We look in our first blog on Damp Tech NW Ltd at the issue of condensation. We talk at length with the company founder, Chris Hough, and note his vast experience in dealing with damp and condensation problems.
First though, we perhaps need to define what it is.
Let’s get technical, before we move on.
Condensation is the change of the physical state of matter from gas phase into liquid phase, and is the reverse of vapourisation. The word most often refers to the water cycle. It can also be defined as the change in the state of water vapour to liquid water when in contact with a liquid or solid surface or cloud condensation nuclei within the atmosphere.
Put more simply, it’s when water from the air in a building forms damp, or condensation. When you cook or have a shower, condensation forms and that’s why ovens have extractor hoods and bathrooms extractor vents. These two areas, in particular, are moisture-laden, and though it’s law in new builds to have ventilation, some older properties don’t and moisture from condensed air can result in damp patches and damp growth.
“Condensation is present in most properties,” says Chris “and is most common in colder months usually winter. When warm air from a centrally heated home hits cold windows, water forms as there’s too much moisture in the house. It’s not only cooking and showering that causes it, humans, and, believe it or not, plants. Now before you throw out houseplants or humans there are solutions! Condensation can be cured before it develops into dampness.”
It’s not only windows that can develop condensation, but poorly insulated walls, and though not a health risk, condensation can turn into “stachybotrys”, a natural black mould.
Rising damp also has this fungus in common and that’s why condensation and damp are often confused when there are key differences and solutions.
“With condensation, ventilation is key” remarks Chris “those trickle vents on windows are there for a reason – to allow air to circulate. There are other solutions too like passive vents and active vents in terms of fans. Rising damp is a different matter though.”
So what are the telltale signs of damp, given that condensation is so easy to spot?
- You may spot brick discolouration on the exterior of your property. Rising damp can leave a tide mark a metre or so above the ground which can be a sign. It only rises so far because gravity pulls the moisture back down.
- Internally, you may see patches on walls, mould growth, damage to skirting boards, timbers and paintwork including peeling wallpaper.
“Not all damp is rising damp though” Chris cautions. “I often see examples of penetrative damp and I’ll look at that in my next blog post. If you’re in an older property in Bolton, with fireplaces and chimneys, you may experience damp from long term, steady water ingress. Again Damp Tech Nw Ltd will look at this in later posts.”
The important thing is that if you spot black mould or damp patches or see decaying timber work or a tidemark outside your home is to contact us on 07814 919252. Ring at your earliest convenience and let Chris Hough cast his expert eye over issues and suggest cost-effective solutions to remedy damp or condensation.
You can even test him by asking Chris to spell “stachybotrys” – let us know how you get on via our Facebook page!