How to treat rising damp – some life hacks

While the jury is still out on recent claims that there’s no such thing as rising damp, the reality is that water damage to property does occur. This could be from a lack of adequate waterproofing in a building’s foundations, constant exposure to condensation, humidity and penetrating damp, or a builder’s non-compliance with new building regulations.

Water damage and rising damp not only makes walls structurally unsafe, but resultant black mold is a serious health risk. The damage that condensation and/or ‘rising damp’ can cause – peeling wallpaper, tide marks, salt deposits, and decaying skirting boards – is also quite unsightly. In addition, penetrating damp and mold both have a rather distinct and unpleasant smell.

Prevention is better than cure
Condensation on walls results from poor heating and ventilation in a home, coupled with high humidity levels from everyday activities, like cooking, showering, drying laundry and boiling a kettle.

The following are some hacks to combat lingering damp and mold.

Hack #1: Keep all problem areas/rooms as well-ventilated as possible

* Open bathroom windows after showering and kitchen windows while cooking to allow moisture in the air to escape.
* Alternatively, use the extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen to remove steam and moisture.
* Consider installing extractor fans in your bathroom and kitchen if you don’t have any.
* When bathing or cooking, keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed to prevent moisture moving into colder parts of your home, which could cause a buildup of condensation on walls.
* Use a dehumidifier in your bedroom to lower humidity levels while you sleep.

Hack #2: Take care when showering or cooking

* Let your extractor fan run for a 10 minutes after showering or cooking to remove excess moisture in the air.
* If you don’t have an extractor fan, be sure to wipe down wet surfaces to prevent a buildup of moisture.
* Use lids on pots while cooking to prevent steam from escaping.

Hack #3: Ensure adequate ventilation and air circulation in your home

* Don’t overfill kitchen cupboards or wardrobes, as this prevents adequate air circulation, which can lead to damp and mold.
* Good heating in a property means that internal surfaces are less likely to be cold, which reduces the chance of condensation build up. Insulated walls and double-glazed windows keep room temperatures stable.
* Leave small gaps between furniture and walls to allow for better air circulation.

What to do if you already have damp and mold issues
Whether its rising damp from a damaged Damp Proof Course, a leaking water pipe, or inadequate ventilation in your home that’s causing damp and mold problems, the first thing you’ll need to do is identify the actual cause of the issue and fix it.

You’ll then need to clean off any existing mold (using gloves and a suitable cleaning agent and face mask), re-plaster salt-contaminated walls, and replace decaying skirting boards and peeling wall paper to bring your home back to tip-top shape.

Source: SA Home Loans.

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