could also install a tumble dryer with an exterior outlet. These exhaust hot, wet air into the environment, again, preventing it from circulating throughout your home.
Don’t Overcrowd Your Wardrobe
You may also notice that your clothes collect moisture when you pack them into a small wardrobe space. Therefore, don’t overcrowd it with clothes. Instead, leave a small gap between everything on your rack, and keep the door ajar, especially if it is close to your ensuite.
In some cases, preventative measures don’t work. You have no choice but to pucker up and remove the mold.
How you do this depends on the size of the area affected. If you only have a small patch on your bathroom ceiling, then you might be able to use anti-mold spray paint. Shake well and then simply spray on the affected areas to eliminate them.
The best paints don’t require you to do any preparation first. You simply cover the mold, destroying it in the process.
If the mold outbreak is somewhere paint won’t work, then try mixing one part vinegar to three parts water and use a soft sponge on the area. Acetic acid can kill most mold types, preventing them from respiring or sending out new spores into the environment.
If the problem is bigger, you may need to consult a professional. Experts usually apply a special type of powder to the damp-affected area and wait for it to dry up and pull moisture from the wall.
You can also try to use a combination of baking powder and active charcoal on areas affected by dampness. Again, this duo can suck moisture from walls and other areas, leaving them dry and mold-free. However, you will still need to deal with the source of the problem.